will my veggies drown (with videos)

njitgradMay 10, 2013

Disclosure: this thread covers two topics, the watering of veggies, and the topology of a drip irrigation system. Rather than posting in two separate forums, I decided that it would be more appropriate to post it here since the latter topic ultimately affects the former topic. So if anyone has an issue with this, please move on and don't post any negative comments.

Otherwise, feel free to read on....

This year is my first attempt at drip irrigating my raised vegetable beds and the system I designed and implemented needs some tweaking to prevent my veggies from drowning.

To help you help me resolve this (if at all necessary) I posted two videos of my irrigation system in action below. But before viewing them, please read on...

After putting my cukes, squash, zuchinni, lettuce, and shallots in the ground (yesterday and today) I finished the final steps of my irrigation system by installing drip lines and staked drippers.

The drip lines are for my herbs, lettuce, carrots, dill, shallots, and they are working as expected. The staked drippers are for my tomatoes (planting next week), cucumbers, zuchinni, and squash.

The problem I am having is that my drippers (the 2 GPH staked ones that were recommended by the retailer) are literally pouring out a stream of water and causing a ponding effect. This I didn't expect. It wasn't until today that I realized that the demo video on their website did not include the 2GPH version, only the 0.5 GPH version (which actually dripped instead of streaming).

Fortunately I planned ahead and inserted 1/4 turn shut off valves at every point I tapped the 1/4" tubing into the 1/2" tubing. By closing the valves half way I was able to slow the stream of water down. I'm thinking that instead of the 2GPH drippers I should have purchased the 0.5 GPH drippers.

Below is the link to the drippers I have, then two links to two videos that are less than 3 min each. In the first video you can see how the water is streaming out when my valves are fully open.

In the second video, you can see the effect of turning the valves off half way. If I keep turning the valves I can get the drippers to actually drip. But is this the right thing to do?

Any advice for how my drippers should be working would be appreciated. I don't want to end up drowning my veggies.

My plan (for this year) is to connect a two hour countdown timer so that after work I can connect my hose (when watering is needed) and then two hours later disconnect it. If my system works out as planned, next year I will be running PVC under the ground from my hose to the garden and I will install a dedicated round-the-clock drip timer.

Here are the links referenced above:

2 GPH Staked Dripper

VIDEO: Drip Irrigation at 25 PSI

VIDEO: Drip Irrigation with valves for staked drippers dialed down half way

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georgia__boy(7b North GA)

Too much emphasis on watering. Need to learn how to water by hand once a week and stop all this concentration on systems and the cost thereof.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 11:42PM
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If you have raised beds and any sort of porous soil, it is difficult to see how water would pond for very long, I don't think drowning is going to be an issue.
You installed valves and you are using them, so I'm not sure what the issue is.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 8:58AM
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After getting in touch with the retailer it turns out that I was recommended the wrong drippers. The 2GPH are to be used for sandy soil. They immediately shipped me out 40 new 0.5 GPH drippers at no charge. It should only take me a few minutes to swap them out.

The valves that I installed should only be used to turn on/off the water supply to each pair of drippers, not to regulate flow. When I install the new drippers hopefully I will get the expected watering rate.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 10:57AM
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howelbama(7 NJ)

Im in NJ as well, and my raised beds only require watering every other day or so (if that) during the hot season... I do have poly lines running to all the beds with mini sprinklers/drippers, but they are not automated as there is no need to water that often. I water deeply as needed, not on a consistent basis. The poly lines and sprinlker set up is just to make it easier than standing there for hours with a hose and to minimize overhead watering.

An automated system may be of use on containers that would dry out while you were at work or something, but should not be needed on your raised beds unless you were to go on vacation and not be around (or have a helper) to water them.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 11:09AM
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howelbama, I think I may have misled you into thinking I'm going fully automated. My plan is to only water when needed using a two hour timer instead of standing in the garden and doing each plant one at a time.

This way I can relax on my patio and sip a cold one instead of pounding one, while my veggies are sipping on the water instead of having to pound it. That's just my analogy.

The new timer I have does just that, and in fact can be programmed to water while I am away on vacation. I can tell it how many days between waterings and how long. I originally got the wrong timer (I've returned it since) that waters several times a day in very small time increments.

The only issue (for this season) is that if on vacation I have to find a way to keep the hose off my lawn so I don't ruin it. Next year my plan is to run PVC underground from my hose area to my garden.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 11:23AM
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howelbama(7 NJ)

Ah, gotcha... I use the dripper stakes in the link below scattered throughout my beds. the are easy to move around, and can be "dialed" from 0 GPH up to 10 GPH.

I leave them on full 10 GPH for the most part.

Here is a link that might be useful: dripper stakes

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 11:31AM
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I saw those adjustable ones when I was in HD put couldn't find the "staked" version, only those that you insert directly into the 1/2" poly hose. I even checked Lowes as well.

Basically my system is pieced together with 1/2" tubing/elbows/tees from HD, shut off valves from Lowes, and drip lines and staked drippers from DripDepot.com.

Got any pics of your setup?

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 11:41AM
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howelbama(7 NJ)

I'll take a few when I get home this evening and post them. They usually stock them at the HDs and Lowes down this way, but they are sometimes tough to find on the shelves and the price of the ones in store is no where near as good as the 100 pack they offer online.

On a side note, you may want to check your Lowes for frost blankets, I picked up a bunch at the Eatontown store ( 10ft by 12ft dupont brand) that were marked down from 16 bucks a piece to $3.50... came in handy the night before last... don't know if they'll have them by you, but worth a look. I'm sure I will be making more use of them this fall...

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 12:00PM
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howelbama(7 NJ)

Njitgrad, here is a pic of the manifold. I'm breaking it out to couple more zones soon. If you click the picture it should take you out to my photobucket... I snapped a few shots of the dripper stakes throughout my raised beds and in ground plantings. The containers in the pics are modified to be raised beds by cutting the bottoms out and burying an inch or two of the container.

The filter in the pic is to remove any chlorine from the supply, it's probably not needed, but it was cheap enough to do.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 9:03PM
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You do have a pressure regulating valve, I hope? I have basically a very similar system - drip tape for my 4' wide beds of lettuce, beets, beans, etc. and tubing with drip emitters (1 gal. per hour) for tomatoes, cucumbers and squash. The drip tape needs a valve of no more than 15 PSI. The drip emitters can handle up to 30 PSI. Both of these are much lower than the normal pressure of a water system. That could be a big part of your problem. I recommend the Dripworks.com site - that is where I bought my system but even if you don't but anything their site has a LOT of information on it. (I found out about it through this forum.)

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 9:31PM
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