Fertilizing with drip irrigation

sandyman720(NJ)June 8, 2010

Hello,

I have drip tape down all of my rows. The rows are covered with newspaper and straw.

I do not see how I can possible fertilization since there is no direct soil access.

Is it possible to put fertilizer into the drip tape system so the fert goes directly to root system?

Any ideas?

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sandyman720(NJ)

I should add that I would like to fertilize without the use of chemicals.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2010 at 12:27PM
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mangledmind(AZ 9B)

From what I've read, the only way to fertilize without "chemicals" is with compost ("mature" manure, veggie compost, compost teas, etc.)

Another idea, you may install a filter system (without the filters installed, just the housings) to drop compost tea into before it heads out into the garden. I've also seen some irrigation systems that have a "fertilizer" housing (similar to those you apply lawn chemicals with that attach to the end of your garden hose).

Hope that helps some.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2010 at 12:36PM
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nygardener(z6 New York)

You can put a fertilizer injector between the water source and the drip tape.

None of these work with organic fertilizers, though, since the particles in those will clog the emitters. I think you're a lot better off amending your soil with compost, etc., and watering with plain water.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2010 at 12:49PM
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sandyman720(NJ)

Well i have drip tape down with newspaper over it and straw over that. What would be the best way to use compost in this situation?

    Bookmark   June 8, 2010 at 1:00PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Sorry to disagree with the above posters but it is easy to do fertigation (fertilizing with a drip irrigation system) using organic fertilizers and many do it, myself included, and several discussions on it are linked below.

There are many liquid organic fertilizers on the market. Personally I use Earth Juice brands but there are others available. Just Google 'liquid organic fertilizers'. You can also use any of the organic hydroponic feeding solutions.

The EZ Flow Injector linked above is an excellent system and the one I use but you don't need anything that fancy to begin with. Any of the hose end sprayers sold in garden centers - the ones that allow a hose to be attached to both ends work fine. You just mix the fert in the screw on container, attach an input hose to the proper end and your drip tape hose end to the other end and turn on the water. It feeds as it waters.

Dave

Here is a link that might be useful: Fertigation discussions

    Bookmark   June 8, 2010 at 1:36PM
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mangledmind(AZ 9B)

Wow Dave, your in quite a mood today. That's TWICE you ripped folks providing help. I never claimed it was hard, way to spin my words. I described EXACTLY what you did without all the Product Name dropping. And compost tea is the same darn stuff they sell folks as 'liquid organic fertilizers' for tons of money that is unnecessary as it can be made at home for pennies.

But hey, keep pushing the corporate mantra.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2010 at 4:41PM
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eirebyron

1st time poster here, and pretty new to gardening, but I just thought I'd add my two cents: I've got a 500sqft garden with tomatoes (4 varieties), hot peppers, sweet peppers, squash, zuchini and various herbs. I built a drip irrigation system using 1/2 and 1 GPH inline drippers and (in a few places) drip line, connected to daisy-chained rain-barrels. Not knowing any better, I've been mixing fish emulsion into the rain barrel (only done it once so far). It seemed to work just fine. Is there any reason to think this won't work? Thanks for the help - I'm about to post several questions (after I check the archives), appreciate all the help that can be provided!

    Bookmark   June 8, 2010 at 5:16PM
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nygardener(z6 New York)

sandyman, compost acts as a timed-release organic fertilizer. You apply compost to the soil  usually by mixing it in before planting, and sometimes by "side-dressing" existing plantings (combining it with the top few inches of soil around your plants). That would be hard to do now without pulling up your straw, newspaper, and tape, mixing in compost, and then laying them back down.

If Dave or others have had success fertilizing through a drip system with organic mixes, that's great. You might try it on a small section of tape and see what comes out. I tried drip irrigation with Earth Juice fertilizers and found that the particles of organic matter in the fertilizer either stayed at the bottom of the reservoir or clogged the filter, if I remember right. Drip tape might also be more forgiving than drip tubing.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2010 at 6:00PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

mangledmind - I wasn't aware I had "ripped" anyone. My apologies if it seems I have. Nor is providing the specific name of a product - since the OP always asks for such info - out of line. I have no vested interest in either of the products I mentioned other than that I like the results from both and they have been recommended by several other regulars here as well but I pointed out that many others are available.

I do however disagree with this statement the only way to fertilize without "chemicals" is with compost ("mature" manure, veggie compost, compost teas, etc.) and this one, compost tea is the same darn stuff they sell folks as 'liquid organic fertilizers' for tons of money that is unnecessary as it can be made at home for pennies.

First there are many other ways to fertilize without chemicals and second I don't dispute that compost tea is an excellent source of nutrients and I make and use it by the barrel. But since I do not have access to all of the various ingredients that go into many of the commercial organic supplements - all good sources of important micro-nutrients - such as seaweed, kelp, bat guano, coconut oil, etc. - there is no way my or any one else's homemade compost tea is the same as those supplements. Not better or worse - just not the same.

And, compost tea only works for fertigation after it is carefully and repeatedly strained to remove any particles that can plug the system. The commercial products are already well refined and ready to use.

Whether the reader chooses to use just compost/manure tea or a commercial product or a mixture of both is their choice but it doesn't hurt to provide info on all the options available.

Dave

    Bookmark   June 8, 2010 at 6:24PM
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glib(5.5)

I saw no ripping, just accurate posting.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2010 at 7:31PM
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therylmccoy

Hi,
I'm trying to get to the bottom of this compost tea drip system dilemma. Can it be done? Do drip emitters require a filter? If so, what is the mesh size? Will the compost tea fit through that mesh size? I'm talking protozoa, bacterias and all the good stuff tea provides.
Thanks. Nobody seems to have a straight answer to this question of applying compost tea via drip tube.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2014 at 1:34AM
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maplegarden172(7a)

I use deere row drip tape and fertilize with organic liquid fertilizer via a mazzei injector. I buy my fertilizer but if you make your own you I would think a screen on the venturi would be needed. The drip tape or drip emitters would be the limiting factor for particle size, not the injector. The mazzei injector have no settings, I bought the smallest one and use it for about 2000 feet of drip tape. You have to calculate the flow rates and can adjust in/out pressure to change flow. I think other companies have adjustable injectors.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 10:57PM
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