Drip Irrigation Spacing Question, Raised Bed

ngraysmith(7 NC)April 16, 2013

I am putting in a new raised bed garden at our new house. This time I would like to add drip irrigation because our summers here in the North Carolina piedmont are hot hot hot and I hate to get out in the garden and water at the times that are usually available to me (I have three young children and timing is very sporadic as to what I can do when).....

I'm going with poly drip and here is the general plan:
tomatoes - individual drip emitters installed directly on 1/2 tube - one 1/2 g/h emitter per plant at the base under mulch. Tomatoes will be planted approximately 18 inches apart.
cucumbers - same as tomatoes except these are closer together
squash - same as tomatoes except these are further apart
peppers - 1/4 inch "soaker hose" drip tubing with emitters on the inside, 12 inches apart to match the peppers planted 12 inches apart
beans - 1/4 inch "soaker hose" drip tubing 6" apart spacing

Does this sound reasonable? I have 10 different beds, some 4x8s and some 2x22-27s.

I have done lots of research, still having trouble figuring out which plants need which spacing. My plan is to run 1/2 inch tubing at one end of each short bed and both ends of the long beds and run lines off of this - either 1/2 inch tubing for the individually spaced emitters or 1/4 inch "soaker hose." I am planning to put a control valve to control each bed so that they can be turned on and off. I am also planning to use the "direct-loc" control valves so that I can change out configurations between the beds when I change crops.

Of course I will start the setup with a pressure regulator and filter at the beginning. I do have one question about that - my garden faucet is about 50 feet from the garden, slightly downhill and across the driveway. I thought I would install a splitter at the faucet and then run a hose to the garden, across the driveway (eventually hope to run pvc pipe under the driveway) and install the pressure regulator and filter where the hose enters the garden through the fence. Should I do that or install it at the faucet?

Any thoughts or comments would be much appreciated!

Thanks for listening! Nicole

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Spacing is not as important as time. You can run ay system long enough to get the proper water needs to the plant. The difficulty starts when you have different plants with different water need amounts on the same zone. You have the right idea about being able to shut off sections to cultivate the plot while growing other plots. Different vegetables have different life cycles. Soaker hoses are difficult because you can't control the amount of water coming from the hose (they also clog over time) as with drip tape or emitters. On the same zone you can have plants with larger drip rates and those with slower drip rates but it is trial and error to set up. It is better to have separate plant zones with similar watering needs together and just work out the time by trial and error method. You do have to initially check the water in the soil to see if plants are getting what they need. Your idea about getting water to the beds is a good one and the way I would do it. Make sure you pour some concrete at all the bends so they can't move (thrust blocks). JMHO Aloha

    Bookmark   April 16, 2013 at 7:16PM
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ngraysmith(7 NC)

Thanks for your response. I do want to be able to set the system on a timer and leave for a few days. It sounds like I really need to look at the water needs of the different crops.

I know cucumbers need lots of water, so perhaps I should put two emitters with them, although I'm hoping that having the emitters closer than tomatoes would compensate for this. And, I might switch the beans over to every 12 inches and see what happens.

Any other thoughts?

    Bookmark   April 16, 2013 at 11:25PM
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It is all trial and error at some point. Try your system. Check how it is doing and then make adjustment. It can always be changed. You can't make progress without making mistakes and doing better next time. With your lesson learned, pass on the info to others. Aloha

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 10:28PM
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Kippy(SoCal zone 10. Sunset Zone 24)

I have a similar question.

Does anyone know of a drip system friendly guide to water needs for individual veggies? Something like: a zucchini plant needs 1" per day, a green bean .5" etc?

Smith, I have my large terraced veggie garden getting a new drip system this season. I rigged up a station with half a dozen 1/2" pvc ball valves coming off a main run that has the drip filters/regulators etc on the in coming end and the hose connections on the out put end of the ball valves. I can then pick what veggies get watered and for how long.

Hoping to save enough water that it pays for the system.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 11:31PM
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