Need irrigation advice?

jungleexplorerApril 1, 2011

I want to install underground drip irrigation on about an acre of land for a big vegetable garden. This is going to be a garden area for several years and I want to do it right because it will be a permanent installation. There are many types of drip tape, thickness, spacing etc. I am not sure what is the best for what I want to do. I also don't know all the accessories in to install it. I have a water well and the water is pretty hard. I think the minerals will clog the drippers after a while, so I might need a filter of some kind. Could someone here give me some pointers. I have looked around and all I can find is industrial size information. A schematic for a small scale garden would be ideal. Thanks

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Let's start with some questions:
1. Flow rate and pressure(psi)of pump at surface of well?
2. Is the well joint use with the house?
3. does pump feed to a pressure tank?
4. Is the planting are fairly flat or hilly?
5. Exactly what is the area of planting?
6. Will this be a commercial venture
7. Will you be planting one type of plant/tree or many?
As you can imagine now this project will be complex. We haven't even discussed the details of what you need to install. You might think about a professional designing and supervising the installation preferable not with his own contractor. Obtain three contractor quotes with identical detail materials list from designer to each bidder.
Last question.
8. Will you be doing the work yourself or hired labor supervised by you or contractor?

Let us know what info you need help in gathering or understanding. JMHO Aloha

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 10:44PM
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Thanks for the help. Here are the answers to your questions.

Questions 1-3. My well is 100 feet deep. 8 inch hole diameter. There water level is at 30 feet from the surface (70 feet of water in the hole). I have 1/2HP submersible pump. It is on a pressure tank. The pump is rated at 10GPM, but the well has only 5GPM continues production rate once it is pumped off. This well in not connected to a house. It feeds my 1/2 acre stock tank when it gets too low due to lack of rain.

4 & 5 The area I am planting is 300 feet long by 70 feet wide. It is at the bottom of low slope hill and is mostly flat with a slight incline close to the bottom of the hill.

6. This is not a commercial venture. I am the director of a free wilderness rehabilitation facility for people struggling with addictions. This garden will be a healthy food source for people going through our program as well as a community garden where people in our area who may be struggling and need help can get free vegetables.

7. This is for a vegetable garden during the spring and summer, maybe a fall crop of soil building legumes like black eyed peas and a winter cover crop like winter wheat for wildlife.

8. I have a lot of people to help me with this as far as equipment like tractors and stuff. Our facility is a free will support project which receives no government funds what so ever. We cannot afford to hire a contractor to do this. All I really need is a supply list. We can do the work. I just need some good advice to get started. Thanks for the help.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2011 at 11:13AM
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Awesome. Do you know a landscape or irrigation architect who might do the design for free and get great publicity from your project?

Let's get started: General design parameters: 5 gpm flow rate and system pressure. Please find pressure out from the pump literature or by taking a reading by pressure gauge at the tank.

Here is a link I think you should digest before proceeding. After reading then we can answer more specific questions.

Generally for this size of garden you will have to divide you layout in zones. Use probably 1 1/2" sch 40 pvc mainline. 3/4" sch 40 pvc laterals with drip tape adapted to the actual layout of your rows. You probably will be running the pump all the time(we will know after the design is roughed-in). Then we can calculate what your electric bill might be.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2011 at 1:51PM
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Thanks. I forgot about the pressure question. The tank is on a 40-60 pressure switch, so my maximum pressure at the outlet of the tank will be 60psi. I plan to divide the system into sections where the total output will be no more then 5GPM. I plan to use a solar powered automatic controller to manage time and duration for each section depending on what type of plants are in that section. I will read the information of the page you suggested. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2011 at 2:54PM
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