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Watering Advice

Posted by catsgurleygirl 10 (My Page) on
Fri, Feb 3, 12 at 21:53

Hello,
I was wondering if any of you watering gurus have any suggestions for the best sprinkler set up for a garden plot that is 25'x100'. It is a community garden and we have neighbors on 3 sides. The rules are, you are not allowed to get water in your neighbors plot and you must be on the premises while your plot is being watered (so no setting up timers or anything). I have a 9 month old baby, so my husband and I were trying to think of a way to water with a little hands on as possible and as quick as possible. We are in zone 7 and have VERY hot, humid summers.

Thank you!
Amanda


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Watering Advice

What is your water source?


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RE: Watering Advice

Oooh, good question. Sorry. It's a regular spigot that a hose will attach to.


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RE: Watering Advice

Cat,

What is your flow rate and pressure from the spigot? Aloha


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RE: Watering Advice

Hmmm,I don't know, but it seems high (most of the time), higher than what we have here at our home, which is average. The spigots are set up 4 to a water station so 4 plots can be going at the same time (of course you can only use one at a time).


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RE: Watering Advice

For such a large area (is all of it yours to irrigate?) a hose outlet will be your biggest problem. Flow will be low and so your options are a bit limited. The plants your growing, do they mind the water being sprayed on them? Some plants don't like their leaves/fruits wet and prefer low watering. This will be a deciding factor. A typical hose outlet will deliver 9-12 gpm BUT not at a sufficent presure to run sprinkler heads. If you had a pump and were running typical spray heads you would have about 24 heads using 56gpm at 30 psi. This is what a 1 1/2HP pump would produce. To do this on a hose outlet would require over 10 manual zones. Which is a prohibitive amount of work and time to run. Each zone running 10-20 min. times the 10+ zones it would take a couple of hours to water each time you went there.

So your water source is your biggest problem. Using larger heads (called rotor heads) would send the water out further requiring less heads and less zones BUT water as a lower rate per square foot. In this case you would be able to get away with (depending on plant layout) 6 heads but the watering time wouldnt change much and could increase. Drip irrigation will have the same issue. Your trying to get alot of water (to put down 1/4" of water over that area is 390 gallons) down efficently.

So first question is the most important. Are you watering the whole 25'X100'?

Good luck,
Tom

Good luck,
Tom


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RE: Watering Advice

Wow, my head is spinning, :-). First of all, thank you so much for your help. Secondly, yes. The whole 25'x 100' is ours to water. What we did last year is blast the hose madly (with no nossle or anything) to try to "flood" the garden as quickly as we could and that was only doing half the garden due to the baby (she was born in May,so it was tough trying to do the garden). The plants we grow are fine for overhead, they are your typical vegetables, tomatoes, potatoes, winter/summer squash, okra, eggplant, beans, etc. What we have seen some people do, is dig trenches down their rows and flood them, so I don't know if that would be a good option or not. As you can see, I am quite clueless here. My husband is wondering if it is going to quicker to hand water directy each plant. I can't stand hand watering, plus I don't think it would work with the baby.


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RE: Watering Advice

Ok then lets keep it real simple.

Not sure how many rows you will have but this is a cheep way to try out a solution. If you or your husband is a bit handy get some 1/2" pipe SCD 40. Use the 40 because its a bit heavier and will hold up better under sunlight. Get a drill with a very small drill bit. My guess would be 1/16" but not that critical. in the direction of the 25' (just to test) drill in a straight line a hole through both sides of the pipe a hole every 12". At depot stores they will have an attachment for garden hose to pvp pipe. Not important how you attach to the pipe there are several different ways but this is just a test so get what you can.

Then attach your hose and see how well it irrigates the row. 12" spacing I am guessing is too far apart but only trial and error will work here. Add holes as you need. Also time the running of the line and how well it waters.

Now here is a catch. As you add more holes to increase the watering (instead of 12" maybe 6" is better) you will lose presure from each hole. BTW didnt say it but get a cap for the end of the pipe. For testing you might not even have to glue the fittings and pipe. Just dont open the hose up all the way right off the bat. Anyways this is a self made drip system that is very basic.

If you get good results you can figure out how far apart the pipes need to be and how many feet of pipe you can run off the hose and still get coverage. Then make a manifold of 1/2" valves so each pipe or group of pipes can be turned on one at a time.

Basically your making a soaker hose rather than buying one. The problem with buying one in your case is you have no idea how it will preform because you really dont have the tools or knowledge to get a good measurement from your hose on how much water per min and at what presure it will supply.

Using a 1/4" drip tubing type system that Rainbird and other companies sell is also a very good idea but again hard to judge how many micro heads you will be able to run off the hose. The advantage with the micro spray heads is you can put one head at each plant and can adjust the output of the heads from full spray down to off when they arent needed.

Good luck,
Tom


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RE: Watering Advice

Great info and help. Thank you so much for taking the time!

Amanda


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