Today I am providing a review of the various irrigation systems that we have setup to irrigate containers and raised beds.
The big benefit of the overall methods we are employing in our gardens, is that watering at the plant base, or from the bottom as in the case of the wicking beds, is by far the best way distribute water in your garden. You eliminate problems of disease spreading associated with watering the foliage of the plant, as the water is at the plant base or under the plant and not sprayed on the leaves and no water is wasted on the surrounding areas around you garden.
At home my requirements were to water the various cloth containers as well as my two raised beds. I have setup two types of irrigation systems, a rain barrel and a tap water system. The irrigation components were on the most part 1/2″ flex pvc pipe, 1/4″ feeder lines, 1/4″ soaker hose and 1 GPH (gallon per hour) drippers. For the rain barrel setup, besides the rain barrel itself, I bought a rain barrel timer.
For the rain barrel system, I used a large rain barrel that I got last year. This barrel was on sale and I paid around $48 CDN. Thus far the barrel has leaked and I continue to see if I can stop the leaks. If not, I will be replacing the barrel with a series of Roughneck 98 liter/ 26-gallon garbage containers. I am currently using one of these as a standalone rain barrel system, and I show that in the video. The rain barrel is connected through the timer and then split in two runs. Each run does a raised bed and two potato containers. The water is distributed off the main line using the 1/4″ soaker hose formed into two loops around the bed. I may add more loops depending on the soaking area that hose actually covers. Also as an enhancement I am going to look at tying the barrel(s) into the downspout at the side of the house so I can make use of rain when that happens.
For the drip system off of my water line from the house, I run it through a 4 zone Melnor water timer. The 1/2″ main lines feed into the zoned areas I have created and from there the various feeder lines connect to the containers. I also run a separate zone line to the raspberries. The 3 main zones are watered for 12 minutes each day and the raspberry zone is watered every other day for 30 minutes.
At Craig’s he uses two of the rain barrels and also 1/2″ solid PVC lines for the feeder and connection lines to his beds. He also uses various shut off valves to control zoning and shut offs at each bed. His bed lines are 1/2″ soaker hoses formed in a loop into and out of “T” connections at the bed. He has added a new value to control water setup into the strawberry bed and also his other fruit bed. These will likely use the 1/2″ soaker hose as the watering method.
So between the irrigation systems and wicking beds systems, I think we have it covered. These are all version 1 of the systems, but now we can see how we can tweak the systems to better and yet save water while making sure we water only what we want and not wasting water. I have added some pictures of Craig’s setup to the end of the video.
Some links regarding the items used
Solar powered rain barrel timer http://rainbarrelman.com/index.htm
Drip irrigation pipes and fittings (Under the garden section of website) http://www.leevalley.com/en/
Melnor 4 zone timer http://www.melnor.com/
Pipe and fittings for Craig’s systems uses materials available at most home centers or plumbing/irrigation companies. We have no specific sites for this material.