drip irrigation

little_minnie(zone 4a)February 12, 2013

For my half acre garden I have drip tape irrigation. I have assumed with some tweaking to refine things from last year that it will work great this year. Do you think drip tape is the way to go?

I think last year I tried to water too much at one time. I am dividing the field into 3 zones this year to water one at a time. Do you think 1/2 inch tubing is good enough to stick the tape barbs into? Should I have gotten 3/4 inch tubing to deliver more flow?

This shows the zones of my garden (pink, green and gold), where the tubing currently is (brown line) and where I would like to add shut offs to be able to water one area at a time (where it says valves).
The beds have 2-4 tapes depending on what crop it is. When the crop is done I put in plugs. I am getting the higher grade tape for going under plastic mulch and using the existing 8 mil tape for beds without plastic mulch. The beds are 48 feet long except for the long zone across the top and the zone to the far right. The top zone is 170 feet and the far right (winter squash) is 100 feet.
What do you think?

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Here the strawberry growers use a half inch tubing with a drip hole every foot. You put a line down each row and fold it over at the end. Then a valve at the top of the row. Each row t's off a main line. Gives you a lot of control. I don't use plastic mulch so I don't know if that would suit your needs.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 7:56PM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

Do you mean the tubing that drips instead of tape? See link.
Someone else is trying to talk me into that. It would be $2000 just for the product, not including very high shipping. T tape for 2 years will be $160 plus shipping. That is for 6000 row feet. It does look very long lasting.

Here is a link that might be useful: like this tubing?

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 9:12PM
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That sounds really hIgh. I had some on some blackberries and I'm sure I didn't pay that. Maybe there are different supPliers

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 9:24PM
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I never tried 1/2" header line, only 3/4" and one inch. You probably will be ok flow-wise. The punch-in fittings might fit more snugly in the larger header line, though. Mine always leak, anyway. This year I am going to make my header lines from PVC pipe, because I am tired of my punch fittings leaking.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 9:24PM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

I use 1/2 inch pipe for my header lines. The reason is I bought about 400 feet of it along with several 100 dollars of 1/2 in irrigation fittings at an auction for $12, 8 years ago and I have been using it ever since. I have each of my hoop buildings on its own zone. Then every one of my patches is set up on its own header line. I have never had problem with getting enough water to them. I use hose splitters and usually water 3 or 4 zones at once, depending on the number of runs.

My big high tunnels had 6 beds in it with 3 or 4 runs of drip tape 48 feet long for example.

For a vegetable garden that changes every year, Drip tape, T-tape, Aqua-Traxx, (Many different names) is the way to go. Pennies a foot especially when you buy it in 5,000-6,000 foot rolls. I get 3 or 4 years out of the stuff, if you are careful and the emiters don't get plugged.


    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 10:40PM
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i use 1/2" for my headers. as far as drip goes, i use t-tapes with 1' hole spacing. but i don't like drip for direct seeded densely planted things in a bed, like salad mix or turnips or carrots, etc. for those i use spray stakes with 1/8" tubing out of 1/2" tubing. then if i plant those beds with tomatoes i change the spray stake out for an emitter that i place at the base of the plant. keeps the tomato foliage dry.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 6:59AM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

Jay it is nice you get 3-4 years. On Homegrown Goodness there are some that act like drip tape is throwing money away or ruining the environment or keeping you slaved to the bank. It would cost tons more for me to buy drip tubing vs tape! PLus I never know how long I will get to farm. I just really want the 1/3 zone plan and better quality tape to work this year! Plus I am gassing the gophers.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 8:38PM
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Mark(Oregon, Zone 8)

I only use 1/2" headers if I have some reason to just run a few beds at a time. Even if I'm using 3/4" headers, I can still only run about 6 200' lines at once with my pressure.
If you have the water pressure, and the scale to utilize the water, i'd go entirely with 3/4". Personally I don't like to irrigate all that much!

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 12:14AM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

I have intense water pressure from the pump but once it goes through the pressure regulator that doesn't matter. I have had people say it is a flow problem not a pressure problem.
Whatever it is, the system worked well until about July and then only part worked well.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 9:04PM
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Could it be possibly a filter problem? I don't know since I haven't tried drip yet. Just a suggestion.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 5:58PM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

I had my landlord take it apart for me and it was surprisingly clean. I know there is rust in the groundwater but he said the filter looked great. So then I was stumped. Except that I did find several leaks to fix over some weeks. It is hard to hoe potatoes without whacking the tapes. I plan to pull them up, set to the side and do things like hoeing and torching this year.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 6:20PM
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I did some watering last year by dragging one row of drip tape from row to row. If you use a stick or piece of pipe, you can move it without having to bend over.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 10:09PM
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