Gardening grid. A grid and watering system in one!
Here is a link that might be useful: Garden Grid
Way cool, Jo! Not to mention being a really good idea for ways to lay out the drip system for next year, with just a little adaptation. I am a huge proponent of ground-level watering and have been for years. To me, it's the only way to go.
Jo, it is a neat system, but I do the same thing with PVC tubing. Some of my manifolds are set up to run a tube every foot. The cross tubes are not necessary for water purposes, you can just mark the tube with a waterproof marker if you want a reference point every foot. If you use Sch.40 PVC you want live long enough to wear it out.
Some one posted a link last year on how to build a very simple and effective system. My system is a little more complex and more expensive but it wont work any better.
I don't use PVC because I don't want to deal with cracking in the weather, and I hate having to deal with broken or cracked PVC. Plus, I do want to have it close to the surface so I can access it whenever it's needed. Mine isn't covered at all, except in the flower bed where it would be ugly. I just use the standard 1/2" black drip line and pop the emitters into it. I can easily put T connectors into it to make whatever sort of grid I want. It lasts for years and years with no problem at all, and it's a whole lot cheaper. You have the initial expense of the individual emitters, which isn't bad unless you buy them by the hundreds, and it's only that one-time expense. It's flexible and can be moved or adjusted as necessary, and there's no need to take it up in the winter unless you're going to be tilling later and want it out of the way. Other than that, it's pretty close to zero maintenance. Hook it to a timer and just check it periodically to make sure it's properly doing its job, which 98% of the time, it is.
Larry, will Sch.40 PVC be okay if I leave it outside for the winter? In the early spring I plan to set up a watering system for the really important stuff (fruit trees and bushes), but I want something that can be installed and ignored. I had a soaker hose on some trees, but it blew a leak in two months (despite low water pressure/only turning the spigot on a little bit), so I am not impressed with those.
Jo. this is the 8th year for mine and the only damage I have had was from the lawn mower, and that was thin wall (but I think my mower can eat sch. 40 also). You will want to have it where it will drain. Drill holes in the side like in the link you posted. I use electrical and water PVC and like the electrical a little better because it is a little cheaper, a little more UV resistant and expanded on one end so you can glue then together without a coupling.
I would suggest you look at the U tube video that some one linked last year on how to build a system. It will be much easier to build than mine and will work great on low pressure.
As far as being tough, I have run the tiller across mine and it did not break. Of course that was by accident and the tines did not hit it. Some people have Sch. 40 PVC in their homes and it works great. Just don't let water freeze in it, but a steel pipe will burst under those conditions also. Again, if you have holes in the side it will drain, and water only expands about 10% when it freezes.
If you want a system like mine let me know and I will explain in detail, but I think it is an over kill for what you will need.
Jo, I reread you post and realized you were talking about a different application than the link you posted.
If I understand you correctly you will run a water hose to a custom made sprinkler/drip fixture and hook to that, then continue with a water hose to another area and do the same, removing the hose for winter but leaving the PVC fixture under the mulch. If that is the case, you will want a high pressure system, meaning all joints will be glued and a hose fitting or snap fitting attached to the fixture.
For my trees I have made fixtures straight, and "U" shaped. I have a cheap "hose end" ball valve attached to the end of each fixture, you can also buy a "Y" with 2 ball valves in it. One ball will control the flow to the fixture, the other to feed the hose going to the next bed or tree.
If I have the correct picture and you want more info, let me know. I still have parts with part numbers in the shop because I am still adding on to my system and just finished one for my son.
Basically I think I want to run a big pvc straight line around the perimeter of my garden, and some additional straight lines in to the fruit trees. I thought I'd drill holes wherever there are plants, and leave the areas with no plants solid. I'd like to keep it as simple as possible.
I like the grid I linked for my SF beds, but right now everything in them is dead anyway, and if we have another drought like this next year I won't be growing anything in them anyway.
Jo, it will work like a charm. That is basicly the way mine is set up. In my garden I have holes every 6" in 1/2" PVC, the other areas I just build and drill to suit. I did dig a ditch to put the line in in areas where it crossed the lawn.
You wont be satisfided if you dont install ball valves to control volume/pressure. If you have a large area you cant feed all of it at one time, It will have to be in zones. It will also help if each zone is close to being level.
P.S. one thing to keep in mind is that all thread used on a system is not the sams. Garden hose thread is 11.5 threads per inch with no taper. 1/2 and 3/4 pipe thread is 14 threads per inch with just under 1.5 degree taper. This will come into play when you are installing ball valves
Thank you Larry!
Larry I read the post last year and went and watched the vidio linked to it and tried the PVC system in my 2 smaller patches that attach to my main garden. I used the size bit, ect recommended. My ground isn't perfectly level either which may be part of the problem. I'm using the system on one patch this year. The other patch the only pvc they had left was that for hot water and it turned brittle over the winter. So just hand watering that patch for now. Do you get good even watering? It is a constant battle for me.Especially trying to water more than one row at a time. Both patches are basically 30x30. I have tomatoes planted in the one with flowers planted between them. I use 4' row spacings. This year I cut it down to trying to water 4 rows with 30' of pipe down each row. I installed ball valves when I built it and have even tried using a good quality regulator I use for soaker hoses and other methods to maintain a constant pressure. I thought my problem was fluctuating water pressure. That hasn't helped a lot. I know many of you swear by it. And maybe I'm too particular. I had 2 plants this year I thought has issues but the problem was they weren't getting enough water and other holes were almost too wet and that is in my deep sand. My plan next year it too go back to the rolled black poly hose and install a dripper every 6 inches. They are easy to roll up in the fall. I have to remove my systems so I can till and prepare the beds.
Jo if I used raised beds I'd have to try the grid system. Looks great. My problem is it would need to be 70x70 for the main garden. Jay
It's just a thought, but maybe a bunch of us need to take photos of our systems next spring, when they are put in, so we can compare notes later on? Find out what works best, and where? I'm all in favor of getting the water where it's needed and not spraying it all over the place where it's not only wasted but also encourages weed growth. And I prefer a system that's easy to pick up and move or adjust as necessary.
I've found that the different emitters for the drip system are hard to find locally, so I have to order them online. That's fine. I'll happily do that if it will give me the final system that's what I want and need. I think I have more latitude with this system than if I used a rigid pvc with limited capability and a fixed position. The flexible system also allows for goofs when they happen (as they will), and is easy to change or correct.
Jay, I am sorry your PVC system has not worked properly. My system works great, I made one for my son across the street and he is happy with his also. My static pressure is regulated to 44 lbs. My son runs unregulated pressure on his outside water, which he says the water co. told him it was over 100 PSI. I find that hard to belive but he has busted several water hoses and told me he wanted one like I just got that is rated at 500 PSI.
My irrigation tubes are 22' long and have a little less flow at the downstream end, I just make the holes a little closer together as I work toward the end, and if the tube is a little short I may put a couple of holes at the end of the tube.
My son is running 48' tubes and has about a foot drop on the downstream end. I think he gets to much flow at the downstream, but he is happy with it( I just made the system and let him drill the holes as he wanted them.)
I have done a lot of work on my garden to make it drain and level north to south. It has some drop east to west but I can compensate for that with the ball valve on the end of each tube.
I now have a max. flow to the garden of 450+ gph.and I can not make it too wet without running the water a long,long time. Which I cant afford, I have an auto shut off which I run 200 gal. and then switch zones.
My system is still being modified. I am hoping for more flow and 4 auto zones and two manual zones.
Other than not being level, I have no idea why your system wont work. Mine works great from 44 psi down to 5 psi, but to get 5 psi to work properly I can only run one tube and it should have fewer than 44 holes in it.
As far as the CPVC getting brittle, I only use a short piece of 1/2" CPVC,about 4 or 5 inches long. It is only used to slide into 2 or 3' leader hose (5/8 garden) to attach to the header so I can remove one tube at a time if I choose. I don't know how long they will last, but the oldest ones are 8 or 9 years old.
One thing I need to do differently is keep my leader hoses shielded from the sun. The UV rays are starting to deteriorate them.
Jay, I checked my PVC system today to see if I could come up with some info you may be able to use.
I turned on (9) 22' tubes, which overloaded the system. The last tube ran east to west which is the sloping directing of my garden and the uphill end of the tube was starved for water, the down hill end had water spraying about 3" high. This last tube was feed from a 75' 5/8 dia. hose attached to the downstream end of my header.
I also checked some drip irrigation supplies I had in the shop. Some looked like they had a diaphragm, others looked like they just fit through the wall of the tubing and had a shield to cover the emitting hole. The holes looked like they were around .020 to .030 of an inch in dia.
When I was experimenting with my tubes I tried holes from .015 to .093 of an inch, settling on .062, of 1/16 of an inch because the smaller bits were harder to use in my portable drill, plus the smaller holes plugged easier.
All of this to get down to say that the same laws of physics and gravity are going to apply to soaker hoses, sch. 40, or any other tube.
Without factoring in any wall resistance you can say that doubling the hole size increases the flow four times. If we reverse that we can say that if you have 1/16 dia. holes and can run 4 tubes, could you run 16 tubes with 1/32 dia. holes? Also each hole will reduce the pressure and each foot of tube will increase the resistance. To hold fluxuation to a minimum each tube should be fed from the center. That is the way I did my old garden, 40 feet one direction and 50 feet the other direction, which was much too long of a feed in either direction. While experimenting with that situation I drove stakes along the row and raised the feed end of the tube until the water stream was the same height all along the tube. I don't remember what the pitch was but I think it was between one and two inches per 10 feet.
If you need exact flow per foot maybe pressure compensating emitters can solve your problem. I doubt soaker hases will. I bought a soaker hose two years ago and place two 5 gal. buckets side by side. I coiled the first half in one bucket, the second half in the second bucket, the first bucket filled faster.
I dont know if any of this will help you, but I feel guilty about posting something and it not working for you.
That is pretty nice irrigation grid system.
However I guess it might be bit expensive for large beds. I am also planning to build better but cheaper irrigation system. I just posted it as a new thread as I was not aware there is good discussion going in this thread. I linked that thread below. There is some discussion PVC getting brittle or cracks in winter... I believe burring PVC lines with drain vales at the end may avoid these problems.
Here is a link that might be useful: Irrigation System for Raised Beds