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Drip irrigation "adjustable spray emitters" on old garden hose

 
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I have thought for years that I would like to do an automatic garden watering system but I don't have enough water pressure to run much for sprinklers so I was thinking more along the idea of a drip irrigation system.  A couple months ago I was watching various Youtube videos on drip irrigation and I saw some systems being installed in India and I really liked the emitters they used, the emitters actually sprayed out tiny streams of water in a 360 degree pattern with a reach of about 6 to 12 inches at fairly low pressure.  I searched and searched trying to find those style of emitters and finally found a supply on Ebay.  I ordered three 100 piece bags of them for just under $5.00 a bag and free shipping.

I finally received them a few days ago and started getting more serious about looking at what kind of deal I could get on some 1/2 inch drip tubing.  With all of this Coronavirus stuff and delayed and even suspended shipping I wasn't sure I would even be able to buy my tubing at this point.  I have a "lot" of old garden hose that has leaks and whatnot, but I thought I might give that a test and see if the emitters can be installed into the old garden hose....  It worked great, I just sharpened the end of one of my old chainsaw files to put the holes in the hose and with just a little work I am able to insert the emitters just fine.  The emitters then sprayed out great, a little too great at the moment, but the pressure should reduce as I add 296 more emitters into the system.  They were spraying out about a 6 foot diameter from the emitter with just four of them installed.  I had some issues with algae in the hose blocking up the emitters so I will have to clean out the hose before finishing this off.  I have quite of bit of chlorine mixed up from the pool tablets I bought the other day to clean my well and house pipes with, I currently have about 100 feet of hose with chlorine water in it sitting there breaking loose and killing off the algae.  After I get all the rest of the hose together I will go ahead and do some more treatment and clear all of it as well.  Run the hoses until they run nice and clear and start the long process of installing all 300 emitters into it...






I still have to section all the pieces of old hose together yet, but I have more than enough to get the job done.  Now that I don't have to spend $100 on drip tubing I got permission from the wife to buy a couple "new" 100 foot garden hoses when we are in town next week..  



These drip tube systems are handy with the low pressure requirements, just about any old junk garden hose could be used to put one of these in if need be.  I am sure I will have plenty of little leaks in these pieces of hose, but that is actually kind of the idea in drip tube irrigation... lol...  I love the fact that I can adjust the flow rate of each of these emitters and dial them in to where I need them.  This should allow me to do a pretty dang long run and dial back the emitters at the beginning of the run and open them up at the end of the run to balance out my flow rate.  Now to get all this together and look through the hundred or so old transformers I have and find one of appropriate voltage to run the water controller out there by the garden and have my automatic watering system up and running in the garden...



 
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Roy,

If you need irrigation, drip irrigation is the way to go.  The little sprinkler emitters are a close second.  The beauty of drip irrigation is that it is so efficient with its water use.  My favorite watering system is from dripworks.com.  They are located in California, near the Bay Area.  I don’t know what shipping can be done at the moment, but they are affordable and very high quality.  

I personally love to use a drip line with .5 gallons/hour output.  This is a nice, slow water release into my clay soil and I find that 1-2 hours can give me 1-2 weeks worth of water.

Nice job using the old hosing.  That was a clever idea.

Eric
 
Roy Long
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Old garden hose is some crazy handy stuff on the farm....

I also use it on electric fence wires to guide the wire over around things that would short the wire.  The log arch over my main gate has garden hose going up the sides and over the top with my heavy gauge electric fence wire in it to carry from one side to the other without having to deal with the electric fence style gate...

I also commonly run cheap electric cords out to outbuildings up to 200 feet away from the house, shop and barn for lighting in winter for the chickens and whatnot and garden hose is handy as a covering allowing for direct burial of cheap extension cords, just cut one end off a foot back or so from the end and slip it through the old garden hose and bury and then dig a little trench out to the outbuilding and bury it all way out there in the garden hose.  Once out there an in the building cut your garden hose off and reattach the end on the cord and voila winter light power source and a power source for the fish tank heaters I use to keep the water thawed for the chickens.

I used old garden hose on my 220 volt wire that I power mill with as well, it already had a pretty good covering on it but cords to a sawmill tend to take beating so I covered that with old garden hose as well for added protection.

Another use is to cover sharp metal edges in livestock pens.  I cut down some old 55 gallon drums into feeders and water tanks and I didn't like how sharp the edges were after grinding and smoothing them, they are still a very thin hard metal edge.  So installed garden hose with a slice down one side over all the edges and drilled and screwed them all in place.  Now all of them have a nice safe hard rubber garden hose cover on all the edges.  You do have to be sure and go back and grind the ends of the screws flat where they stick through the metal just to be safe, then let the garden hose drop back down over the flattened nubs.  

Being able to now use for drip irrigation just makes it that much more useful, though at this point I am just about out of old junk garden hose material...  
 
Roy Long
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Eric Hanson wrote:Roy,

If you need irrigation, drip irrigation is the way to go.  The little sprinkler emitters are a close second.  The beauty of drip irrigation is that it is so efficient with its water use.  My favorite watering system is from dripworks.com.  They are located in California, near the Bay Area.  I don’t know what shipping can be done at the moment, but they are affordable and very high quality.  

I personally love to use a drip line with .5 gallons/hour output.  This is a nice, slow water release into my clay soil and I find that 1-2 hours can give me 1-2 weeks worth of water.

Nice job using the old hosing.  That was a clever idea.

Eric



I wanted to go with the sprinkler type emitters so that I could get by with less overall lines, the drip emitters will only travel so far in the soil and I would need a lot of smaller tubes added in to pull off the watering.  My berms are about 30 inches wide so these little spray emitters should reach just fine.  Even if they can't quite get that far I am doing berms that way gravity will take the water the rest of the way if need be.  As I am running of a well pump I don't to be running for very long periods if I can help it.  Not crazy hard to change out a well pump and I have two backups in case this one goes out, but it was enough work four years ago that I don't want to over work the system at all.  I am hoping to get by with about 15 to 30 minutes running about 5 am each morning for my watering.  If need be I may water again in the afternoon for another 15 to 30 minutes if the morning watering isn't enough..  

I also want to be able to utilize the flow rate of the pump so that it is not turning on and off constantly as it is watering.  I am using forest soil and duff in my garden which doesn't transmit water very well like clay does so I need to actually be able to get the water to entirety of the berms.  If I just drip in the center of the 30 inch berms I will just get water dropping straight down through the material without much moisture spread.  

I agree that the drip irrigation far more efficient, but it won't really work as well for this situation, and as I have plenty of affordable water I don't really have to worry much about efficiency.  I even went ahead and installed a siphon tube to my pond above the garden so that I could use that as a supply as well if I want.  My pond is about 90 feet in diameter and 14 feet deep so I have a great backup supply there.  I also have a large pond out in my hay field that I can use to fill the pond above the garden with as well if it were to get low.  So between the deep well and those two ponds I am good for about as much water as I could ever need.
 
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ive been using drip in a few forms for quite a while. if I can make couple suggestions ---- you will want to how many balance emitters in hose run  to volume and pressure from your source, ive divided garden into sections because volume and pressure is not enough to do all at once also you will want to put a filter or flushable fine mesh screen just after the valve from your water source. it only takes tiny particles to plug up most emitters.
i'e gotten a lot of my stuff from these folks and they have lots of good info in printed catalog, that's how long its been, iim guessing online is about the same as what they put in printed stuff years ago

https://www.rainfloirrigation.com
 
Eric Hanson
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Roy,

I guess what I meant was micro irrigation.  These little sprinklers do work very well.  

Eric
 
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Can any/all of you above, Roy, Eric, Bruce, give me your opinion as to if you thought drip irrigation will work with a 330 gallon water tote that is about 3 feet above the ground to bring water to about a 50 x 70 foot garden? Do you think there will enough pressure to push the water through the hose or drip hose?
 
Roy Long
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bruce Fine wrote:ive been using drip in a few forms for quite a while. if I can make couple suggestions ---- you will want to how many balance emitters in hose run  to volume and pressure from your source, ive divided garden into sections because volume and pressure is not enough to do all at once also you will want to put a filter or flushable fine mesh screen just after the valve from your water source. it only takes tiny particles to plug up most emitters.
i'e gotten a lot of my stuff from these folks and they have lots of good info in printed catalog, that's how long its been, iim guessing online is about the same as what they put in printed stuff years ago

https://www.rainfloirrigation.com



I am expecting potential issues with that, I have the ability to just turn up the pressure cutoff on the well pump to increase pressure, I have it set at 27 psi right now as it works better with leaky frost free heads and weak rusted pipe underground.  I can run it up quite a bit higher if I wish, I may also run the bottom pressure from 15 psi up to maybe 25 psi for better performance.

I may not have enough volume either but I can simply break the system in two or even three if need be after I get the emitters installed and everything adjusted I will be able to tell exactly how to go on it.  Far more accurate than calculations or guestimations on my part.  A couple days of tinkering with things  and adjusting everything and I should be able to dial in to where I want to be, I can run up to four separate lines with the water controllers I have and the hoses and parts.  I am hoping to have two lines in the end, but I think three lines is relatively likely, I will just have to get all emitters in place and start tinkering to see what I can do.

I can flow up to about ten gpm if I set my pressure back up to original 60 psi but had a pipe break in the ground five years ago and it leaked for close to a year before I was able to determine what was going on.  By the time I figured it out it was mid winter and I had a gushing stream coming out in front of the house.  I have no idea exactly who put in the outside water pipes, where they run or how long they were installed and I figure it is best to simply reduce the pressure until I collect enough pipe and supplies to put in a new system..   I have managed to collect 600 feet of 1 inch well pipe, if I managed to collect another 600 feet and buy up my parts I could go ahead and redo everything, but I imagine that won't be for a few more years yet...

 
Roy Long
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Annie Collins wrote:Can any/all of you above, Roy, Eric, Bruce, give me your opinion as to if you thought drip irrigation will work with a 330 gallon water tote that is about 3 feet above the ground to bring water to about a 50 x 70 foot garden? Do you think there will enough pressure to push the water through the hose or drip hose?



Bigger emitters will offset low pressure, the higher the gpm rating the lower the pressure needed to flow.  You won't get the rated gpm but you can offset a lack of pressure that way.  Depending on where you are a 350 gallon tank isn't going to do much for water on a 3,500 square foot garden...   That would be one gallon per every ten square feet, one watering would empty the tank.  Soaker hoses could also be used for very low pressure systems, in fact many systems have to run pressure reducers which would not be an issue for you.

How is this 350 gallon tank refilled exactly?
 
Eric Hanson
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Annie,

The problem in your case is going to be pressure.  Each 2.3 feet gives you 1 psi.  My drip emitters need a minimum of 10 psi if I remember correctly.  Unfortunately your 3 feet is just not enough for what is called a pressure compensating emitter which gives off an EXACT amount of water over a very wide range of pressures.  This is nice because a single line can run up and down hill and the first and last emitter and every one in between give off the same amount of water.

There are zero pressure emitters, but you can only run about 20 feet or so before the emitters start to give off different amounts of water.  It still can be done, but it makes things a little more complex.

But Annie, if that is the water you have on hand, and if you want to try drip irrigation, then by all means do so.  The company I recommend is Dripworks.com.  They have a great selection of drip products at reasonable prices.

Good Luck and please let us know how things work out!

Eric
 
Annie Collins
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Roy Long wrote:
Bigger emitters will offset low pressure, the higher the gpm rating the lower the pressure needed to flow.  You won't get the rated gpm but you can offset a lack of pressure that way.  Depending on where you are a 350 gallon tank isn't going to do much for water on a 3,500 square foot garden...   That would be one gallon per every ten square feet, one watering would empty the tank.  Soaker hoses could also be used for very low pressure systems, in fact many systems have to run pressure reducers which would not be an issue for you.

How is this 350 gallon tank refilled exactly?



Thanks, Roy. So it sounds like soaker hoses would be the best option for my set-up as it currently is. The 330-gallon tote gets refilled with rain water being collected off of a nearby shed roof. I could set the tote up higher, but it doesn't sound like it would make much difference in being able to add enough pressure for hoses other than a soaker hose, if I am understanding all this correctly. Thank you for your response.
I also really appreciated your posts above regarding the various ideas to use garden hoses. I got a lot out of those!
 
Annie Collins
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Eric Hanson wrote:Annie,

The problem in your case is going to be pressure.  Each 2.3 feet gives you 1 psi.  My drip emitters need a minimum of 10 psi if I remember correctly.  Unfortunately your 3 feet is just not enough for what is called a pressure compensating emitter which gives off an EXACT amount of water over a very wide range of pressures.  This is nice because a single line can run up and down hill and the first and last emitter and every one in between give off the same amount of water.

There are zero pressure emitters, but you can only run about 20 feet or so before the emitters start to give off different amounts of water.  It still can be done, but it makes things a little more complex.

But Annie, if that is the water you have on hand, and if you want to try drip irrigation, then by all means do so.  The company I recommend is Dripworks.com.  They have a great selection of drip products at reasonable prices.

Good Luck and please let us know how things work out!

Eric



Thank you for the information, Eric. It sounds like soaker hoses may be the best option for my low pressure system. I will do my best to remember to come back and update on how things are working out when I get them all set up.
 
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Roy Long wrote:Being able to now use for drip irrigation just makes it that much more useful, though at this point I am just about out of old junk garden hose material...  



I have a bunch of that micro drip stuff but I find the 3/4 poly tubing too stiff and annoying to deal with for my particular situation.  I really like the idea of using junk garden hose for this.  

Not that anybody will be having garage sales for awhile -- or if they do, I'm not going -- but in the abstract, I have had amazing luck picking up old garden hoses for one or two dollars, especially at moving and estate sales.  A lot of times they actually work fine, with no leaks and two good ends.  Other times they'll have one bad leak (easy to repair) or an end that got run over by a car on a hard driveway and smashed flat (likewise).  Several times I've gestured at an entire messy pile of garden hoses and asked "how much?" only to hear "A dollar if you take them all" or other phrases indicating that the person just wants them gone.
 
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