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HomeGardeningDrip Irrigation Q+A — Seattle City Farm Firm

Drip Irrigation Q+A — Seattle City Farm Firm


Drip irrigation Q & A

We polled our followers on Instagram, and have answered their high drip irrigation questions beneath.  

To maintain the Q & A so simple as attainable, I’m utilizing the next pointers:

  • This weblog solely addresses drip tape, which is finest utilized in rectilinear areas. I’ll deal with irrigation for container gardening and organic-shaped areas in a later weblog. 

  • I’m utilizing a 4’x8’ rectangular mattress as my “management” right here. Gardens are available all dimensions and shapes, and I’m not saying that it’s best to construct 4×8 beds. They only present a straightforward option to illustrate drip irrigation ideas.  

Q: I would have an interest to know if there are methods to DIY this with out a package. Perhaps extra time/labor intensive, however cheaper? 

A: It relies on the scale of your backyard. When you’re establishing a system for an space the place the entire mattress house provides as much as 192 sq. ft or much less (or 6 4×8’ beds), I’d go along with the one of many drip kits we suggest. Strive the Dripworks Drip Tape Package for rectilinear framed beds or in-ground beds, and the Backyard Mattress Irrigation package for container gardens.  

In fact, shopping for in bulk is all the time cheaper so long as you will have the necessity for lots of supplies. For instance, a 4000’ roll of Aqua-Traxx drip tape with 8” spaced emitters, prices round $228. That is sufficient tape to run irrigation to over one-hundred and twenty 4’x8’ raised beds! A small drip package could include 200’ of drip tape, or sufficient for round 192 sq. ft of backyard house. This could will let you irrigate six 4’x8’ foot raised beds and prices about $85. 

Except you’re planning to arrange dozens of irrigation techniques annually, otherwise you’re making a system for a really massive backyard, the 4000’ roll of tape will in all probability be a waste of cash. This is perhaps a greater strategy: For round $135 you should purchase a drip tape package that may service as much as six 4’x8’* beds, further tape locs, and the hose finish timer we suggest. In different phrases, all the pieces you want to your drip system.**

When you do wish to piece collectively your individual package, our guide, “Meals Grown Proper, In Your Yard” lists out the entire completely different provides you’ll want and yow will discover lots of them right here

*How am I calculating the sq. footage lined by the small drip tape package ? We suggest spacing drip traces about 12” aside, so in every 4’x8’ mattress you’ll want 4 traces. When capping the tip of your drip traces, you find yourself folding over a couple of inches of the road, so accounting for that and some minor errors, I’m assuming at every mattress would require 4 8.33’ drip traces. (4 x 8.33)6=200. 

**When you’re going to arrange tapes in additional than two 4’x8’ raised beds, you’ll want extra tape locs (aka. Drip Tape Row Begins). We house our tapes about 12” aside, so every 4’x8’ mattress wants 4 tape locs, and the package solely comes with ten. You too can purchase extra tape ends (to cap your irrigation) or you should utilize our outdated hack of slicing a 3-inch piece of drip tape (most of it’s best to have further!), folding your lively tape ends over 3 times and sliding them into the lower piece. 

Q: How a lot does it really value to put in a drip system for 4 4’x8’ beds?
A: I believe probably the most environment friendly arrange would value round $135. See the final query 🙂

Q: Strategies for putting in amongst a number of raised beds with out creating journey hazards? Is it so simple as burying traces between beds?
A: The fundamental line, or header tubing, shall be related to your water supply and also you’ll run your drip tapes off of this line. That is the road it’s essential to fear about changing into a visit hazard as a result of it’s going to seemingly run although elements of your web site that aren’t essentially designated backyard house. In an ideal state of affairs you’ll be inserting your beds close to a water supply and on high of sod, soil, gravel, or another malleable floor that may simply be dug up so the traces will be buried a couple of inches underground. 

When you can’t bury your fundamental traces, you’ll should get inventive. Do your finest to safe or bury any uncovered traces operating out of your water supply to your backyard. In some circumstances, when traces can’t be buried, we’ll run our fundamental line just a little longer, and round a extra circuitous route in order that the traces will be secured to the sting of a home, deck or fence, as an alternative of operating throughout a patio or different impervious floor and creating an unpleasant tripping hazard. These pipe straps come in useful when attempting to safe your fundamental line to your beds or surrounding surfaces.  

Q: Do you bury [the drip tapes] or depart them on high of the soil? 
A: We depart them on high of the soil in the course of the rising season. We’ve discovered that they’re much less more likely to get clogged or broken by our enthusiastic gardeners that approach. Leaving them on high of the soil additionally helps to maintain them high ½ inch or so of soil moist, which is essential for seed germination. 

Within the winter, we high off all of our backyard beds with 2-3 inches of compost. We depart the tapes beneath the compost in the course of the winter.

Q: I would like my drip system to be sustainable, it looks as if all the pieces on the native ironmongery store by no means lasts greater than a season, so possibly merchandise which are extra sustainable. 
A: A top quality drip system ought to final a few years. Off the highest of my head I can consider not less than a dozen gardens that we nonetheless preserve frequently which have the unique drip system we put in once we first constructed the backyard over 10 years in the past. Look for prime quality, agricultural-grade supplies, like those we suggest right here

Inevitably, any system goes to want repairs right here and there, which is one more reason why we suggest the merchandise we do – they are much simpler to work with than the opposite choices on the market.

Q: I’ve discovered with our onerous water my system will get clogged simply, it could be a budget stuff I purchased?
A: Make sure you set up a filter at your water supply. These easy and cheap tee filters are what we use. The underside screws off and the steel mesh filter will be simply taken out and cleaned or changed with out unscrewing your complete system. 

Q: I might love to listen to extra about drip tape.
A: Drip traces deliver water out of your fundamental line to your crops. 

Drip tapes: In case you have a sq. or rectangular backyard, drip tapes are the best way to go. They’re low in value, super-efficient at utilizing water, and distribute it uniformly all through your backyard. Drip tapes are basically lengthy flat tubes with in-built emitters that fill with water when beneath strain. 

When selecting a drip tape model, search for a product that has emitters areas each 6-9 inches and is strain compensating, which suggests it distributes water equally all through the entire system no matter row size (inside limits) and elevation adjustments. The draw back of drip tape is that it might solely be utilized in a straight line, so it’s not nice for containers or curvy beds. 

Q: I’m interested by the way you deal with crops with completely different watering wants. My carrots germinate higher if I’ve a sprinkler head spraying them, however different crops wish to have water dripped proper on the base of the plant.
A: This can be a nice query. Normally, I’d say {that a} drip tape system ought to deal with all your backyard’s wants (I’m not addressing greenhouse or plant nursery wants here-which are completely different). It’s true that some crops resembling carrots can profit from extra overhead watering on the subject of making certain constant seed germination. 

With that mentioned, we don’t use overhead watering techniques in any of the 80 or so gardens we preserve annually, and we’ve got nice success with germination. We’ve discovered that hand watering your newly planted seeds is essential. No matter how efficient our drip techniques are, we by no means direct seed or transplant any crop with out hand watering it in utilizing a hose finish sprayer set to “bathe”. This primary soaking goes a good distance in aiding germination and lowering transplanting-related points. 

Additionally, as I discussed earlier, we don’t bury our drip traces and making certain excessive charges of germination is likely one of the explanation why. In case your tapes are on high of the soil, the primary ½ inch of soil is extra more likely to keep moist as seeds are germinating. 

One other method to concentrate on when direct-seeding in a backyard with a drip-system is seeding alongside the drip line. We house our drip tapes 12 inches aside as a result of most annual vegetable crops require 6-12 inch spacing. Direct seeding inside 1-2 inches of your drip line may even assist to make sure constant germination. 

Q: I assume it is best to arrange earlier than the season begins. 
A: The simplest time to put in a drip irrigation system is while you’re initially constructing the backyard. The second finest time is between backyard seasons, both on the finish of the autumn season or early spring earlier than planting begins once more. Putting in a system mid-season will be tough as a result of you will want to delicately work round all your established buildings and crops.

Q: What sorts of modifications, if any, does one want in the event that they have already got lengthy season crops in beds, like garlic? 
A: So long as your current crops are spaced correctly, putting in drip traces round them shouldn’t be an issue.

Q: Ought to the traces be taken out over winter?
A: the drip irrigation techniques we suggest are straightforward to winterize, as a result of the traces don’t maintain water when the system isn’t operating. Thus, you might be able to depart fundamental traces and drip traces in place over the winter with out threat of harm. When establishing a system, it’s a good suggestion to create an finish on the lowest a part of the backyard that may be opened as much as let water drain out. Fittings for mainline tubing are straightforward to take away and performance as the sort of drain.  When you reside in an space with very chilly winters, it could be a good suggestion to make use of an air compressor to blow water out of any buried traces earlier than winter units in. 

Earlier than the temperature drops beneath freezing, flip the water off on the hose bib and produce your timer inside for the winter. You may additionally wish to disconnect some other fittings close to the timer such because the filter and strain regulator and retailer these within the storage. In case you have a  Y-valve, be certain each valves are open to let water drain out.

Q: If one has tall raised beds, ought to the road be buried beneath, or go excessive? 
A: We all the time suggest operating your fundamental traces beneath your beds if attainable. This isn’t all the time sensible when you’re putting in a system in an current backyard. 

Q: How lengthy ought to the traces final earlier than they have to be changed?
A: I can consider many gardens we put in 10-12 years in the past that also have their authentic drip techniques…so fairly a very long time! You’ll inevitably must patch holes within the drip tape (use these couplers or simply change all the size of tape), however the full system ought to final years.

Good luck establishing your drip system, I hope the following pointers assist! 



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