Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Drip Irrigation on a budget

:) As I promised one of my nurse friends...I would show you how to make a drip irrigation system for under fifty dollars. I won't lie...this is not my idea. I stole it off of a guy on pinterest. But...I did make some mistakes and some "What the heck?" errors along the way, including taking pictures and upon transfer to my computer, yup...you guessed it..they got deleted. So... Let's wing this post!

First things first..Let's give ya a link to the original post where I was inspired by the inexpensive drip irrigation system. Link If you want to do the Martha Stewart version check that out! They have a filter, fancy hook in system (that I could never find) and other amazing things! But this isn't a blog for the perfectionist! :) tee hee.. this is a blog for the practical minded. Plus by knocking off some of the extras, your costs go way down!

This picture shows my main line out of the ground with the attachment to hook up to a garden hose. How easy is that? Just hook up and turn on for underground watering. Of course you can cut it closer or do it fancy....This works for me since I don't have to actually go into my garden to hook it up.

I went to Sprinkler warehouse  and bought my large main line which ended up doing a U shape through my six beds. This is a non-drip line. I didn't know it at the time that I had also purchased NON-DRIP poly tubing for the 1/4 inch sides off of the main line. So I had a system that didn't drip anywhere when turned on! ((yes not my finest moments)). I ended up fixing that with a wonderful needle and I poked holes throughout the main line and the side lines. I kinda got carried away since I didn't know what needed to drip and what needed to not drip! Side lines, yes...main line NO!

Here you can see the main line and the two side lines that I put on each side. 

This is my son helping bury the lines. BTW...bury the lines deep, almost three to four times deeper than you think because....well, you'll end up weeding them up if they get attached to a weed. Or like me...thinking I could hoe it...lol...I didn't cut a line, just ripped it up and had a time burying it in between produce coming up!

This is the Drip irrigation going...you can see all the water and how it just streams out. I never bought a fancy slow flow...or a filter. If you think your water is super gunky, then by all means do that! But your cost will go up! I bought a filter and slow flow and it ended up just leaking horribly! I threw it away.

So this is what you need:
-Main line (non-drip) 1/2 inch
-T's (I think I used a total of six (for my six beds) and I still have a bag full, I never used the single ones but if your bed is wide, purchase these too)
-You can use a small knife to cut the hole instead of a fancy tool but the tool was super cheap so I bought it! 
-Buy Electrical Tape to clamp off the end of the Main Line and the small lines, one roll
-Side lines 1/4 inch(make sure these are drip-lol)
-The end that attaches to a hose found in my first picture for the 1/2 inch main line, it screws in and doesn't leak (you can purchase them at your local Lowes) I never could find that piece anywhere on the sprinkler's website!

Determine how much you'll need:
Find out how big your beds are by putting a rope or string down along where the main line and side lines are and that's how much you'll need. Make sure you write down these lines cause you'll need to cut your side lines to length. Of course it comes in giant rolls of 100ft. If you have leftover, rock on, you can use it along another area of your garden.

What I wished I had known:
-Side lines were drip
-I wish I woulda put a third side line down the Main Line that was a 'drip' line. That way I'd have a total of three lines (because my beds are so wide). 
-I woulda kept the main line intact without puncturing it. As you can see from the pictures, the force is heavy and if the beds are fluffy soil, it will quickly shoot out of the bed and create a puddle if you have the pressure up which will ruin the bed! 
-I wish I wouldn't have bought the wasted filter and slow flow applicator. It did nothing but leak.
-Lowes has an ENTIRE section on sprinklers and the prices were not bad! You might even compare with sprinkler warehouse before purchasing!

Total time was about an 2 hours ...the longest part was digging so if you order your stuff online, go out and dig to save time once it all comes in! 

Happy irrigating on a budget!