do rain barrels provide enough ooomph for drip irrigation?

Arlington, MA(Zone 6a)

(my apologies if this is not the correct forum for this topic. )

i garden in a community garden & i would like to use drip irrigation but the only option is my own reservoir. would a rain barrel, placed 3' above drip level, provide enough water pressure for drip irrigation?

thanks,
donna

Thumbnail by 6aseeder
San Marcos, TX(Zone 8b)

I wouldnt think so. You could make the holes larger so it would drain more. You can get good flow but not very good pressure. The flow also diminishes with the length of the hose.

Austin, TX(Zone 8b)

It depends on how long the system is. Lots of folks in africa do it just fine. Google on "gravity feed" drip irrigation and you'll see lots of examples, mostly with a 5-gallon pail, some even with enough math to adapt to your own situation.

I'm guessing you're thinking you would fill the barrel out of a spigot or something? Or are you somehow oriented that you have a capture area for rain? If it's spigot, you might think about the buried soda bottles system - punch little holes in them, put them in the ground when you plant the seeds, and then fill them up with water to drip out. (Some people think this is better anyways, because it gets the water deeper and encourages the roots to grow deep.)

Plano, TX

i took a rain barrel making class and they hooked up a filled rain barrel with both a drip unit and a soaker hose--the drip was very slow but it did drip----the soaker hose seemed to work the best-

-in our booklet it says "if your system is not gravity fed, connect an electrip pump to a garden hose to transport water to the irrigation site. Drip and other types of integrated distrubution sysstems need pumps to provide necessary pressure for system operation"

Arlington, MA(Zone 6a)

thanks for the input, especially the "gravity feed" words to feed to google. getting the right phrase is always helpful. i would be filling the reservoir with a hose, most of the time. i have no way to capture rain in an accumulated manner (e.g. downspout from a roof).

Huntsville, Canada

Thank you for the ideas rain barrel and bucket method is hurting my back. This year has been dry but my veggie garden is doing just fine, thanks to the rain barrel. I like the pop bottle idea kinda neat, reusing garbage gets the water off the surface less of a chance of evaporating or snails eating wet leaves.

Cleburne, TX(Zone 8a)

Quoting:
If it's spigot, you might think about the buried soda bottles system - punch little holes in them, put them in the ground when you plant the seeds, and then fill them up with water to drip out. (Some people think this is better anyways, because it gets the water deeper and encourages the roots to grow deep.)


Sounds like this could be a good use for all the empty plastic water bottles. Is the cap end up? Or is it the other way around with the smaller end with cap on buried and the bottom cut off the bottle that would make a larger opening for filling?

Glenna

Austin, TX(Zone 8b)

I've done it both ways - with the cap up and the bottle buried, or cap down with the bottom cut off for a temporary system. I guess the key points are a reservoir and pinholes (with no need for any great water pressure, because the system is so short).

NORTH CENTRAL, PA(Zone 5a)

This is my drip works gravity fed tower that was featured in the catalog of Drip Works of California's catalog for a number of years.

Drip Works of California has or at that time had the only gravity fed T tape that was rated tape. That tape worked on four pounds of pressure very well. From this tower I watered two one thousand square feet gardens, a seventy square foot raised bed and twelve square foot bed at the base of the tower from which I grew my state record long gourd.

The rule of thumb for estimating is that you get one pound of pressure for every two feet of elevation. Therefore my eight foot tower plus the full barrels delivered the T tapes between four and five pounds of water pressure.

In this instance using their T tape I was able to deliver one hundred gallons of water to a one thousand square foot patch in about twenty minutes. It took me about the same amount of time to refill the barrels. I used various valves and fittings to direct my flow to the beds I wished to water.

The eyes were a joke and pitched by me as a bird and small animal chaser. The only one it scared was the neighbors four year old kid whose bed room had to be moved. Those eyes got more giggles than anything else. Good talking fodder for the hundreds of walkers going by the front of our property daily in the warm weather months.

Drip Works of California has a dandy catalog on line and I believe available by request. There are lots of design and function helps in their catalog.

Thumbnail by docgipe
Carrollton, TX(Zone 8a)

What type of container makes the best home-made rain barrel? I am looking for something inexpensive in the 50 to 100 gallon size that I can aquire in the Dallas area. Any help/direction would be appreciated.

NORTH CENTRAL, PA(Zone 5a)

55 gal drums are sometimes free depending upon whom you know. They are commonly sold here for five to eight dollars a barrel. You may need two or three tied together depending upon your area and need. Don't forget to cover them to prevent skeeters from having a barrel heaven. An ounce of kerosene will prevent them too.

Cleburne, TX(Zone 8a)

Quote from hrp50 :
What type of container makes the best home-made rain barrel? I am looking for something inexpensive in the 50 to 100 gallon size that I can aquire in the Dallas area. Any help/direction would be appreciated.


Check feed and farm stores.

Carrollton, TX(Zone 8a)

I have signed up for a rain barrel making class in Dallas through the Texas Agrilife Extension Service on April 12. I paid for 2 barrels at $40 each. They didn't say how many gallons each barrel holds, only that each barrel is 2' in diameter and 3' tall. After pricing rain barrels on the interenet this sounded like the best deal since I couldn't find any for free.

NORTH CENTRAL, PA(Zone 5a)

Twenty bucks for a barrel seems high but one can not run around hunting much for the difference. I guess used barrels are priced on supply and demand plus what the market will bare. I still see them here for the five to eight dollar price. Glad you found a solution for your needs.

Now here is some food for thought. As to placing the drip holes up or down. Most instructions are to place them up. I do not know why. When placed faced down nothing can fall or seep in. No pressure except hole edge resistance is required to leave the confines of the pipe. The pipe serves as a cover for the area around the hole on its bottom side. I really can not think of any good reason to place the holes face up. This may be what many are still advising us wrong including the otherwise excellent Drip Works of Calif. catalog.

By placing the lines underground when in no till areas my drip lines lasted in excess of six years....some as long as ten. I joined the cuts them off club about once a year. I eventually figured it out. Without much time spent making lines we are all going to be members of this club. That's why they made insert to insert couplings. Buy a few with your first order of drip line.

Carrollton, TX(Zone 8a)

Thank's for that info docgipe, although it will probably make more sense to me once I see the actual rain barrel. After my class and before setting it up at my house I am sure that I will have many more questions for you and others regarding how to do it.

NORTH CENTRAL, PA(Zone 5a)

You already have all the basics here. Get your eyes into the Drip Works of California on line catalog. Then lay your system out on paper to determine needs. They have header line material, drip line material and all kinds of fittings to install it. They then request you send your plan in by appointment and at no cost they will check your plans prior to your making an order. This is the only fool proof way I know of to go from estimating to real purchasing of items. They were first to do this and remain one of the best to work with. I know they saved me a lot of wasted dollars.

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