How long do you water?

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

I have a pile of new stuff from Dripworks that I am in the process of installing - emitters, sprayers and drip hose. My gardens are a mix of perennials for the most part, with the occasional shrub, rose, etc. I have a small separate veggie garden with raised beds, 3 3x6 and one 2x 15. Should that be a separate zone? And how long should I set the timers for? I'm a little late doing this, we're going away for nearly a month, leaving Monday afternoon. I wish I had time to test it all out first, but I have to wing it and hope for the best.

Any advice greatly appreciated!


Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

Normally I would suggest setting up a shorter time than you think necessary, and leaving it that way for a few weeks to see what wilts first.

Spot-hand-water that spot (or add more emitters or sprayers there) while keeping the overall timer the same. See what wilts second, add more emitters there. Maybe remove some sprayers from any area that never gets dry.

Then maybe increase the overall timer by 30% and stop spot-watering by hand. Check to see that the top in ch or to DO get dry, but deeper than that never gets TOO dry.

But in your case, maybe let it run long enough to get dry soil good and wet 2-3" inches down, and set that up for every second or third day, and hope you don't drown anything while away.

If you knew how many inches of rain you need per week, you could calculate a rough guess from gallons per hour per emitter.

I would try to work out:
- how many square feet one emitter or sprayer covers,
- multiply that by how many inches per week of water you want,
- multiply by 7.5 / 12 to convert to gallons (per per week per emitter)
- divide by gallons per hour for that emitter,
- multiply by 60 to convert hours to minutes (per week)
and that should be how many minutes per week that emitter needs to run, for that many inches of water.
But the only method that mkeans anything is trying it and then seeing if you're over or under watering.

7.5 gallons per cubic foot.

one cubic foot of water = 1" deep x 12 square feet, or 1" deep x 1.3 square yards

1" deep x 1 square foot = 0.625 gallons
at 1 GPH, that is 37.5 minutes

Is it plausible that one emitter wets one square foot?

Have you found ways to mix gadgets that have diofferent kinds of bases? I have some "Dramm" sprayer/misters like Nifty Nozzles, Pin Perfect nozzles, and Misty-Mist nozzles. They have a wierd "Witworth thread" or "3/8 WW" thread that needs a special gasklet and a 7/16" hole drilled in Schedule 40 PVC. I have no eqasy to use it other than run some PVC pipe overhead.

And I'm tempted to buy some "1/8" spot spitte4rs" for containerts, but already have 1/4" microtubing and didn't wnat to mix it with 1/8".

What sprayers do you like best? I have one Shrobbler and one Spectrum Sprayer but hjave not tested them yet. (Bought a lot of 3/4" mainline compression fittings and have not set up the mainline yet.)

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

In the end, I set the timers for 1 hour every 3 days. I knew I wouldn't be able get the whole place done before we left Monday afternoon, so I have someone coming by once a week to water the pots and hanging baskets. If there's no rain at all, he will set up the tower wherever there seems to be the most stress. It covers a pretty large area, has a manual timer on it so he'll just leave it going for 90 minutes.

I had 2 heart kits, 1 mini-jet border kit, 1 large yard kit and lots of extra tubing and odds and ends of connectors to work with. I ran everything from the back of the top lawn so as not to fight gravity. There are 2 zones, each 100' long. One main line goes across the top wall under the daylilies and peonies, past the big barrel at the end, and continues through the veggie garden to the blueberry bushes at the back. I used Mini jets (180 degree spray pattern) across the front edge on the narrow part, Spectrums and Ein D'or sprinklers at the edge of the top wall after the box shrub where it gets wider, trying to cover the plants along the edge both above and below. I figured the big clumps of peonies and Siberian Iris at the back survived decades of neglect before my time, I had to prioritize for all the perennials I've been nurturing and propagating for the last few years. At the end I added whatever drip hose I had left along the top and in the wider part of the lower bed. There is a shrubbler in the big barrel, and 3 more behind In the veggie garden, one for each blueberry bush. I only had enough stuff to add 1 spectrum and a short line of drip hose with 9" spacing for the two tomato beds, but the cukes, beets, Bok Choy, etc, are on their own.

Zone 2 runs down the border on the right side, at the top of the falling down wall and beyond the big Rhodie to the larger bed behind. I used mini jets (180 degree spray pattern) along the top edge until I ran out just past the big shrubs, and ran soaker drip hose down to the new-ish hydrangeas at the bottom. I'm hoping that the water trickles down and soaks into the soil around the rocks and gets to the roots of the lower plants. At the far end I used my last 2 Ein D'ors in the wide part, making sure the few good perennials are covered and leaving the annuals and super-vigorous hemerocallis fulva to their own devices.

I had to use my imagination during the set-up as I wasn't sure exactly what each type would cover until I finished and turned the system on to test it. I like the mini jets a lot, they seem perfect along the front edges. I could use a few more, maybe stronger ones for the wider sections. The spectrums and shrubblers came on 5" stakes, which I found limiting. That's why I set them along the top of the wall in the widest part, hoping to get the tall plants below as well as the front edgers. I'd like to get higher risers and some sprinklers with a larger range for inside the wider sections, where the plants are taller and more dense. I'm not sure yet how I feel about the soaker drip hose, but it was fairly quick to install. I hope it fills in the dry spots enough to get by.

On the whole, it was a good experience. Dripworks was very helpful, both on the website and when I called to ask questions. They even sent me a chart to try to figure out how to get approximately 1" of water a week, which I read somewhere is optimum for mixed borders.

Now if everything works right and we don't have a monsoon...

Fingers crossed...


Thumbnail by Pfg Thumbnail by Pfg
(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

More pics- first the falling-down wall, where the most of the lower plants are tough enough to wing it, but may get some trickle-down. The new hydrangeas are barely visible at the bottom toward the right.
Second, the top edge of the widest area, where I put spectrums and Ein D'ors hoping to get more mileage from them, and filled in with soaker drip until I ran out of transfer barbs.

I'll be back there after 9/10. What do you all think I'll find?!


(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

Oops, they didn't post.

Edited to add:

The other border along the bottom has 2 sections of 50' sprinkler hose on another timer. I'll try to do something more permanent either in the fall or next spring. Right now there are only a few plants that need protecting, so lots of weeds will be very happy while I'm gone!


This message was edited Aug 10, 2012 8:20 AM

This message was edited Aug 10, 2012 8:21 AM

Thumbnail by Pfg Thumbnail by Pfg
Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

You have some nice land there. Good luck!

Do you find that you can screw mini-jets into 1/4" microtubing without leaks? Do the 10/32 threads makie a tight seal?

I read that "above 30 PSI, they emit more of a mist", and thoguht that with my 45 PSI supply, they might act like foggers instead of sprinklers. I guess I could buy a regulator (or more than one).

I just assembled my back-yard mainline but didn't have time to attach dripline or emitters. Unfort5tun ately I picked up mostly sprayers with a base thaqt only seals on holes drilled into Sc hedule 40 PVC pipe (Dramm Pin Perfect, Nifty Nozzles and Misty-Mist nozzles.

I think that DripWorks' Mini-Jet Sprayers are the same as Antelco "Single Piece Jets". Shrubblers and Spect6rum sprayers are also made by Antelco.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

I found that the 10/32 threads will NOT hold in vinyl or PE 1/4" tubing - not with 45 PSI. I'm now thinking that even with 30 PSI, the barbs may be a better b et bif it goes unatteneded for long periods.

On the toher hand, sc rewing threads into "Rigid Riser" seems to hold OLK even at 45 PSI.

Based on my very limited experience.

As to how long to water: for any given setup, I think that the only way to be sure is to run it for a few cycles (daily or weekely) until it reac hes some equilibrium, then shove a finger down several inshes to see what the result is wuith yuour setup and your soil and climate and plants.

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

As I was leaving right after installation for 6 weeks, that was not an option. However most survived quite well. When I got back the batteries were dead so at least 1 or 2 cycles were missed. Fortunately there was rain, so no big disasters. In the spring I'll work on fine-tuning the system, but on the whole it was successful.

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