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Last year I went through a whole lot of trouble and expense to put in a soaker hose system in my garden (the DIY one from Walmart, with all these elbows and "T"s, and custom sized soaker hose lengths for each row of veggies, etc., etc., etc. Finally I decided it was just NOT that great!!!!!!! The hoses are stuck in place (once the veggies grow a little it's a hassle to move the hose if you need to)...weeds pin the hoses down, etc. etc. etc.
Soooooooooo, I'm thinking of going back to the old-fashioned method of good 'ol sprinklers on timers to go off early in the morning.
I have no opinion since I'm just starting out, but I am interested in this since I just bought a bunch of irrigation equipment. I have a question for you though. It sounds to me like what you're describing I would call 'drip irrigation'. Like the stuff that Home Depot sells a ton of different pieces for and primarily uses 1/2" plastic tubing with little plastic drip emitters attached.
Soaker hoses, I thought were like a typical garden hose except that they have a bunch of pinprick holes in them to leak water.
I know this may sound like I'm nitpicking a bit, but I've been installing the 'drip irrigation stuff' on semi-permanent plants like fruit trees and berries. But I was planning on using what I'm calling 'soaker hoses' on veggies for precisely the reason your saying that I'll want to move them around. So I hope that's not what was causing your problem because I prefer to avoid the sprinklers if I can.
Me too, Jeff...I was thinking I could make my own soaker hoses because I thought this was the way to go. Now I'm a bit concerned...what is the best way? And for me, cost does come into play.
I also think back to when my Granny and Papa had their garden and none of this new fangled stuff was even around. They grew the best veggies ever!
So what do we do, experts?
I use drip irrigation on all of my permenent stuff, trees, grapevines, etc. and I use soaker hoses on all of my garden things, veggies flowers etc. Here in the de3sert southwest, we have lots of calcium in our water which will plug up sprinkler hoses. but I have found that soaking them in the winter in tubs of CLR will make them brand new again. for what it is worth...
I'm glad that you posted this thread. I had planned to use soaker hoses this summer. Instead of using a sprinkler to water my garden last summer during a lengthy drought, I actually used 2 gallon watering cans to apply the water where it was needed and to keep the foliage dry. Talk about labor intensive and time consuming. Of course, it made me spend more time in the garden tending my plants, and I noticed some things going on that I may have otherwise overlooked.
Since you mentioned CLR, I cleared a clogged kitchen drain the other day with baking soda and vinegar. I was skeptical after learning about this homemade drain cleaner, but it really worked!!! I hear that baking soda and vinegar also works on lime and mineral deposits. I use vinegar to clean my coffeemaker because we have really hard water in this area. It's worth a try.
After you get their site up, click on Growers Supplies on top of the page, the page that comes up click on drip irrigation. It's in the second line. This is all the things for hooking it up. Call them if you want, I'm sure they would send you some literature.
Good discussion. I think I'll go with sprinklers on timers this year! Besides the irrigation system (not the drip system, but the actual soaker hoses) last year, and then, sometimes, if you use your string trimmer to cut something near the hoses, it will slice them open and it's a HUGE hassle to replace, seeing as things have grown all around them, etc.
Go to http://www.dripworksusa.com - they have everything you could want - drip emitters, t-tape, drip line, container drip emitters, small sprinkler emitters, etc. You can customize you system anyway you want and easily change it at any ttime with little effort.
I've bought a small amount of all of the systems mentioned above to try this year, drip irrigation, soaker hoses, the T-tape Bernie uses and the old fashioned hose and sprinkler. The arguments I've heard against the sprinklers are A) They waste water and B) They splash the foliage of the plant which might promote disease (or splash up disease from the soil.
Well wasting water was something I worried about back when I lived in California, but here we're in a river valley and the county water is pretty cheap and the water table is high if I need to drill a well so I'm not worried about that.
I am worried about the disease though because it's supposed to be bad here with our mild winters and high humidity so I would love to find some drip/trickle solution I can work with. You're completely right about the dangers of weed wackers. I was at home depot the other day and noticed 3 separate places where their landscaper's had cut their drip irrigation hose. And I personally have cut my own water line a couple times with my tractor.
I imagine I will be sprinkling quite a bit this season too. Supposedly as long as you sprinkle in the morning and give the plants a chance to dry during the day you're ok.
I have had drip irrigation for about 7 years and there are things I love and things I hate.
Things I love.
It's easy just to turn on a spigot.
It's great in areas were drought is a problem.
Pretty easy to repair if you cut it.
Cut's down on weeds, because you are only watering plants.
Things I hate
It can be expensive. (initial outlay for materials)
You can't use a hoe
needs to be "tweaked" every year and things need replacing and repaired.
Not always attractive.
Since we have droughts that last as long as five years at a time, we have water restrictions often and it can be great in those instances. Also, once it is in, it can be easy to use. (We don't have many problems with humidity here, so I can't address those problems).
I found in some areas I love it, but I use sprinklers for grass and areas where I "seed" plants. So I use a mixture of methods.
I prefer the lines with the emitters are already in rather than when you have to put the emitters in. It can save a ton of work and a lot of time.
Thanks for that analysis. I do love things about it, but I think I'd prefer the drip irrigation, since the hose isn't intermingled with the plants and can be easily modulized, that is, easily remove one short drip hose (the mini-hose that branches off the main one) and / or add another without the hassle of trying to unwind 50' of soaker house from around the base of my thorny roses! Yikes!
The problem we had with soaker hoses was that they dried out in our hot summer weather and eventually sprung leaks. Duct tape only held up for a while, and eventually I gave up on them. This year I am using Watersorb crystals to hopefully hold moisture in the soil in the flower beds so I don't have to water daily. We have water restrictions here during summer.
June, good point. Here in subtropical (a slight exageration) zone 8b that happens too! And boy, if you hit the hose with your shovel and it leaks! Then you have to go through all the hassle (as I explained before) of trying to UNwind that awful hose from around the base of your roses, etc. Yikes!
I have a small vegetable garden and last year I used soaker hoses in it. (the one that looks like a regular hose, not the one with emitters). It worked great. I also use them in some flower beds and around shrubs under mulch. I do throw them away after a couple of years if need be. If it springs a leak, as only one did because of a kink, I sliced the hose and used a "fix-it" piece from the hardware store to join it back together. Mine come from Costco and were very inexpensive.
Our organization is using many hundreds of feet of the soaker hose to cut down on water waste by evaporation and to eliminate sprinkling of the plant leaves themselves. When i first put the hose down, every single inch of the hose leaked nicely, like i had thought it would. After a while though, i started noticing "dry" spots on the hoses and found that there was a little coating of white calcium all over them in those areas. I'm going to try soaking the hoses in vinegar to cut through the calcium, rinse them and then replace them into the rows. It's difficult keeping the soaker hose on top of the soil or mulch, but i believe this is important also, as even the tiny grains of clay/sand can clog up the tiny holes in the hoses. i'm wondering if there is some kind of 'in-line' solution that is not toxic and is fully organic that i could attach to each of the spigots to keep those hoses clog-free.
I'm about to plant my fall/winter crop in raised beds for the very first time. As a seasoned eBucket/container gardener, all I've learned about growing veggies and plants has told me that the best watering method is to "water deeply, as infrequently as possible, in order to make the plant's roots grow deeper to access the reservoir created by deep watering."
With that in mind, it seems to me that the very best watering system would be one that either A) allowed for thorough, even saturation of the soil as close to the plant root base as possible without keeping the (veggie) plant leaves overly wet (fungaluglies...humidity issues...etc.) in the process, or
B) allowed for a slow and consistent reservoir of water to be made available at the plant's root base for immediate access and uptake as necessary, again without keeping the leaves overly wet in the process.
I currently spend countless minutes hand watering my one filled raised bed in accordance with point A above. However, as I construct more growing areas, those minutes will become more and more precious for other gardening duties. Hand watering that many areas will become a "time suck".
With that said, I'm opting to install soaker hoses snaked through my RBs, near the roots of my plants (veggies). The hoses will lie on top of the soil, and will drip as long as it takes to evenly distribute water throughout the entire bed. Then, off they go until the next time...
Slow and steady wins the race, and keeps the plants happy and growing...
I've read several people say DON'T use soaker hoses with hard water.
However, that only aplies to the porous kind intended to "weep" wtaer right through the material.
You could instead use dripline (1/4" or 1/2" hose with built-in drip emitters).
Or T-tape, which i think is flat dripline.
Any of those would be as efficient as soaker hose, in terms of losing no water to evaporation, because the water just drips from the hose to the soil. And you can lay much over it, perhaps at the risk of more clogging.
I couldn't do without my soaker hose grid. Every year, I've got my garden fixed so all I have to do to water is turn valves.
I started out with the WalMart parts too, back about when this thread started in 2007. Walmart hasn't carried that soaker hose system for several years now, but you can still order parts online from the manufacturer.
My vegetable garden is about 100' from our big backyard faucet, we have our own well. Someday I'm gonna bury an underground water line out to the garden, but in the meantime I just stretch a couple of connected hoses. My garden is fenced and bordered with railroad ties, and I have a line of 3/4" PVC pipe fastened to the railroad ties along the entire west and north sides of the garden. There's a faucet every six feet in the PVC line, and my garden hose from the backyard faucet attaches to the line and supplies the whole thing when it's turned on.
As I plant my veggies I install a soaker hose on top of the ground beside each row of planted seeds or seedlings - at the time of planting. Each soaker hose is attached to one of the faucets in the PVC line, and one run of soaker hose often waters two or three rows. As soon as seedlings are a few inches tall, I mulch the rows and paths between rows with fresh grass clippings, covering the soaker hoses. This really conserves water and minimizes fungus diseases.
Every year my garden design and soaker hose configuration changes. For paths and areas between rows that I don't want to water, I use cut up pieces of an old garden hose. The 1/2" diameter soaker hoses fit snugly inside the cut ends of a piece of garden hose, and I secure them with small metal hose clamps at each junction.
I usually leave the various faucets I'm using in the garden turned on, so to water all I have to do is turn on that one faucet at the well head - easy. If there's a reason to water some rows more or less than others, then I can control that with the various faucets in the garden.
I don't know why my soaker hoses don't get clogged with lime - I don't think anyone has more calcium in their water than us here in the limestone Ozarks. My only guess is that it's because I run my soaker hoses without water pressure restrictors - with all those lines going they work best at full pressure and our well delivers a lot of pressure.
Anyway, that's my soaker hose system and I don't hand water a thing or use overhead sprinklers either.
Please, I'd like to see more of your setup. I was about to order a soaker hose setup from Gardener's Supply Company. You cut them up in pieces and attach them to your hose, so they only drip where you want them too, much like your system but probably much more $$.
Your system sounds like something very do-able for me, at a greatly reduced cost. I can work with PVC, just need to see how to connect everything. I would greatly appreciate it if you could snap a few pics of the strategic connection points, so I can see how you to put it all together.
Right now, I have two 4x8' raised beds, side x side, with a 2 ft. walkway between them. Over time, I will be adding beds, so there will be a total of 7 growing areas before it's all over. I'd like to start with a system I can add on to as the other 5 RBs are built. My hose bib is approximately 12-15 feet from the two RBs.
Okay. Earlier this thread I gave some links for T-Tape.
This is our 27th year of market gardening. We still have found no better way to irrigate, probably because we didn't have to try anything else.
One picture shows it on tomatoes. The other on our container strawberries.
The manifold setup on the berries costs very little. Just went to local Menards,(Home improvement store), & bought it right out of plumbing supply. Less than $5 a row. It is ½" CPVC pipe & fittings.
We copied the one that Gardeners Supply sells-they call it "Snip and Drip". I bought 50" of 1/2" soaker hose (2 sections of 25' each) from Sam's Club for $12.95 and we used an old garden hose for the in-between sections. The 1/2" connections were the only problem, HD and Lowe's didn't have them, we found them at a hardware store. My husband is not a DIYer, but he got it done! We have a 10 x 10 flower garden, a couple of tomatoes in the ground in another section, 3 raised bed vegetable gardens, and 2 potato bags which I've already harvested. This system waters the whole thing easily with no wasted water on the ground! We just leave it in place and in about 30 minutes we've watered everything! It took a while to set it up, but it's worth it! If my hubbie can do it, just about anyone can!
OK, pictures. I don't know what's going on with the USB cable that came with my camera, but the solution was an $8 memory card USB adapter from WalMart.
I laid out this soaker hose system 6 or 7 years ago and it's getting old. Some small repairs are needed every year, and some parts need replacing - but it still works fine and it's a big help to me.
The first picture shows where the garden hose from our well faucet attaches to the PVC grid. It's just a female hose swivel fitting going to 3/4" PVC pipe. Visible in the picture is the "Y" fitting I've always had between the hose and the PVC. I need to replace that because the little plastic valve handles broke off in the heat this summer. The "Y" is there so I can run boiling-hot water from the hose in the sunshine out on the ground, then close the "Y" and direct water to the soaker hoses once it runs cool.
The second picture shows the 3/4" PVC pipe with faucets, and several runs of garden hose/soaker hose attached. This is the east end of my garden where I've harvested potatoes, beets, turnips, and cabbages this year and now it's growing a late planting of sweet corn. This spring I laid out eight rows of those early veggies 36" apart, and after harvesting them I pulled the hoses aside and fertilized and tilled the ground. Then I put the same soaker hoses back in place and planted corn. I'm in the process of weeding and thinning the corn rows and I'll mulch the whole area heavily with grass clippings when that's done. You can see the hoses and soaker hoses now because the mulch isn't covering them yet.
The third picture shows how 1/2" soaker hose fits inside the cut pieces of an old garden hose that I use to span pathways. These are secured by small metal hose clamps from Lowe's.
The last picture shows a soaker hose in place beside one row of corn. This hose and the pathways will be covered by mulch, and I usually water two or three rows with each soaker hose run. My garden layout is different every year, so every time I plant I'm out there with a pocket knife and a screwdriver making the soaker hose runs fit what I'm planting.
Now, questions regarding pic #2 with the PVC line:
►You purchase the faucets separately, and attach as many as you need to that main run of PVC with "T" connectors, yes?
►Are your connections glued together? Do they need to be glued?
Gymgirl - Yes, the metal faucets are threaded and they screw into PVC tees. The tees are smooth for gluing and 3/4" on each end, while the part the faucets screw into are 1/2" and threaded.
Yes, all the connections are cemented together with PVC cement. You see how "curvy" the PVC line is in picture #2 - that pipe is straight in cold weather. Temperature changes cause a lot of flex in the PVC lines, and I have a few leaks to re-glue every spring. Ideally, I guess I should replace all the PVC pipe with threaded metal pipes, but that would be real expensive. Every fall I'm careful to leave ALL the faucets open and of course the water hose is disconnected and put away in the barn then. I don't want ice to break these lines.
The PVC is all 3/4" diameter, the thick supply-line stuff. The faucets are 1/2" and threaded. Hope this helps.
Hey, not relevant to gardening but my long-time fishing and hunting partner passed away this morning after a long illness and I wanted folks to know. He was a good guy - R.I.P. Max!
"Question: If I go to Lowe's and ask for a faucet that will screw into PVC tees will they know what I mean?"
Yep. Or just walk around the aisles in the plumbing section until you find things that fit together. There are several kinds of 3/4" T-couplings, and I used the ones that have smooth 3/4" glued joints on each end and a threaded 1/2" "Tee" in the middle for the faucets to screw into. There are 2 or 3 ways to accomplish the same thing, though, and they'd all work equally well.
Ozark - when you say "glued joints" I assume they do not already have glue on them. I'll also need the awful smelly stuff and purple stuff to join things together. Right? It would be nice to know what they are called, please.
Sorry, but I'm completely ignorant when it comes to "man stuff". My hubby doesn't get around as well as he used to, so I'm having to do most of what he used to do.
Fortunately we own a SawzAll and a vice, so I'll be able to cut the PVC.
Gymgirl - if I knew what I was looking for, or more precisely, what the items were called, I could: "Boldly go where no Woman has gone before" in any hardware store. LOL
"I'll also need the awful smelly stuff and purple stuff to join things together. Right? It would be nice to know what they are called, please."
PVC primer and PVC cement. They'll be near the plastic pipe and fittings in the plumbing section of any hardware store. Get the smallest containers of both - a little goes a long ways so you won't run out while building your PVC grid, and the stuff always dries up in the can before you'll need it again.
The difference overhead watering and rain watering may have something to do with how the plant reacts to the nitrogen carried down in the rainwater. Notice how much greener and faster growing your grass is right after the rain? Almost immediately, because of how fast the grass takes up the nutrients. It doesn't do this with plain watering.
In that case, the water simply sits on the leaves allowing for all sort of fungaluglies to develop on the plant. Which is why, if you have to overhead water, it should be done in the early morning before the sun, so the plant has enough time to dry itself out before the humidity rises, or the sun scorches it.
Something along these lines...but, I'm sure what I've missed or confused will get straightened out by the Ubers!
If you have a limited supply of water or are paying the city for it, why spray it into the air ? A good amount will evaporate before it hits the ground.
In our T-Tape operation, a strip only a few inches wide is open to evaporation. The water gets right to the roots.
We are getting fantastic yields this summer in the middle of a drought. Not using a lot of water either.
Here's some close ups of our T-Tape system. We use the PVC where it will be permanent like the strawberry beds.
The blue lay-flat is used in the fields.
All the lay-flat components are available from the T-Tape supplier. Run from 64¢ to $2 each. There is a tool to punch holes in the blue lay-flat hose.
We made up the valve & connection to garden hose. It is a simple snap coupler.
dervish2 - frequent over head watering encourages fungus growth on plants. Watering over head occasionally is fine. However, as CountryGardens pointed out, a lot of that water will be lost to evaporation.
I attach a wand sprayer to the end of my hoses to make watering at ground level easier. I think I paid about $11.00 each for them at W-Mart.
No research. 25 years ago just ordered & away we went.
It is so cheap, why wouldn't one do it this way.
The lay-flat we've had since the beginning.
The T-Tape is $192.00 for 10,000 ft.
Pretty cheap when figuring how much we water.
The T-Tape is put under the plastic mulch first thing in the spring. Our machine does both at the same time.
Bee, thanks for pointing me in the direction of this thread.
We are considering t-tape as well. We have a smaller/large garden 250' x 100" and need at least 2,500 linear feet. T-tape prices out at .18 cents per linear foot. That includes filter, main lines, couplers, line punch, connectors, end caps, etc. Everything to get the system running...This estimate does NOT include electronic valve or timer (I won't be using those). The entire system for our largish garden comes in at roughly 450.00.
A soaker hose, 50.00 for 250' is .20 cents per linear foot NOT including any other couplings, pvc, end caps, glue or accessories. I'm a thrifty soul and could probably find one cheaper at the end of the season tho.
Which is a better choice will probably depend on size of beds, since t-tape looks to be sold in minimum of 100' linear feet.
It's definitely worth pricing each out on paper first to see which works for you.
My raised beds are 24ft long, so I'm going to experiment with 25ft soaker hoses. I can easily extend the beds to fit the length of hose. I want to be able to water each bed independently, which is why I like Ozark's system. Each row can have a shut-off.
You can have a shut off on each t-tape, or mainline too, just incase anyone is wondering :0) All the pieces are no more complicated then a lego set (can you tell I live with boys.lol)
I forgot, if anyone want to research t-tape. A good starting point is the dripworks gallery. http://www.dripworks.com/category/cat_gop
From there it's easy to mentally switch out components and price individual pieces.
Very interesting thread. As I read Ozark's description, I had to stop and check who was writing, thinking I'd see my dad's name up[ there, but, knowing full well, that my dad, who designed a system almost identical to Ozark does not touch the computer or nor can he type. Dang, he can't even see -- almost blind. Honestly, I thought I was reading my dad's setup. It was a real treat to use it this year as I have moved in with him and taken over most of the gardening, with him at my heel's directing me -- almost too much!
I may need to take the advice I noticed at the beginning of this thread concerning CLR, as this year we are using well water and hoses are clogging up too much. I finally just attached hoses directly from the main faucet to get the pressure needed to unplug some soaker hoses. I've replaced hoses and repaired hoses and cussed hoses. Such fun.
Ozark -- how long is your PVC pipe. Maybe ours is too long to get the pressure at the end of the line. And how many to you run at a time? Then again, maybe our soaker hoses are too old and plugged up. I really can't imagine taking the time to soak 16+ rows of 25' soaker hoses to clean. And I know I'm not going to actually scrub them.
Again thanks for the article -- Ozark, you must think like my dad. Gotta be a good man!
Now I'm contemplating a fall garden. Glutton for punishment!
Soaker hoses sound like a lot of work. Not as simple as our T-Tape system.
T-Tape only takes 4 lbs of pressure. Will drip the same amount at the end of a 300 foot run as it does at the beginning.
Just to add a little something-----
The major issue with sprinklers is that there are some plants that are prone to fungus infection when the leaves are continually wet. I don't know if anyone has brought that up yet. Tomatoes and cucumbers come to mind as likely problems. Lettuce, beans, and peppers don't seem to care much. I'm surprised to hear that soaker hoses are so much of a problem.
You guys are dwelling on water overhead increasing fungaluglies, burns the leaves, etc. There is one very important reason you don't want to water from above- the flowers are your fruit- if you spray the flowers you will get no fruits. Water from above pulls the roots to the top of the ground and the plant falls over, bloop. Deep occasional water pulls the roots into the ground and makes a stronger plant. Old time gardens were labor intensive, you spent a LOT of time and backbreaking work there.
I guess leaf fungus could be an issue for annuals, but where I live, anything perennial had BETTER be able to cope with 8 months of drizzle. Moss grows on roofs and driveways, and I always wondered why we didn't have furry fungus on everything that stands srtill for 10 minutes. But we don't.
I know that "everyone" says that spray-watering from above is the kiss of death, but I've never done anything else and haven't seen problems I couldn't blame on my usual issues:
planted at the worng time
I even water at dusk and don't see fungus, and at noon and don't see burn spots. Beginner's luck?
I may just be lucky that summer is usually low-humidity here, or I'm only trying to grow easy things.
Or, I water by hand with a "shower" setting, not with a sprinkler running for hours.
And I would NOT urge anyone to listen to my opinion over that of anyone with lots of experience.
I think I'm doing pretty well if "they didn't all die this year!"
Also, there is a big irrigation market for sprayers and sprinklers. When that many people buy something, some of them must know what they're doing. Maybe professional growers know what is safe to spray & sprinkle, and what they have to drip or soak.
Rick, you're doing fine as you are. As someone above mentioned "rain comes from overhead". As for me I don't do overhead watering due to its evaporation loss and the fact it tends to water between the rows, into the pathways, and I feel it is simply a waste of water whether that water comes from a limited well source or from the city/county water system.
As for the "water on leaves burns plants" theory, that has been dis-proven years ago. Unlike holding a magnifying glass in one place trying to ignite leaves or paper, etc, the sun continuously moves and won't build up the dedicated heat of ignition.
Regarding mildews and fungus, your area is not known for high humidity so you may seldom see this problem. In the South, where humidity is nearly a constant, even at night, many plants will easily host mildew. The only veggies I know that are most highly susceptible will be some of the Cucurbitacea. Fortunately, on the rare occasion it happens, planting with good air circulation (e.g., wider spacing allowing air flow) for those plants is of great benefit. And of course there are always milk sprays, fungicides, etc should someone want to invest $$ down that avenue.
"There is one very important reason you don't want to water from above- the flowers are your fruit- if you spray the flowers you will get no fruits. Water from above pulls the roots to the top of the ground and the plant falls over, bloop. Deep occasional water pulls the roots into the ground and makes a stronger plant"
I sure agree with that last part ('deep watering pulls roots into the ground'). Deep watering will encourage roots to seek out moisture; the deeper the moisture the deeper the roots will grow. Long watering times, especially in the beginning, will sure stave off plant drought later in the season by having those roots down deep where there is less evaporation. Those who water shallowly will encourage the plant to NOT have to seek water deep down and those roots stay too close to the evaporation zone. (This is for in-ground growing; containers are another topic all together.)
However, the "if you spray the flowers you will get no fruits" part is not necessarily a given. Plants have had flowers rained on since the beginning of time and will still begat fruit. Consider a rain forest; if that statement were true we'd probably have none. Fortunately flowers tend to nod, inhibiting rain/water from entering as they are hit by raindrops/irrigation, saving their pollen from catastrophe. Many plants, especially self-pollinizing vegetables (tomatoes, beans, lettuce, etc) have begatted their offspring before the flowers even open. Pretty smart of Ma Nature, eh? :>)
Happy Gardening, All.
Shoe (who just realized he's getting a bit too long-winded again. Sorry.)
No Shoe, you are doin good, just came from Mt Olive, NC- lots of beans, cotton, corn and tobacco fields, we get gully washers in Tx- only seen those in NC when chasing a hurricane back off the NC coasts- and
Agreed to the most plants set fruit before flower, but I have seen some folks water so heavy they wash the blooms off, love you untangling my thinks!
The main thing I remember about North Carolina is driving through Winston-Salem years ago and the WHOLE TOWN smelled of tobacco. That was a good thing in my opinion because I'm a nicotine addict (no longer practicing, dang it).
Shoe, how did the Stewart's Zeebest okra do for you? That's about the only thing I've still got going in this unending heat, and production has been cut in half lately on even that. 106 degrees here yesterday.
Yep, W-Salem often smelled like tobacco. And when I first came to the Durham area those factories were still operating and it, too, smelled like tobacco everywhere.
Course now, when kittriana mentions Bakery smells it reminds me of Krispy Kreme donuts, their home town is Winston-Salem. Yummy!
Ozark, I love the Zeebest! I planted things out later than normal but have been picking for several weeks now. It's a keeper. I've even picked "longer than average" pods and many of them are very nice and tender. I'll be pickling some soon! I'm grateful to you for sharing it with me.
Shoe (off to pick pole beans; okra will hold til tomorrow when I have propane for my canning stove).
>> Regarding mildews and fungus, your area is not known for high humidity
I never understand how we can have constant clouds and frequent drizzle, but low humidity. And yet it is so.
A prior owner put some roses under trees, in the shade, asurrounded aby breeze-blocking huge bushes. I don't know if it is fungus or not, but those have "black, dead leaves syndrome" all the ti8me. Nothuing else seems to have leaf diseases, not even peas. (Maybe snow peas are rust-resistent?)
One reason I am making a drip system (with maybe some sprinklers for large areas under trees and around bushes)) is to apply UNIFORM water to some tomatoes in pots. And 2-3 in the ground. And keep the soil surface from turning into dust-dry dust where it isn't mulched, when I don;t have time to water for two days.
Wash state- at least along the coast - has a lot of air circulation, and you guys have soil that drains! If we in Houston got that rain every day it would be a foot deeper on the roads, in the sloughs, ditches, and just sitting on the wet sand, that helps our 90* days of 90%humidity just generate fungus! Our air flow bumps into a rise of elevation 100m north and either dies there, or heads for the Ohio valley. Flat sand in a bubble.
Not where I live! Of course, I have no idea what soil was there before the bulldozers scraped away everything they could.
When I dig a hole below grade, and it rains or I water, that water stays there until it evaporates. I grow only in raised beds on slopes, or with trenches cut to a lower point.
I always thought my clay NEEDED a big pick, swung as hard as I could, from far over my head, just to chip it. Then someone explained that you have to MOISTEN the clay, so it's like pudding instead of bricks. Duhh!
Well, that is how it's done ESP with caliche, cement when dry- quicksand when wet, we do have that as well, gonna have to look up where Everett is, tho I suspect Ive been close- you guys have all those crystal clear bottomless lakes in that area, dont you? That is Blackspot on the roses I'd bet, ummm! Marysville, yup- you guys have those hard on my lactose intolerance 'crispitos' that are such good fingerfood. It's peaceful up there, and there are awesome nurseries all over everywhere!
It is peacefull. The people are so polite, that when I moved from New Jersey, at first I wondered what they were all ON. Too wierd. But it turned out that they were just polite and considerate.
>> That is Blackspot on the roses I'd bet,
That must be why the nursery guy called roses "blackspot on a stick".
>> guys have all those crystal clear bottomless lakes in that area, dont you?
Hmm, I haven't dived in, but there are some pretty blue ones. Summers barely get above 70, so there isn't much motivation to swim too cool off. Instead we stand around pointing at the sky, marveling at the big round bright thing that we haven't seen in 8-9 months.
The beer and coffee are unuqaled, but I don't know "crispitos".
>> awesome nurseries
It is "The Evergreen State" despite the efforts of the logging industry to clear-cut anything they could reach. I was impressed by the VARIETY of evergreens here. back east, I think everything was clear-cut and re-planted with "crop trees" severalk times over the last few hundred years. No variety.
Out here, every single tree seems to have its own peculiar growth habit. I borrowed some "tree identification guide" from a library, and the PNW had 10-20 times as many pages as New England.
Crispy toes are found as breakfast food with bean burritos and hot dogs in the hot deli fried food gas/diesel stops, Houston has meat pies and boudain balls along with the eggrolls and fried chicken tenders, my gut is grumbling remembering the things I've asked it to eat, chuckl, shudder, fried food. If the land where you lived was softer you would be sittin in deeper water, I love the Evergreens there, but always considered Seattle area to be Washington DC with rain, and hills, but you are flatter north of the Seattle area. If you came from Jersey it was definitely a major shock being dropped there, but so much more sweeter...
I hate DC, I always want to slap folks when my knee isn't buckling from the bumper driving, NJ where I drive the cops do more screaming and yelling and fist shaking than anyone else, I DO laugh when San Francisco says it's raining hard and all I see is a little mizzlin rain, but I've run snow and ice and it's short sleeved weather- til you hit those areas where our Norwegians, Swedes and Russians settled- -4* is nice sleeping weather, but don't wash your truck or you'll lock yourself in- or out- of the place, hehehe, thunder showers in the fall(not spring) which is lightning and thunder in a snowfall for those folks who think Santa comes in a flat bottom boat, sigh, it's way too hot in Atlanta tonite
>> I DO laugh when San Francisco says it's raining hard and all I see is a little mizzlin rain,
I visited san Diego once, and there was something between a mist and a light drizzle. Parents put their kids in to big plastic bags, and one store clerk annouced that HE was going to run accross the STREET in the RAIN and would get things for people (since he was such a Manly Man.)
I thoguht they were like the cast in a bad science fiction movie where radioactive rain turned people into giant murdering ants if a raindrop touched their skin.
>> NJ where I drive the cops do more screaming and yelling and fist shaking than anyone else
Some NJ cops are OK, but Clifton had thugs-with-guns.
i found a nice solution for my soaker hose dry spots. i bought an inline siphon and will occasionally remove the hoses away from the plants, connect the siphon and insert the feeder line into a gallon of strong white vinegar - this has resulted in a complete renewal of the hose itself and will refurbish it for a very long time.
I never liked soaker hoses - there was always dry spots, they were ugly and hard to cover, and they eventually rotted. A few years ago I installed a DIY drip irrigation system and I just love it. It's totally customized for my needs and waters my ground level flower beds in the front yard, my hanging baskets, my planters sitting on the ground and on stands on my porch, and it runs in the back and waters some individual bushes and trees and then keeps on going and waters my raised vege beds. It's a filtered, pressurized system and all of it runs off of one faucet. I use all sorts of drippers, mini sprayers and drip tape/tubing depending on what area I'm watering. It's seriously one of the best things I've ever done for myself cause dragging the darn hose all over the yard was making me nuts and half the time I was too tired after work to do it. One of these days I'll try to remember to take pics of the different zones and different types of watering devices I use run on it.
ladysoth, I'm like you. I've installed drip irrigation in all my raised beds. Because I have beds in 2 different areas, I've installed 2 separate systems, plus another one for the earthboxes. Each has a timer. There are off/on valves for each bed in case one bed is empty or doesn't need watering. In the veggie beds, I used drip lines that have emitters every 6". In the flower beds in front of the house, I use a combination of both drip lines & individual emitters. The larger perennials get several emitters, while banks of annual flowers get drip lines.
I use a Tee with one male hose thread, plus a "2-valve Y with hose threads" to splice an extra spigot onto my mainline.
Once you've laid out the mainline, each extra spigot only costs $3-$4.
For example, if you want an ON-OFF valve for some zon e, you can have that PLUS a hose spigot for about the price of the ON-OFF valve.
I cut up the cheap, long garden hose that I used to drag into three short lengths that I just leave exactly where I want them. They're always handy for spot-watering or chasing squirrels away.
Linda, I think they would fit, but since I've never used DripWorks, I can't be sure. If regular 1/2" fitting work with your system, these should also. Check on DripWorks for the same type of shut-off valve.
Joann I use the Drip Store as well :) I have the on/off valves on my vege beds but no where else as my other beds are full of perennials and will always have stuff in them. Last year was the first year I used the 6 inch drip line (in the raised vege beds) - I'm not real fond of it because it's not as flexible as I'd like. I use alot of the mini sprinklers in my perennial beds and I have some of them mounted on my 4 foot fence cause I like some overhead watering on them on weekend mornings.
The guy must have been selling drip lines.
All your pictures & things look like a lot of it will go wrong kind of stuff.
T-Tape takes only minutes to hook up & very little plumbing.
I had a round flower bed with T-Tape on it that lasted 3 years. Took about 2 hours to thoroughly water it.
All I did was start on the outside, go around, then move in about 8" & go around again & so on. Just a big spiral when done. Only one hook up to the hose.
Jo-Ann I think the drip tape is flatter and designed to run down straight rows. It also doesn't come in the 6" spacing like the micro dripline does (at least not at The Drip Store). The drip line works well for me, just looks kinda funny in my setup as I have the main line running along the top edge of a board that divides my raised bed in half, and then I have the drip line coming off from there. It kind of looks like tenacles, altho once the plants fill out they pretty much cover it up - see the pic below. Looks silly in the winter tho. But I find the drip line very useful for some of my flower pots on the ground cause I can run it right up thru the hole in the bottom of the pot, which I wouldn't be able to do with the drip tape.
CountryGardens - The guy that recommended it to me was a rep at The Drip Store and they sell every kind of drip irrigation you can think of, not just drip line. He sold me what he felt would work best for my specific needs. Not sure what you mean about my pics since I haven't posted any pics of my drip system until here in this post. In any event, my system waters much more than one bed - I have many zones to water and it all gets done at once with one twist of the faucet and I'm certain it will last longer than 3 years.
These pics were taken early last spring right after I set up the beds and ran the drip system to it.
One thing I learned from a good friend that really works great on tomato plants, peppers, and eggplant is to put a #10 can around each plant. (That is the big one used by restaurants, the Olive Garden throws away a ton of these every day) Cut out both ends, and push them down into the soil a little around each plant. When you water, all you have to do is fill up each can and you know the roots are getting every bit of that water. It's a great way to not waste so much water too. It's also great when you want to fertilize in the middle of the season, just throw the fertilizer in the can and fill when water.
I'm with pinger's Granny and Pappa, there was no money for stuff like Soaker hoses, Drip feeders or irrigation systems, to be honest, IF you have a huge garden, it would cost a fortune to set any of those up to do a proper job and the cost would out weigh any savings for growing your own, IF you have a a medium plot of growing stuff, much the same applies as there would not be enough stuff growing in a medium plot so you would still require shop veg to feed your need, IF you have a small plot, could you justify the outlay or would a nice new hosepipe be better or even buy a couple of watering cans.
I have a large plot, BUT don't use anything other than a hose pipe, reason being, I live on West coast where there is a higher rainfall than other areas, also we don't have the high temps that most of you guy's have and thirdly, I have quite a sandy soil (free draining) so I need to water in summer 2 times a day IF the temp is over 65F /69F, that's a heatwave to us, All plants don't need the same amount of water per day so it's silly to kill some off by over-watering.
By using the hose I miss out some plants and give them water every other day or longer IF required, others need watering morning then early evening, I grow Tomato'e, cucumbers and peppers ect in a large greenhouse where I set up a home made drip system only IF I am away for a weekend but on return, most of the plants are wilting or get a friend to come and water, I had my greenhouse set up with drip water/feed system a while back but to be honest it was a lot of work keeping up the water bottles that needed filling each day and by that time the hose had the job done better and again, the plants were fine.
I would say to all interested parties, can you recoup or justify the cost of your irrigation system with the type you choose, is it just laziness that you want an irrigation system for, is it because your away a lot and cant look after your plants, or is is just because you think your plants will be better off and cost + wasting water is irrelevant, then a new toy will keep you happy for a few months, remember though, these things need care, need cleaning out and pos repairs so take all that into account, personally, unless I had money to pay for all this and some more for the maintenance of this, then water bills that don't matter, then go for it, personally I'd rather buy a nice group of fruit trees or outdoor furniture or lights for my driveway and water my garden with a hose which allows me to look at all the plants as I go, perhaps pull out a few weed at the same time,
Do keep in mind, a lot of this stuff never lives up to the adverts we watch and unless a pro is fitting it then it may take months of fiddling about, BUT on the other hand, their must be many, many people who swear by there home built systems but there are no 2 types of soil the same, no 2 environments the same and no 2 gardeners the same, we just have to select what works for us and be honest when passing on our own experiences,
Take your time to think about it and maybe go see a system already set up,
happy gardening, WeeNel.
I guess, with sandy soil, you can hand-water to a good depth, quickly. In my clay, I would have to keep coming back to a spot many time, every 5-10 minutes, if I wanted to water deeper than 1-2 inches.
Even though I have a small yard, I have 10 (very small) beds. Two are just one square yard each. That took a lot of time, standing around with a hand-sprayer. What actually happened was that I very seldom watered deep enough, and the roots stayed shallow.
With dripline or even small sprayers, you can water gradually and deeply, over the whole yard, with one timer. And not expect anything to die if you go away on vacation.
I'm still in the phase where I'm enjoying fiddling to get an efficient layout, but I expect to use less water to give the plants more even, deeper watering, and free up some hours per week for gardening activities other than standing and spraying.
I wouldn't say I'm lazy, but I do work a full time job and with my commute that means I'm gone from home nearly 10 hours out of the day. Then come home, cook, do household stuff, etc. I sure don't want to spend an hour of the 4-5 hours of "me" time dragging a hose around my yard in 95+ degree weather.
The DIY drip irrigation systems are made out of sturdy pvc and they are not gonna rot or break. Maintenance is minimal - in the fall I unhook it from the faucet, run an air compressor thru it to get the water out so it doesn't freeze, and that's it. Human error can cause some problems, like if you're digging a hole and hit the line with your shovel, but really it's just a matter of being careful. For me it was well worth the minimal time and investment it took to set it up and I love that I can add onto it so easily if I create a new bed or plant a new tree.
We have a fairly complex setup for our garden, involving several zones of permanent feeder hose one of which runs under our brick garden path to the other section of garden, and then outlets for T-tapes at the beginning of each row. But I never feel that the plants are getting enough water that way. We often turn the hose on several rows at a time overnight, but the soil is still never really wet. How do you guys manage with T-tape?
You just need faith in the T tape. The water goes out a couple inches & down into the root zone, instead of just wetting the top layer of soil. It must work. Between June 1 & October 8th we had only 4" of rain, with the biggest 8 tenths of an inch. We had terrific crops watering with T-Tape. Over 2 acres watered.
Yeah, I can see that it's on, and what you're saying is reassuring. We usually bury our tape under mulch but we can see what's happening at the connections to the main trunk. Those nice overhead sprinklers look great but I've been having a lot of trouble with early blight the last couple of years. Still getting decent crops but the plants give up sooner than they used to. So I'd like to go just drip especially for the tomatoes.
>> I've been having a lot of trouble with early blight the last couple of years.
I'm lucky to get away with overhead watering. My only concern would be the Snow Peas, but they look fine until each plant is old an d giving up - THEN all the leaves get sick at once. Nary a spot until then.
Slugs are my nemesis, not mold, blight, rust or fungus.
When I was at Boy Scout camp, one would raid our tents at night. Some kids tried to trap it. It was too smart for them most of the time.
Then some really dedicated kids managed to drop a steel garbage can over him. The racket woke people for miles around. I never found out if he tore his way THROUGH the can, or just managed to fling it away. He sounded like The Hulk or Wolverine.
After that we were content to let him steal our cookies.
Although we're getting off topic here, I have to add that you were wise to avoid the possum. We had one that killed both of our mature geese by jumping on their backs at night and eating through to their vitals. It was a horrible death for our faithful chicken flock guardians. We did manage to catch it, but it took several nights of baiting that trap to do it.
I was limping up the stairs trying to hold a bayonet in one hand, a club in the other, and a flashlight in my teeth. It went through my mind that I certainly LOOKED stupid, and probably WAS being stupid.
Fortunately it left before I could prove to myself and ER nurses just HOW stupid I was.
Back on topic ... I flushed out my backyard watering lines and set some sprayers on stakes where the beds were thirstiest. I just started this system last year and I'm still learning.
I have one 50' length of dripline (emitters every 12") and an old 50 foot soaker hose. And lots of 1/4" fittings and 10/32 thread mini-sprayers.
If I'm going to use both drippers and sprayers, I need one zone with only drippers, that I can run for an hour or two.
I have nine tiny beds, so Tee-tape would be overkill. Even driplines and soaker hoses will only "fit" if I lay them in a zig-zag or serpentine pattern.
We haven't had great luck with soaker hoses. The water supply to our garden is untreated and full of iron and other minerals, and it clogs soaker hoses fairly quickly. The T-tapes work better for us. They are supposed to be replaced every year but we don't always do that, even though you're supposed to. Especially if we've run the tape under mulch it seems to last more than a year. We cut it to size for the length of our rows; some of ours are short, like eight feet, and others are more like twenty or so. And for the tomatoes, since we grow them in tripods, a plant to each pole, we run the tape up one side of the row and back down the other so they get more even moisture.
Here's a plan of our garden, so you can see what I'm talking about:
RickCorey, the guy who advised me when setting up my drip system said that drip LINE should not be used in long lengths, that's it's better to use, say, five 3 ft. lengths running out of the main than to use one 15 ft. length. I forget what the reason was though.
You and he may be right, but I was told that my 50', 1/4" dripline was good for 50'. I would expect pressure drop to be the main reason not to run long lengths, and I don't think my emitters are particularly pressure-correcting (though they are 'turbulent flow'.)
If normal 1/4" lines are good for 40 GPH, that SHOULD support 80 emitters or 80- feet.(1/2 GPH per foot ). But maybe my "1/4" dripline" has many restrictions smaller than the normal ID of 1/4" tubing (0.160 - 0.170 inch ID).
Dripworks claims that their 1/2" (HALF inch) dripline is good for 190 feet to 550 feet, depending on the spacing of the emitters and the GPH of each emitter. But then, 1/2" mainline (0.600 ID) can handle 240 GPH beofre flow gets too turbulent and pressure drops too fast. http://www.dripworks.com/category/half-inch-emitter-tubing
I don't know if there is any advantage to dripline over Tee tape: pros and people with large straight beds seem to lean toward Tee tape. I see it is cheaper, and dripline is much thicker. Tee tape has a range of thicknesses, but "15 mil" or 0.015" is the thickest Tee tape I've seen, and I think it is sold as thin as 6 or 4 mil.
Dripline is designed for 15-50 PSI, so I guess it it probably has wall thickness more like regular mainline wall thickness: 50-55 mil..
>> say, five 3 ft. lengths running out of the main
At that rate, with 12" emitter separation , three emitters = 1.5 GPH per branch, they aren't much more convenient than individual drippers.
But I'll give your suggestion more thought and maybe cut the 50' run into 2-5 pieces and run those off 1/4" Tees. But first I'll have to dedicate them to9 particular beds, because after cutting up the dripline, it will mostly be suitable only for the bed(s) that it "fits". Most of my beds are irregular shapes, and many are very small.
Drip irrigation is absolutely the way to go. Saves water, reduces disease on foliage (give those poor squash plants a break from mildew infestations this year) and doesn't get redirected like spray systems do as plants grow bigger and block water to their neighbors.
And a follow up on the note about using a tin can ring - if you check to make sure you haven't corralled any critters inside the ring, this is also a good way to keep the cutworms from slicing off your seedlings at the soil line. Bonus!
I recently purchased 100 ft of 1/2 in soaker hoses that also came with 25 ft of 1/2 in garden hose for the feedline. Does anybody know where to purchase parts to connect the 1/2 in garden hose to a conventional (3/4 in?) faucet? The kit came with one such connection (it came with multiple connections for attaching the soaker hose to the garden hose, but not the garden hose to the conventional water spout), however I need to cut the hose into four pieces and attach them to a four way diverter. I can't find anything at the Big Box stores to connect to a cut piece of 1/2 in garden hose that will allow me to accomplish this.
>> to connect to a cut piece of 1/2 in garden hose
Are you looking attach a standard hose thread fitting (male or female) to a regular old 1/2" garden hose that you cut in half? Those are just "hose repair fittings". My Home Depot has bins of them. The brass ones come with stainless steel hose clamps and are nice hardware. They also sell cheaper nylon/plastic things, where I worry about the screws stripping the plastic , but I guess they work for most people.