Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Drip system up and running

Here is the brain of the drip irrigation system up and functional. Perhaps not pretty yet, still needs to be mounted safely to something... but its working! And just in time. The 1/3 inch of rain yesterday is already dried up in the dry winds today. From the surface you cant even tell it rained!

I chose a Galcon timer/ controller with DC valves. This is a 6 station timer that is quite unique... each valve can be programmed independently! not often you find that in timers. Most have set programs that you put valves into or not. This one lets you set a program PER VALVE independently. Very Nice! Plus it is fully battery powered, great for the back of the pasture.

The setup is simple... a 3/4 inch garden hose feeds the system. This first goes through a Y to allow for a pressure gauge, then a typical mesh filter.  The filter then connects to a 6 outlet 1" manifold.  Why 1 inch?  well.. because thats all that was in stock :)

The valves connect to the manifold, which i highly recommend. CUsing a manifold makes removing valves for any reason a simple matter, and they aren't that much more expensive than a custom built PVC connection point. 

After the valve is an adapter back to hose threads for each valve, and a 5/8 inch hose going to the section to water. each section is sized to take about the same amount of water to drive it, meaning a similar total drip tape footage.  At the end of the hose is a pressure reducer to make sure nothing gets more than 10psi, a valve for local control, and a 3/4 feed pipe where the drip tapes are connected.

For now.. nothing is glued... I am hoping this will hold. IT is low pressure all the way through, and PVC is reasonably tight.  Not glueing allows for multi year use of the feed pipes with changing configurations. IF they tend to pull apart in use, I will be forced to glue, but hopefully it will work. 

That's it! pretty simple. 

The manifold and controller setup

here is what it looks like at the drip tape end. You can just see the first tape connected at the top of the picture
At first, right after planting up until the plants have reasonable roots, the water runs 2 to 3 times a day for an hour or so. This keeps the ground wet enough to germinate in the tracks from the planter.  As the ground saturates, we turn that down and once the plants have roots it will be cut back to an hour every 2 to 3 days.  The efficiency off drip tape is amazing!

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