Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Drip Irrigation / Sprouting System - The water delivery system

We have "perfected" our version of a drip irrigation system this year. As you may have seen through the blog posts, we have spent 3 years developing this system, and finally have a complete system we are happy with! We are considering manufacturing these for retail sale for home gardeners and small farms.

What is so special about this system?

  • It is easy to setup  for use, and easy to break down to store
  • It provides a complete system, start to finish.
  • It supports sprouting as well as growing
  • It is easily adaptable to your garden area
  • It is easily changeable year to year
  • It provides up to 6 zones of independent water control
  • It supports full flow to each zone for maximum coverage ability
  • It allows for wide or narrow spacing of lines (rows)  and intermix sizes if desired
  • It is inexpensive!

Here are the components, each explained

Feeder Piece
This is the feed for a zone, or section.  at the far right is a hose connection, for a regular water hose to connect from the automated valve to the zone.  Next is a ball valve, which allows full flow when open but provides a quick easy way to turn off the zone when necessary.  Next comes a pressure reducer. It is important to keep drip lines at a constant pressure, but to run zones far away from the control valve, you want hte valve to work on full pressure. So we put the pressure reducer at the zone inlet, after the valve. This provides much better flow than having a pressure reducer at the source.  It ends at a right angle, which allows for proepr row spacing between zones, and  a nipple to connect to the header pipe. 

Header Pipe
This is the basic feeder pipe. You connect as many as these as necessary by simply screwing them together, to create the length of header pipe required.  You disconnect at the end of hte season for easy compact storage. Each header pipe is the length of a narrow row, providing 2 feet of space between them. The T at the right end has a connector to securely tie into the drip tape. One end of the header pipe is a female 3/4 inch and the other is a male 3/4 inch.  The threads are covered with thick teflon tape to make them not stick when the threads are together for the season. 
 A Completed Zone
Here is the compelte zone of 8 lines. on the far right is the feeder section, then 8 header pipes screwed together, and a simple 3/4 inch end cap to finish it.  The 3/4 inch pipe provides plenty of flow to drive long lines (we use lines about 100 yards long) and yet the whole assembly can be quickly dismantled for compact storage. IT can be changed into any length required by adding or removing header pipes.  Sicne this operates at low pressure (10psi) it doesnt leak even with the pipes barely screwed together (the teflon tapes helps here too)
 The Extension Pipe
This is an extension pipe. It is simply a 3/4 inch pipe with a male connector on one end and female on the other. You use this when you want extra row spacing for those viney things like watermelon or pumpkins.  You can easily have some rows close spacing, and others wide spacing, within the same section. This is a mix and match system to create whatever you need.  Pretaping the male end with teflon makes assembly and dis-assembly easy.

The end result is a quick easy system to arrange to fit your space,  high flow, good pressure across long hoses from the control valves, easy secure connections to the drip tapes, preset spacing that is adjustable easily, and easy disassembly at the end of the season for storage.

We normally use 8 to 12 lines per zone, the number depending on the length of the lines and available water flow. The control valve (covered in a later blog post) provides precise control of up to 6 zones from a central spot, plus fertilizer application, water filter, and water hammer protection. It all runs on battery and is fed by a single 3/4 water hose from your water source.  Each zone can be programmed for independent watering, and up to 2 zones can run at one time. more details on this coming later when we get pictures of this years setup.

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