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Author: Subject: HOW TO (DRIP or SPRINKLER) IRRIGATE your Baja garden
David K
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eureka.gif posted on 6-13-2008 at 07:52 PM
HOW TO (DRIP or SPRINKLER) IRRIGATE your Baja garden


First discussed in the Baja Gardens thread, along with other subjects... I thought it might be easier to have a thread on irrigation all by itself...

Here is what I have posted already, and I will be adding more details or happily answering your questions!;D:yes:


A drip system is very simple and inexpensive.

With the correct parts and equipment available, it will not clog and give you years of low water use, inexpensive service. What's even more important, plants grow better when watered with drip as their roots, not the leaves get all the water... and it comes at regular intervals, not sporadically from hand watering.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Here is the info needed to put together a parts list:

Water source: hose bib, PVC pipe (size), or ? from a city water system or a pila... How much pressure (PSI)?... If a pila, the elevation difference (feet)from the bottom of the tank to the garden.

Operation: 110v available (inside or outside)? Otherwise, battery powered controller and valve(s).

Plantings: Shrubs, trees, ground cover, planter, garden? How far from the valve location. How many... or if a planter, ground cover or vegetable garden, how long and wide is the planting area?

That's the basics... next is the type of system to use.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Each plant would get 1-3 emitters (depending on the size of the plant). A tree would get 3-6 or more emitters... evenly spaced around the tree, near it's drip line (below the edge of the leaf canopy, on the ground).

The emitters should be turbulent flow and pressure compensating... like the Agrifim PC+ or Netafim WPC or equivalent. Use 2 GPH for most applications... 1 GPH on the smallest shrubs... 1/2 GPH only on pots.

For planter beds, vegetable gardens, ground cover, and even around trees use emitterline (dripperline)... a 1/2" hose (brown in color) with a 1/2 GPH emitter inside the hose, every 12 inches... It works like a soaker line, but provides even water flow throughout the recommended maximum run (about 300 feet)... Typical soaker hoses flow less water the further awy you get from the source, so plants don't grow evenly. Netafim Techline CV is what I use, but other companies, like Agrifim and Toro Ag and Rain Bird also have Pressure Compensating emitterline.

Be aware that the emitterline hose size and the plain poly hose size may not be the same and have their own fittings available. You may need to make an adapter up to go from the black poly hose to the brown emitterline.

There also is a 1/4" brown emitterline (1/2 GPH) emitter pre-installed in the tube, every 12"... this is fine for shorter runs (up to 30 feet) and can be attached to the 1/2" black poly with a 1/4" barb connector (coupling) inserted into a hole you punch into the poly hose. The end of the 1/4" soaker tube is closed off with a 1/4" tube plug, also called a 'goof plug'.

Avoid micro sprays, foggers, and running 1/4" tube to remote drip emitters to have the least amount of problems later.

Micro sprays clog and break easily, foggers are nice for misting hanging plants, but will clog as they require a tiny hole to make the fine mist. 1/4" tubes can get raked up by gardeners then cut... 1/2" hose with the emitters directly attched (or emitterline) is heavier and are less likely to wander away from what they are supposed to irrigate. Staking down the hose will insure it stays put, as well.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

PVC (sch. 40) can be used to go from the valve to where the plantings begin... then convert to poly or emitterline. However, the distances at the beach house are not so great... So, to protect from dogs or coyotes, BURY the lines and stake them down ever 5-10'.

The good emitters and emitterline (Techline CV) has check valves built in so dirty water will not siphon back into the lines after the system is turned off. Use an anti-siphon control valve at the start and be sure it is 1 ft. above ground level... have a box to put over the valve to keep the sun and dogs off of it.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Okay amigos, that is what has been posted already... Now for personalized details or any questions! Lawn slope or ground cover sprinklers can also be discussed.

I will try and post some product photos and links to help you to visualize the parts and equipment.

The control valve... pictured is an automatic anti-siphon valve. Operated manually or 24 volts (from an irrigation controller, off 110v)... install above ground, at the highest point in the system best:



For areas that have no electricity:


Model 510.011

One station battery operated controller with solenoid and actuator for 3/4" and 1" manual anti-siphon valves

Applications:
Converts 3/4" and 1" brass or plastic manual anti-siphon and angle valves to automatic operation

Controller features:

Four button with an integrated liquid crystal display (LCD)
Easy to read AM/PM clock
Four start times per day
Watering durations in 1 minute increments, from 1 minute to 12 hours
7 day programming schedule or intervals from 1 to 30 days
Powered by two 9 volt alkaline batteries
Manual irrigation cycle via the controller
Withstands harsh climatic conditions
Completely waterproof
Rain delay up to 30 days
Internal manual bleed
Manual shut-off
Flow control Irrigation suspension override (rain-mode)
Digital display, blinking low battery indicator
Automatic, semi-automatic and manual operation
24" solenoid wire with water proof connection to the controller
Program stored up to 20 seconds during battery change
Contains all parts required for conversion on most 3/4" and 1" brass or plastic manual anti-siphon valves
Specifications:

Dimensions: 6" W x 3-7/8" D x 7-3/4" H (15.6 cm W x 9.6 cm D x 20 cm H) (valve not included )
Operating pressure: 25 to 125 psi (1.75 to 8.5 kg/cm2)
Manual flow control can adjust to 0 flow
Dry latching solenoid
Power source: 18 volt DC (two 9 volt alkaline batteries)
Power draw: .2 amps per cycle
Temperature range: 38 to 130 degrees F (3-54 degrees C)

*Personal note: The batteries can last up to 2 years... best to replace once a year.

While using an anti siphon valve is recommended to protect residential water from possible contamination, some areas do not need an anti siphon valve. Here is the DIG battery controller with an in-line battery powered valve (3/4" to 2" valves available):

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The filter (150 mesh screen) and regulator (25 psi) for most any drip system... usually connects to the outlet side of the control valve... or in a PVC line anywhere before converting to poly tube or emitterline:



Here is the plain black 1/2" poly tube that emitters are inserted into for shrubs or trees:



Here is a pressure compenstaing emitter (green= 2 gph). The green end is inserted into the black poly hose and water comes out the balck end. 1/4" black tube can be attached to the black barb end to port the drip point up to several feet away from the emitter, if necessary. This is actually about the diameter of a nickel.



For heavily planted areas, planter beds, vegetable gardens, around trees, use emitterline... one line for every 2' of planter width... one per row of vegetables... one loop or ring around the tree near the canopy edge, not near the trunk.

Here is the 1/2" Netafim emitterline, known as 'Techline' with pressure compensating emitters (5-50 psi) every 12 inches, inside the tube.



Here is a roll of the 1/4" emitterline... available in 6" spacing or 12" spacing (recommended)... for shorter runs (12" up to 33' long runs). This connects to the black poly hose or the Techline (between the built in emitters) with a 1/4" barb coupling/ connector.



There are tons of drip products and equipment out there... I try to keep it down to a simple list of a few products that can be used for most irrigation needs. Note... I say 1/2" only for approx. scale... the brown and black lines are not the same exact size and use different fittings.




[Edited on 6-20-2008 by David K]




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[*] posted on 6-13-2008 at 07:59 PM


David good info. Is that an actual filter or a flushable line strainer? Don't forget to mention the tools needed to make a leak-proof system.



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[*] posted on 6-13-2008 at 08:00 PM


Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!! Count me as one of your "subscribers".
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[*] posted on 6-13-2008 at 11:03 PM


A NOTE OF CAUTION HERE !!

I've seen this many times before where people say the drip system will provide years of clog free service. They assume your water is coming from a municipal water source where all the silts, sand, and rocks have been removed. Not necessarily so in Baja! Alot of water comes from wells as mine does here in back country San Diego. If the source of your water in Baja is from wells and it contains super fine silts I guarentee you it will clog and stop your drip emitters, timers, valves, meters, etc.

If your water source is from a well I suggest you filter it first. I use a whole house water filter from a company called "CUNO". Plumbing suppliers stock them and they are a worldwide company. I've seen them on houses in Baja. The filter element measures about 5" dia. by 10" long. They sell filter elements down to 5 micron particulate size filtration capability which is what I buy. These filters can pass a large volume of water at up to 60 psi. They cost around $100 for the basic filter and you have to plumb the fittings out both sides. Filter cartridges will filter several thousand gallons of water before replacement and cost about $25 ea.

As far as the drip equipment goes most people will be shopping at Home Depots and not commercial landcape supply houses like Hydroscape so some of the high tech drip hoses and equipment may not be available or affordably priced to viewers of this thread. (e.g. some of the supply houses only sell drip hose in min. 500' or 1000' rolls...total overkill for most homeowners.) Something to consider...
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[*] posted on 6-13-2008 at 11:06 PM


My biggest Baja landscaping frustration has been with arranging a drip configuration for groundcovers. I don't have alot of groundcover plants because of water constraints, but they sure are nice to help keep the dust under control .

Trying to make individual drip heads in a pattern that would cover the most area is a pain, especially when we are gone for 4-5 months at a time and aren't there to monitor and correct any problems. I usually come back to either dried and withered little plants because the drip head coverage wasn't like I planned or each drip head is smothered by overgrown weeds and sticker-weilding stuff.

I've also had trouble getting good coverage for things like smaller succulents when they're planted fairly close together. The plants suffer when overwatered, but it's hard to get the right amount of coverage when there are a bunch of individuals planted in close proximity. I think I have way more drip heads at a very low-flow rate than I probably need because i haven't been able to figure out how to water these areas.

It sounds like I need some of the brown tubing with emitters for these areas.

Thank you.







[Edited on 6-14-2008 by oladulce]
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[*] posted on 6-14-2008 at 06:35 AM


Thanks El Faro, the whole reason for my other post about gardens/gardeners in Baja California was to shine a light on what happens when you set up the system, go back north for the summer and assume your gardener/caretaker will love you for doing it. All these little villages get their water from wells, have outages and repairs endlessly and each one is accompanied by more dirt than water in the lines. Even homeowners with the best systems can strain their relationships with employees, friends and neighbors who run out of filters, hose, emitters, money, sources for replacement, extra money and patience. David, maybe you could open a school down here (dual language) for snowbirds with gardens.
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[*] posted on 6-14-2008 at 08:13 AM


Quote:
Originally posted by Sharksbaja
David good info. Is that an actual filter or a flushable line strainer? Don't forget to mention the tools needed to make a leak-proof system.


It is known as a 'wye filter' and all drip companies offer one as part of the recommended equipment. The one pictured above is from DIG Corp. of Vista, Ca. They are made of either ABS or polypropelene plastic, have either a nylon or stainless steel mesh screen, are flush cleanable by either removing them or running water through the capped outlet end of the filter. The filter screen is usually 120-200 mesh with 150 common.

If there is a high chance of bio contamination (water from ponds or lakes) then 'disc' filters are available and cleanable.

See www.netafimusa.com for info on both Techline and disc filters.

Tools for leak proof system:

All pvc or metal threaded male fittings should be wrapped with teflon tape to prevent leaking... (filter, male adapters, pipe nipples/ risers)... I use 6 wraps of teflon tape on all the valve/filter/regulator fittings... wrap the tape clockwise (when looking down on the fitting) over the male threads.

All pvc pipe slip connections are cemented ('glued') with pvc cement... I personally use Christy's Red Hot Blue Glue it works with one application, needs no primer, and works in wet conditions (always try to work with dry pipe, but this brand has worked if that isn't possible). Wipe off excess cement with a rag or paper towel... Make sure that you get the pipe totally bottomed out in the fittings when you 'glue' them together. You can usually pressure up your system in just 10 minutes with this fast acting cement... wait 30 min. or longer if the pressure is really high (over 100 psi).

A pair of channel-lock plyers is used to snug threaded parts together.

A pvc cutter is used to cut the pvc pipe... if you use a saw, be sure to remove the burrs with a rag from the end of the pipe, before gluing.

The same cutter can be used to cut the poly hose or emitterline... a lighter tube cutter or big sissors or knife also works.

A punch tool is used to make a hole in the poly hose to insert emitters or 1/4" connectors (for the 1/4" emitterline).

A 'figure 8' end clamp closes the end of poly hose or 1/2" emitterline runs.

For dirty water conditions, Netafim makes a self-flushing end valve... If you have a grid of parallel lines of Netafim, they can be brought together at the far end and run into one end flush valve.




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[*] posted on 6-14-2008 at 08:25 AM


Quote:
Originally posted by lencho
Quote:
Originally posted by David K
The filter (150 mesh screen) and regulator (25 psi) for most any drip system...

For what it's worth, street line pressure in La Paz rarely (ever?) exceeds 25psi. I suspect it's auto-regulated by the average tinaco elevation. You folks in other towns-- what kind of pressures do you get from the street?

--Larry


Good point! The drip system regulator is required to get your line pressure DOWN to the range the drip products are designed to operate at... IF your pressure is already at the operating range for drip products, then you don't need a regulator.

The PC+ emitters are designed to operate at 10-40 psi.

The Netafim Techline emitterline at 5-50 psi.

The 1/4" emitterline at 10-30 psi (it's non-compensating, so pressure does change its flow)... at 25 psi it flows about the same as the Netafim 0.61 gph Techline.

The grey regulator pictured is a 25 psi model.




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[*] posted on 6-14-2008 at 08:34 AM


i added extra spots for later expansion...

no one here carrys these anti siphon valves...

$12 each at home depot

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[*] posted on 6-14-2008 at 08:36 AM


i had to make my frist "bubblers"

no available...

i chose not to use a drip system because we haul our own water and there is lots of little rocks in it ... sometimes

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[*] posted on 6-14-2008 at 08:38 AM


i went to the states for a couple of days last week and imported a bucket of these for the plants...

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[*] posted on 6-14-2008 at 08:47 AM


If you have a large piece of property with long runs of drip line you may encounter another enemy in your drip irrigation system.

Algae.

Chlorination may kill the algae but residual may also kill / affect your plants and trees being watered. Alternates like ozone and UV work great for such situations and are used in long runs of drip lines irrigating crops in dry regions of the world.

The key to using ozone is transfer into the fluid in a way to achieve maximum dispersion. This is where many installtions have failed and you need to find an inductor that can produce the largest number of the smallest bubbles of O (ozone). That is how you will achieve the greatest amount of exposed surface area of ozone exposure to the water being treated.

I remember working on an installation years ago and we bought the inductors from a company called Mazzei. You might want to check the spelling but it is something similar to that as I recall.

Some people use ozone for their home drinking water or pool and spa as it leaves no after taste or smell.




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[*] posted on 6-14-2008 at 08:51 AM


Quote:
Originally posted by ElFaro
A NOTE OF CAUTION HERE !!

I've seen this many times before where people say the drip system will provide years of clog free service. They assume your water is coming from a municipal water source where all the silts, sand, and rocks have been removed. Not necessarily so in Baja! Alot of water comes from wells as mine does here in back country San Diego. If the source of your water in Baja is from wells and it contains super fine silts I guarentee you it will clog and stop your drip emitters, timers, valves, meters, etc.

If your water source is from a well I suggest you filter it first. I use a whole house water filter from a company called "CUNO". Plumbing suppliers stock them and they are a worldwide company. I've seen them on houses in Baja. The filter element measures about 5" dia. by 10" long. They sell filter elements down to 5 micron particulate size filtration capability which is what I buy. These filters can pass a large volume of water at up to 60 psi. They cost around $100 for the basic filter and you have to plumb the fittings out both sides. Filter cartridges will filter several thousand gallons of water before replacement and cost about $25 ea.

As far as the drip equipment goes most people will be shopping at Home Depots and not commercial landcape supply houses like Hydroscape so some of the high tech drip hoses and equipment may not be available or affordably priced to viewers of this thread. (e.g. some of the supply houses only sell drip hose in min. 500' or 1000' rolls...total overkill for most homeowners.) Something to consider...


1) Yes filtration is important and after the control valve, the first piece of drip equipment... 150 mesh will remove particles big enough to cause issues.

Next, the emitters or emitterline should be turbulent flow... which is a large flow path that makes dozens of turns in direction to remove energy from the water to achieve the desired rate of flow. Particles that get through the filter are not big enough to be a problem... however if one does gety into the hose, the large flow path of a turbulent flow emitter will not be blocked by it. Silts that would normally sludge up laminar flow or laser hole emitter products are not likely to clog in a turbulent flow emitter because each time the water makes a turn in the flow path inside the emitter, the turbulence created keeps silts in suspension.

I am assuming that the Baja home garden will be using the same water people in the house will be using and not brackish water... since that would probably kill most plants.

However, if the water source is pretty bad like in ElFaro's case, a pre-filter for such conditions is wise.

2) I do not recommend you go to home improvement retail stores for these products because you either won't find them there or they will be MORE expensive then if you go to a professional irrigation supply. The photos I posted above come from one such supplier, Ewing Irrigation. They have outlets all over the United States now. In San Diego County, there are Ewing stores in Carlsbad, San Marcos, San Diego, El Cajon and Chula Vista. They do sell to home owners, not just irrigation professionals. The Netafim Techline CV is available in 100' and 250' rolls. The 1/2" poly in 100' and 500' rolls. The 1/4" emitterline (Dura-flo Jr.) in 100' rolls. The emitters and fittings are sold individually or in bag quantities.

Now, if a Ewing or Hydroscape or John Deere or other irrigation supply is not available to you... there are drip suppliers online... Also, you can find some good equipment at the big home supply centers... but shop carefully.

The Rainbird valve I pictured is sold at the big stores but at $25... That usually has people buying the 'retail' line from Rainbird or Toro or ?... valves that are closer to $10... DON'T... they do not last or give the same service as the ASV-100 Rainbird anti siphon valve or 311 Irritrol (formerly Hardie, HydroRain) anti siphon valves.




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[*] posted on 6-14-2008 at 09:04 AM


BajaGringo-
Can you explain this system more. Would the inductor and ozone be used on the fill side (where the water delivery truck fills up our underground concrete cistern) to treat the water being stored in the tank , or on the outflow side(sorry I don't know the proper terminology) of the storage tank?

We've spent a small fortune here.
The Drip Store

This isn't my department so I don't know how their prices compare, but the stuff is usually on our front porch the next day.

[Edited on 6-14-2008 by oladulce]
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[*] posted on 6-14-2008 at 09:07 AM


Quote:
Originally posted by Bob and Susan
i added extra spots for later expansion...

no one here carrys these anti siphon valves...

$12 each at home depot


Please use only BALL VALVES (twist or lever handle) and not gate valves (the round handle) for main line or emergency shut off before the anti siphon valves. A ball valve is only a couple bucks more than a gate valve, but will not fail... and all gate valves will fail... usually the first time you go to shut the valve and try to reopen it... the gate stays in the closed position and the round wheel handles turns and turns, but nothing happens!

If you use bubblers instead of drip emitters for shrubs, then remember... they flow a lot more water and that limits how many shrubs can get irrigated off one valve. The flow of water through 3/4" pvc pipe and valve will be 8-12 GPM (depending on pressure) and each bubbler can flow up to 2 GPM (thats gallons per minute, not per hour as with drip emitters). Now, the bubble can be throttled down to a trickle, but you don't know what that flow is... unless you use compensating bubblers. In either case, you are talking about 10-20 bubblers per valve to not over tax the system and run out of pressure... 20 shrubs tops.

That same 3/4" valve can supply water to 120 large shrubs using drip irrigation (two 2 GPH emitters per shrub = 480 GPH/ 8 GPM) or 240 small shrubs (one emitter each).

Fewer valves means less equipment, smaller controller, etc.




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[*] posted on 6-14-2008 at 09:48 AM


Quote:
Originally posted by oladulce
BajaGringo-
Can you explain this system more. Would the inductor and ozone be used on the fill side (where the water delivery truck fills up our underground concrete cistern) to treat the water being stored in the tank , or on the outflow side(sorry I don't know the proper terminology) of the storage tank?

We've spent a small fortune here.
The Drip Store

This isn't my department so I don't know how their prices compare, but the stuff is usually on our front porch the next day.

[Edited on 6-14-2008 by oladulce]


The Drip Store has much of what I pictured, and markets DIG products (made in Calif. and in Israel). There are other online drip stores too.




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[*] posted on 6-14-2008 at 11:03 AM


Quote:
Originally posted by oladulce BajaGringo - Can you explain this system more. Would the inductor and ozone be used on the fill side (where the water delivery truck fills up our underground concrete cistern) to treat the water being stored in the tank , or on the outflow side(sorry I don't know the proper terminology) of the storage tank?


As ozone is an unstable molecule, it needs to be generated and injected immediately prior to delivery down the water lines. If you have a problem with algae formation in your irrigation water holding tank and don't want to use chlorine you may consider using something like copper sulfate in very small doses. Not okay for drinking water and check to make sure it won't be harmful to any of your plants and trees. Some may be copper sensitive.




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[*] posted on 6-14-2008 at 11:18 AM


Quote:
Originally posted by David K The Drip Store has much of what I pictured, and markets DIG products (made in Calif. and in Israel). There are other online drip stores too.


I am not up to date on the best places to buy but I will tell you the three key factors (IMHO) in designing your ozone system are:

1) Proper sizing of unit (grams O per hour/lbs O per day)
2) Sufficient contact time for oxidation (manufac / system design spec)
3) Delivery via a GOOD Inductor

The first two are calculated and anybody in the business as a professional can help you with that. The third is tricky and I have found many that tell you they have the best inductor that will do the job.

BajaGringo says BALONEY!

Do some research online. Learn and understand what an inductor does and you will come to understand how an ozone unit putting out a fourth of the amount of ozone per day can out perform the larger unit solely based on the quality and design of the inductor and its delivery system. I know that some of my Baja brethren are making do on limited energy resources so this should be a point you put extra time into studying. It will pay off big time.

I looked online and found a link to some folks who share my opinion of the Mazzei inductors that I previously recommended:

Mazzei Ozone Induction

It looks like they sell them and if I were considering such a system I would get in touch with them. I am sure they know a lot more than this dumb ol' Gringo.

They'll probably tell you I don't know what I am talking about. Dennis will surely agree with them...

[Edited on 6-14-2008 by BajaGringo]




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[*] posted on 6-14-2008 at 12:23 PM


Quote:
Originally posted by David K

While using an anti siphon valve is recommended to protect residential water from possible contamination, some areas do not need an anti siphon valve.
[Edited on 6-14-2008 by David K]


why would anybody not use an anti-siphon valve?
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[*] posted on 6-14-2008 at 02:02 PM


Because they don't know what they are or what they do? It is scary!

--

Dirt and sand are most emitters worst enemy. A 150 mesh screen loads much slower than say a 300 mesh and requires fewer inspections and/or flushing.

The emitters I use have a great built-in feature but I do not know if they have kept this design alive over the years.
When the line is turned on the emitter will flush wide open briefly clearing the inside of it of silt. It then self-regulates. Upon shut-off the emitter purges once again.
I have tried many drippers in the past and have seen many bad designs. Besides animals, insects, dirt and UV. They do need regular attention and maintenance. For mysterious reasons, strange things happen to these systems while you are not looking. :lol:

Drippers disappear, hose goes elsewhere. Batteries go dead, programmers get goofed up. Algae from my experience is not a problem but some supplies have much growth I 've heard. The extruded flex pvc I use is impregnated with some mild algaecide which only restricts algae frormation in the tubing.

If you could keep animals and desparados outta the garden then you can relax more. Currently I run 4 lines, one for each of the quadrants of the yard. I use .5 gal for potted plants, 1 gal for individual plants and either a 2 gal or (2) one gal emitters on trees. They are programmed according to season. In summer program them to run 3 times a day for one hour. In winter and spring and fall I reduce it to 30 mins.

The amount you use depends on your particular arrangement of plants and temp and soil type. I would play around to seek best results. Sandy, rocky soil and clay differ in there ability to retain moisture. You may over water clay or underwater sand. Best to check moisture content after a week of new drip system. I change emitters regularily as it demands.
In Baja the growth rate is amazing given the correct amount of water. Banana trees, palms or fushias have their own specific demands. If you can key in on them you will have wonderful results.

Good luck with yours. It should not be that complicated for most here if you follow David's advice.

Here the plants are 6 months old:

[Edited on 6-14-2008 by Sharksbaja]

6months.jpg - 46kB




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