Sunday, October 04, 2009

Organic gardening automating your water system

Building an Automated Watering System

Watering Soil-Beds or Grow-Boxes with 3/4" PVC pipe works well, even for 4 rows of vegetables. Here's how.
Pictorial instructions are on the Garden Master CD and in The Mittleider Gardening Course at - The Store.

On one end of your pipe, make marks dividing the circle into 4 equal parts. Two adjacent marks are at 90 degrees. Now make a mark between those two, and you have the starting points for 3 straight lines down the length of the pipe that are 45 degrees apart.

Take a piece of 2 X 4 - 6" long and notch one side of it so that a 3/4" PVC pipe fits snugly. Drill a hole from the top to the center of this notch the size of a pencil. Insert a sharpened pencil, and as one person holds the pipe from moving, another person starts at one of the three marks on the end of the pipe and makes a straight line the length of the pipe. Turn the pipe to the next mark and repeat. Then repeat a third time.

Next, take a measuring tape at least as long as your pipe, place it alongside the pipe and draw a line every 4" across the 3 lengthwise lines already drawn on the pipe.

Insert a #57 drill bit (that's .042", and is found at hobby shops, Ace Hardware, and Industrial Supply) into a hand drill and drill 3 holes every 4" the length of the pipe - on the points where the lines cross.

If your Bed is longer than the pipe, glue two pipes together - being very careful to line up the holes on both pieces of pipe.

Attach male threaded ends on both ends of your pipe. On the far end, place a threaded end-cap, and on the front-end place a ball valve with female threads.

Plumb to your water source.

Place the pipe in the center of your Soil-Beds or Grow-Boxes, on 4 - 2 X 4 X 6" blocks equally spaced along the length of the bed. Each block should have two nails in the top center placed 1" apart, to keep the pipe from
falling off.

With the holes at 45 degrees and the pipe 3 1/2" above the soil surface, the water will quickly fill the 12" planting area and water all plants in the bed.

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