Spring has arrived in Texas and I’m excited to try a new adventure using my rain water collection system to power a rain drip irrigation system with a new planting and management approach from Square Foot Gardening. My past two years of experiments with a deck container garden and a rain drip irrigation garden have failed due to the very high temperatures up on the deck. I’m going to move the deck container garden containers down to the ground level and also restart my raised bed garden from several years ago. I’m going to experiment and rig up my rain water collection system to power a rain drip irrigation system for both the deck container garden and the raised bed garden. I have a lot to do and learn about rain drip irrigation systems!
The Old Deck Container Garden – Too Hot!
The six deck garden containers and cages have gone fallow over the winter. Weeds have taken them over as well. They are very heavy even though they are not completely filled with soil and moving them back to ground level will be an adventure. Additionally, the containers are over two years old and showing signs of decay – they may not make the trip down to ground level. These drip irrigation garden containers use a regular, hose bib powered, drip irrigation system and I’ve wanted to develop a rain drip irrigation system for a couple of year – now is the time.
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Ground Level Deck Container Garden
This is the new location for the rain drip irrigation garden. It is still very close to the deck and right at the bottom of the stairs but has the advantage of being on ground level and also having some shade from the deck and trees. I’m not sure how the additional shade from the rain drip irrigation system might impact the plants in this location but I do know that the soil temperature will be cooler than it was on the deck. It is also only about 25 feet away from the rain water collection system so it should be easy to rig for a rain drip irrigation system.
Source of the Rain Water Collection and Rain Drip Irrigation
This is my home made rain water collection system which I will use to power my rain drip irrigation system. Drip irrigation systems in drip irrigation garden require hose bib level pressure and I’m just betting that a nearly full tank of rain water will provide enough pressure to simulate hose bib pressure and sufficiently power my rain drip irrigation system. I have quite a bit of work to do to get this setup properly. The rain water collection system also needs some additional work on the filter pipe discharge. The filter pipe catches the initial roof wash and based on Pie R Squared Math it holds approximately 138 gallons. The approximate rain water catch area on the roof for this tank is 690 square feet which produces 379 gallons per inch of rain. The tank is 1000 gallons so it only takes a 3 inch rain to fill it. However, that means that it requires 0.15 inches of rain to completely fill the filter pipe and if the filter pipe drains constantly that means that I have the potential to waste a lot of small rains. Additionally, the roof does not need to be washed with each rain so I can improve my system by putting a flow timer on the drain outlet of the filter pipe. More on that later…..
Raised Bed Garden and Long Distance Rain Drip Irrigation
This is the old raised bed garden and it hasn’t been used in over 5 years. It is 8 feet by 4 feet by 1 foot high and contains gravel and a drain pipe in the bottom. It will work perfectly for the square foot gardening methodology but needs some serious work to get it in shape. In the past, I’ve felt a little pressured to get the garden in for the start of the growing season but the square foot gardening techniques seem to make the timing of planting much less important. I also have quite a bit of work running a water pipe 150 feet from the rain water collection system to power this rain drip irrigation system down at the raised bed garden to turn it into a drip irrigation garden.
Square Foot Gardening
I recently purchased a copy of Square Foot Gardening and really like the approach even though he does not advocate using a rain drip irrigation system. He writes from the standpoint of loving gardening and I work from the standpoint of loving the results with as little effort as possible. Nevertheless, I do like his approach and am excited to give it a try this year in conjunction with using my rain water collection system to power my rain drip irrigation system.
Summary of Rain Water Collection to Power Rain Drip Irrigation
Spring has sprung and it’s time to get busy harnessing my rain water collection system to power my rain drip irrigation system and drip irrigation garden. I’m moving my deck container garden from the top of the deck down to ground level and more shade. I’m going to experiment with rigging a rain drip irrigation system into my rain water collection system to power the rain drip irrigation for the deck container garden and the raised bed garden which is 150 feet from the rain water collection system.