My rainwater collection system to power the drip irrigation on my square foot garden is working very well. I have a 1000 gallon tank for rain water harvesting that sits approximately 20 feet higher uphill in elevation than my garden and the hose bib pressure is more than adequate to drive an inexpensive drip irrigation system. I was concerned that the rainwater collection would not provide sufficient pressure to water the raised bed garden so I’m very pleased with the initial results. I’m very pleased with this particular use of my rainwater collection system.
Rainwater Collection Drip Irrigation Working
I configured a rainwater collection system pipe to my raised bed garden. I planted my square foot raised bed garden with heritage seeds from a survival seed bank along with a few commercial tomato plants and basil plants. The seeds responded well to the square foot garden approach and the tomatoes went nuts! I allocated about a cup of water per day from my rainwater collection system through the rain drip irrigation system and that seemed to be more than sufficient to get the seeds to germinate properly. For bigger rainwater collection systems for your garden use, you can consult rainwater tanks experts at http://www.supatank.com.au.
Harvesting Rainwater to Feed Garden Plants
Each square in my raised bed square foot garden has a drip irrigation emitter that is filled by harvesting rainwater from the roof of my house. I can vary the flow of each emitter to increase or decrease the amount of daily rain water supplied to each square in the raised bed garden. Some plants are doing very well but I planted some leafy vegetable seeds too early and the Texas Summer heat is not serving them very well. Harvesting rainwater can only solve a portion of the challenges with a raised bed garden. The experiment with the rainwater collection system is working very nicely – a nice change from last year’s failed experiment.
Rain Water Harvesting Drives Drip Irrigation Emitters
I use a drip timer at the end of the hose from the rain water harvesting system to control the daily water flow into the rain drip irrigation system in the square foot garden. The timer is set to allow water to flow for a few minutes each day at 6PM. I’ve measured the flow rate controlled by the emitters with a gallon jug and the pressure from the rainwater collection system is adequate to provide an accurate water flow into my rainwater collection system and out to each specific plant.
Summary of Rainwater Collection Powering Drip Irrigation in a Square Foot Garden
I installed a rainwater collection system to collect rain water from the roof of my house. The rain water harvesting system feeds my rain drip irrigation system nicely and the water pressure is more than adequate to power my rain drip irrigation system. I planted a mix of commercial plants and heritage seeds and they are performing nicely with sufficient water from harvesting rainwater. The emitters in my rain drip irrigation system are variable and the flow check out accurately. This has turned out to be a very nice use of a rain water collection system and is saving me quite a bit of money on my water bill each month.
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Rainwater collection is key to developing a semi-sustainable garden. Read about our first forays into a deck container garden and why growing your own food is a great idea for anyone here.
I really enjoy my gardening and learning more with my projects – especially as it relates to rain drip irrigation and square foot gardening. There is always something to learn. Yes, the setbacks are disappointing but there are occasional wins and doing and sharing these with my daughters is really fun and provides us some time together. Square foot gardening recommends that I hand water the plants every day but my busy schedule doesn’t allow for that. I also installed a rain water collection system last Fall and I really want to see if it is useful for garden drip irrigation in my container gardening. I added some piping from my rainwater collection system to feed a drip irrigation system and built a rain drip irrigation system.
Permanent Piping for a Rain Drip Irrigation System
I tested my rain drip irrigation system with a long water hose to make sure that I sufficient water pressure at the hose bib to drive the drip irrigation emitters. Once I determined that the combination of approximately 6 feet of downhill slope coupled with 10 feet of water column volume was enough to drive the emitters, I installed permanent PVC piping down to the container garden to install a permanent hose bib. My water supply for my drip irrigation garden system is now fully implemented.
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Rain Drip Irrigation Drainage Valve
We don’t often have very cold weather in Texas but it does freeze occasionally and I only buried my water supply pipe a few inches under the surface of the soil. I don’t want a freeze to burst my pipes and destroy my rain drip irrigation supply line. So, I put a hose bib at the end of the rainwater collection system supply line so that I can drain my rain drip irrigation system each Winter. There is only about 150 feet of pipe so I think this simple solution will be fine.
Splitter for Garden Drip Irrigation Options
I installed a simple hose bib splitter at the hose bib of my rain drip irrigation system. I’ve had trouble with hose bib splitters in the past but I think I was trying to do too much with them. This arrangement is much more simple. I have one side of the hose bib splitter to feed my rain drip irrigation system and the other side feeds a very short hose for incidental watering as I need it. The hose bib needs to be full on to supply enough pressure to drive the emitters in the drip irrigation garden system.
Drip Irrigation Garden Details
I used the separator lattice from square foot gardening as the supports for my rain drip irrigation master hose. Each square in my garden has a dedicated small hose and emitter. I can vary the emitter volume and count to supply a sufficient amount of water for each different plant type.
Rain Drip Irrigation Full Installation
The full rain drip irrigation system makes a very simple U shaped loop across the top of the square foot lattice and provides a dedicated drip irrigation garden feed to each square in the garden. I’ve come to appreciate simplicity in gardening as each time I’ve tried something complex, it seems to fail. Rainwater fills my collection tank and now provides daily water to my square foot garden through the rain drip irrigation system.
Summary of Rain Drip Irrigation Installed in Square Foot Garden
I tested my rain drip irrigation system with a simple garden hose and then installed permanent, underground piping to my square foot garden. I also installed a drain valve and a hose splitter at the garden hose bib for options in my garden drip irrigation system. I used the lattice boards from square foot gardening as a support for my master drip irrigation garden hose and then installed a dedicated feeder hose and emitter to each square. My rain drip irrigation is installed and working nicely with a timer controlling the daily watering times.
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.