Outdoors, Green Living, Homesteading, Sustainable living, Green Building

Irrigating the Garden 2013


Well, I began by looking into different ways to water the garden this year on
Gary Tuck’s land. We have a 1 acre pond next to the garden so this was the obvious choice. Yes there is a well nearby that they use for household water but it is shared with the neighbors, so it was not an option.

Drilling a well of any kind just for the garden is pretty much out of our budget. I would like a hand dug well or maybe we will try to drill one with water pressure and pvc pipe sometime. Drill your own water well.com and Drill cat.com look like good sites for more info. One thing I might do is rent a 90lb pavement breaker, air powered and compressor with hoses and bits. $140 for 24 hour rental. Then just try to see how deep we might get in 24 hours. That is about a 5′ dia. well.

The Survival
Pod Cast
A great pod cast I listen too and recommend.
Off Grid Net A good forum I use.

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Rain catchment is still a possibility. Rain Saucer is an expensive option for gathering water into our three 50 gal barrels. I’m sure I can come up with some material and make an inverted pyramid shape. One gallon of water is .133681 cubic feet. Converting that to cubic inches we have .133681*1738 or 231 cubic inches. In 4’x4′ area we have 2304 square inches which in a 1″ rain is 2304 cubic inches. 10 gallons in a 1″ rain which would fill one rain barrel after 5 to 6 1″ rains. Think these barrels actually hold 55 gallons.

Another idea is to construct a pole shed just for this purpose. Using 4×8 roofing sheets we could do one that is say 16×8 lean to style. This would give us 18,432 cubic inches in a 1′ rain. 79 gallons in a 1″ rain. This would more than fill one barrel and it might take several rains to fill all 3 barrels.

I looked into solar powered pumping and found on Real Goods a $110 12 v pump, $250 in solar panels for it, and a $130 controller. Now the pump can pump continuously while it has power and even run when there is no water and not burn up the pump. I think it was self priming as well. Granted it pumps slowly at like 1gpm or 60gph or less depending. So it would take it about 5 hours to fill the 300 gallon of tank space we have now. This would be a $500 solution. Or if you add our tanks and line a $650 solution.

Sump pump and pressure tank is another solution which would require 120v power run to a pump house. $1000 solution at least.

Hand pump is one solution and I still intend to experiment with this. $80 for hand pump $20 for foot valve. $40 for pipe. $30 for misc. fittings and stuff. This is a $170ish solution.

A person can get some 12v transfer pumps and one we might use for this cost $80 and can be found at Harbor Freight or Tractor Supply. It doesn’t have great draw or head distances. It isn’t all that fast but would work. These run about 2 hours before needing a rest so that they won’t burn up.
A small solar panel and battery and controller could be setup to supply enough power to run it for a few hours every day maybe. It would work but still not a great solution.

What we decided on for now is to purchase gasoline powered pump, pipe, fittings and quick connects. We also bought a 100 gallon stock tank, a 30 gallon tub and three 55 gallon rain barrels. So about 300 gallons of storage. And this cost me about $300 total thus far. The engine powered pump is 4 cycle, 1.5 HP, 1″, clear water, 1800 GPH. We had an old trimmer mower with bad engine and with the engine remove we set the pump on this for easy movement between the garden and storage at the house. Apparently this pump will fill 300 gallons in about 30 minutes of operation. It wasn’t as noisy as the manual claimed. It can produce pressure of up to 45 psi.

We still need to add garden hose spigots to each container at the bottom for gravity feed. We also need to rig our outflow from the pump to garden hose so that we may run sprinklers. We have two yard sprinklers. Another thing we may try is some ditches next to each row of plants. We would then flood the ditches.

One thing that has been suggested to me for the intake from the pond is that we build a box from hardware cloth put the intake in the top of this and floats on top. This keeps the intake just below surface and yet if the water drops too much the cage rest on bottom and keeps the intake above the silt. One could also hammer a couple of rods through the cage to keep the float in one place.

Garden photos, looking a bit dry until we watered.

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Show how we put the pump together for quick hookup and removal and transport.

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Demonstrating the use of the pump and pond and lines. Filling the 300 gallons of tanks. Took 30 minutes to fill the tanks and 30 minutes to flood/spray the garden. I can buy non-pressure compensating drip emitters and soaker hose. So I can gravity flow to drip emitters. Will try that later.

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