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Author Topic: automatic watering systems  (Read 2561 times)

anne gibson

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automatic watering systems
« on: August 06, 2008, 01:17:27 PM »
Hi
does anyone have any experience of using an automatic drip system?I read an article in AGS magazine by Alan Furness September 1997.
 Having read the article he seems so pleased with his system so I wondered if their use is widespread.
The system I am thinking of has drip points into the plunge bed and these can be adjusted and turned off individually as watering requirements change in the season. The computer can be similarly adjusted for a few minutes or longer several times a day.
It seems the perfect solution but having searched the forum have found little reference to them (could be my search technique admittedly)
May be I am idle but with two allotments as well any labour saving devices would be helpful! and of course invaluable for holidays despite offers of help from friends
thanks in anticipation Anne
horticulturally challenged

Derbyshire, UK.

Maggi Young

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Re: automatic watering systems
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2008, 02:11:30 PM »
Now, Anne, I don't know much about these systems... but I know at least one man who does.... so I'll pass this on to him and hope he's about to give you some help!
Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!

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anne gibson

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Re: automatic watering systems
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2008, 02:36:06 PM »
Thanks Maggie
I'm guessing who the man is! :-\
horticulturally challenged

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Maggi Young

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Re: automatic watering systems
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2008, 02:53:04 PM »
Think you are probably wrong, Anne!!  ;)    It's Brian Wilson  8)
Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!

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jomowi

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Re: automatic watering systems
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2008, 07:57:59 PM »
Anne

Yes! I use drippers but do not claim to be an expert. 

First, no automatic system is perfect, water has to be applied to meet the highest demand otherwise some or all the plants can suffer at times. 

Second, on the basis of experience I do not recommend drippers for a plunge system, the watering can be erratic .  The reason is that the water spreads from the drippers in a cone and only moves sideways slowly.  Depending on the size of the plunge, drainage, the porosity of the sand and the moisture levels not all the sand will keep moist.  To some extent you can solve this problem by using more drippers but then you may add too much water leaving the sand too wet.   The smallest drippers I have found are 4 L per hour, enough for quite a lot of plants unless you apply it weekly or less.  There are some variable flow drippers but in my experience they tend to be unreliable and only function well at flow rate of 4L or above.  Drippers are good for individual pots and troughs outside where the drippers can be buried just below the compost/grit surface so avoiding that perennial problem of water running off without wetting the compost.   

I suggest that you consider leaky pipe for your plunge, this will give you a better spread of water.  It is important if you go down this route that you filter input water or the pipe will block surprisingly rapidly and the leakage rate will drop.  Most of my pipes have gone this way even using tap water and need to be replaced as I find it impossible to clean them.  .I now have a filter and am surprised how much junk it catches.  The other downside for leaky pipe is the need to keep your plants in lines dictated by the pipes which always seem to be placed where you have space for a plant.

Best of luck, let us all know what you chose and how you get on.

Brian Wilson
Aberdeen
Linlithgow, W. Lothian in Central Scotland

Maggi Young

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Re: automatic watering systems
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2008, 08:33:56 PM »
Thanks, Brian... I knew you could give good advice!
Thank you!  :-* :-*
Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!

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Paul T

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Re: automatic watering systems
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2008, 05:48:48 AM »
Are watering systems REALLY that rare over there?  I know you guys get lots of rain and don't need much watering, but the thought of not knowing about them is amazing.  They're so commonplace here.  I don't have computer controlled or anything like that, just turn on at the tap types, but any "normal" watering system can just be hooked up to a set of solonoids (i.e the electronic controllers that turn them on and off) or one of the systems that snap onto your tap and have a smaller computer controller in them which controls multiple lines that run off it (sort of like the 4 into one connections for a tap, that turn one tap into 4 outlets.  Drippers start here at 2 l/hr and go up to the octo-drippers that are something like 36 l/hr (from memory).  I'm a bit rusty now, but it was part of what I did when I ran my garden maintenance business.  Life without watering systems here would be dreadful, but I still haven't managed to afford to put in an electronic setup onto my current manually turned on ones.
Cheers.

Paul T.
Canberra, Australia.
Min winter temp -8 or -9C. Max summer temp 40C. Thankfully, maybe once or twice a year only.

anne gibson

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Re: automatic watering systems
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2008, 07:27:27 PM »
Thanks for help and information everyone.
I will have to think about this a bit more now! i guess it is always the same in gardening ask two people and you will get two different answers!. Alan Furness seemed to think they were the bees knees  but obviously they do not have all the answers.
I am interested in you cope with the plants changing requirements throughout the season Brian as some plants continue to need a good supply whilst others need less- do you just move the plants about and have some areas with less leaky pipe?
I had any idea of somehow letting the drippers drip into a tube which took the water  down to the base of the plunge bed so it then soaked out to the surrounding sand-you know like it is suggested to bury a bottle with the bottom cut off to direct the water to runner bean roots!
And Paul, may be i should just be grateful for not having to cope with the conditions you do! but like you i am surprised that they are not more commonplace.
thanks Anne

horticulturally challenged

Derbyshire, UK.

 


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