Even though it’s still winter, it’s time to start preparing for the new garden season. This year it appears we may experience low rainfall again like last year. If that is the case, planning for more usage of a PVC drip irrigation system is the perfect solution.
I developed my current system several years ago, but I was looking for new ideas to try out. I came across this great article by Jeffery E. Banks on Designing a Basic PVC Home Garden Drip Irrigation System. Jeff explains the system very well and provides a good, brief case study of the Juab County system. As a visual learner, I like to see what things look like and then copy them. Within the article, Jeff provides several picture examples of his and other gardens including the Juab County garden.
Benefits of the PVD Drip Irrigation System
Jeff goes through several benefits of using a PVC drip irrigation system some of which include the following:
- Water savings, with root zone watering
- Less stress on the plant
- Less weed growth
- Versatility of design for different terrain
I’ll also add that the homemade PVC system can be of much lower cost than commercial drip irrigation systems. And, I just like working with PVC. Okay, call me weird!
The Juab County PVC system is really cool. I like the way they set up their header manifold system and the plugging idea for lateral lines not in use. Since they are covering a large area, they use 1 inch PVC for the main trunk line with the lateral lines appearing to be ¾ or ½ inch.
He Uses 1/16 Inch Holes in the Lateral Lines
He recommends using 1/16 inch holes in the lateral lines whereas I use 3/32. I like the slightly bigger holes, but the 1/16 inch would make it more of a drip system. I especially like his hole spacing ideas for different types of crops. For corn, bean, carrots, and peas, he recommends hole spacing of every 6 inches. For tomatoes or bigger plants, he describes a grouping of 3 holes, 2 to 3 inches apart every 3 to 5 feet. This is a great concept I’m going to try.
Ball Valves to Control Flow and Fertilizer Injection Application
He shows the use of ball valves at different points in the PVC system to control flow and flow rate to the various locations. To add nutrients to the plants while watering, he also describes how you can use a fertilizer injector to save time and put the fertilizer right at the root zone using the PVC system. I don’t recommend using chemical fertilizer as he briefly mentions, but there is still great opportunity for using this approach to easily apply fertilizer whether liquid or dry water-soluble types.
Take Home: Now’s the time to start planning your irrigation system and the Juan County PVC drip irrigation system is a great model to use. Go get some pencil and paper and start designing your system!
Great work Jeff! Thanks for your helpful article.