Friday, June 18, 2010

Watering Manifold

The final stage of the gravity feed watering system is the distribution manifold. I have discovered that the key to gravity feed it water volume since water pressure is low. Here are the parts of the manifold. The parts consist of one 10 foot PCV three inch non pressure pipe cut in half. It will be used to make two manifolds. Two end caps for each manifold. Two hose connectors for the water and air vent to the manifold. Finally the small plant watering hose connectors. I've also discovered that since there isn't much pressure things can be glued together and quite successfully not have water leakage.

A close up look at the parts for the manifold distribution system. The threaded parts are threaded for garden hose connections. They can be bought at any local home improvement store. All of the tanks will be connected together by 5/8 inch hoses. It's the cheapest way to go since I have many hoses that can be used without cost.

The first distribution manifold I put together I capped the ends first and found that I should have capped them last. It would have made cleaning out the debris from drilling much easier. Things are getting easier as I move along with the watering system. I'm kind of learning as I go with this project. I haven't really found anything quite like this on the internet. I guess I'm pioneering a little with the gravity thing.

You can see that one of the connections is dry fitted in place. I drilled the hole smaller than the connection to be able to slowly fit the hole to the connector by using a small drill rasp. You might ask why is there two connectors for the final distribution manifold. One connector is for the water to flow into the manifold to be distributed out to the plants. The other is for a vent tube to allow the water to empty the manifold when the timer shuts off the water to the manifold. You might ask what will keep the water from just coming out of the second connection instead of the plant distribution hoses? The vent tube will be another hose that will be raised higher than the level of the secondary water tank. Since there is no water pressure the water will never go higher than the water level in the secondary tank but will allow air to enter the manifold on drain down when the timer shuts the water supply off from the secondary tank.

Whew, you following all that? Well that's the plan for now.

The final assembly for the manifold was to glue the connectors into the final plant distribution tank with Gorilla Glue. Wonderful stuff. After this dries over night the final sealing will be completed with silicone cauk. When that dries then it will be time for the drilling of the holes for the watering hoses to water the plants. These are just small hoses directed to the base of the plants to be watered. The water will flow out of the distribution manifold through the small trickle hose and water the roots of the plants. This manifold will be made to water four tomato plants and four cucumber plants. Each one of these manifolds will be five feet long and water one raised bed.
This manifold is well on the way to becoming the first timed gravity feed watering system. It's been an interesting journey for sure to figure out how all this will work together. It's become more of a challange to make it work than a real help to the garden. However when it's all up and running it will be a great help to just let it run without worrying about what will happen to my garden when I am away for a few days. It will especially be good when my 18 day trip comes up in September. Sweet!!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Planting the Poor Man's Patio
Finally the Poor Man's Patio is planted. The final count for containers to be watered is 24. Up from last year's 10. That watering issue will be bigger this year. There are too many containers to water for just one leg of drip system so I will have to either have two legs or figure out something different. I came up with my own special mix for potting. It was equal parts of vermiculite, Miracle Gro potting soil, and Omagro compost. It should be the best ever. I might have over planted just a little but in containers it's always good to over plant some.

My makeshift potting table is nothing more than just a couple saw horses and my loading planks for the truck. The whole process of planting the patio took about 2 hours. Then it was off to the Goodrich store for a giant butterscotch malt for supper. I planted the pole beans in the two pots and hope that they will do well. The Morning Glory soaked over night and will be planted today or tomorrow. I hope they do better outside than in the sprouter. I just haven't got the hang of using the sprouter yet.

I got day lilies from Carol this week when I brought over the ladder so she could clean out her gutters. The day lilies are not going to work out like I wanted. I think the hostas will be just fine and the area will be covered with mulch. I didn't know that day lilies were clumping and got so big. That height will block the hostas in front of the foundation bushes. It's been a learning process for sure.

Well, here is the Poor Man's Living Patio for this year. It looks a little different than last year. It has Dusty Miller, Begonias, Impatiens, Vinca, Wave Petunia, and in the trellis pots pole beans and Morning Glory. I hope it turns out like the picture in my mind. Once I got the potting mix made it was not too long to get everything potted up.