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The last 7 posts

Friday, May 16th 2008, 10:53am

by patsweetpat

Thanks, everyone, for your suggestions.

I really appreciate all the advice.

Patrick Meighan
Culver City, CA

Wednesday, May 14th 2008, 9:30am

by hi.todd

Point taken!!

Wednesday, May 14th 2008, 8:03am

by HooKooDooKu

There's nothing wrong with drip irrigation and raised beds. Accually, drip irrigation might be better for raised beds.

Drip irrigation is really not complex at all. Many big-box retail stores often have kits (when was the last time you saw a 'kit' ment for DIY underground irrigation?). Conceptually, it's a lot like watering with soaker hoses. I would think that the single biggest concern as to whether drip is right for your situation or not is how much you have to worry about people breaking stuff. But since you're talking about a raised bed, there is less opportunity for stuff to get stepped on.

Here's a link to more information about the general idea: It's actually very simple and very much a DIY sort of project.

One simple idea (if you don't have to have different watering schedules for different beds) would be to buy a battery powered timer that you connect to the single hose bibb. Then connect all the basic drip equipment (filter/regulator/backflow/tubing adapter) to the hose bibb. You can then get a tubing adapter that goes from the tubing to standard male threaded pipe adapter. Then bury PVC pipe from there and run it out to each bed. At the edge of each bed, use another tubing to male threaded pipe adapter to transition back to drip tubing. Then run the drip tubing through out the beds.

Tuesday, May 13th 2008, 5:16pm

by hi.todd

I would like to add my 2 cents. I think drip is the most cost effective also, but I understand some reluctance to the idea because it can become a maintenance problem fast. I would suggest getting three bids for the same project (apples to apples). You have only one bid and didn't like it. The second bid doesn't really count because it would turn into much more aggravation than it is worth. Is there a license requirement for California irrigators? What is there permit process like? Was the second bid even with a licensed person or a landscaper.

You may be breaking off more than your group can handle.

Permitting and backflow certification alone can cost anywhere from 100.00 to 300.00.

Good Luck with the project.

Tuesday, May 13th 2008, 12:42pm

by patsweetpat

I think drip might be a no-go.

If you want it done on the cheap, what about drip irrigation tubes just running on the ground. It's definitly a DIY sort of project, and pretty cheap. Not to mention that I would think you would want drip irrigation for a garden.
Thanks for the suggestion. I'm not sure drip irrigation would be the right fit, though, as these'll be raised beds, 13 in all, with different folks, dealing with different and varying sun conditions, growing different veggies and flowers at different times (or, sometimes, growing nothing, or growing cover crop). You know, mongrelized community garden stuff. Also, personally, speaking as the guy who's nominally in charge of coordinating this whole thing, I confess that I have absolutely no experience with drip irrigation whatsoever. At the community garden I gardened at last year (before I moved to this townhouse complex and stupidly opened my mouth and suggested that we start up a community garden here) I became accustomed to the simple irrigation system they used there: a hose bib and a hose placed strategically at the nexus of every four garden plots. That system seemed to work okay, so that's the system I've envisioned for this new community garden. Maybe I just gotta broaden my mind some.

Anyway, any additional wisdom would be more than welcome!

Patrick Meighan
Culver City, CA

Tuesday, May 13th 2008, 7:06am

by HooKooDooKu

If you want it done on the cheap, what about drip irrigation tubes just running on the ground. It's definitly a DIY sort of project, and pretty cheap. Not to mention that I would think you would want drip irrigation for a garden.

Tuesday, May 13th 2008, 5:25am

by patsweetpat

Question: Irrigating a new community garden

Hey Sprinkler Talk folks,

My name is Patrick Meighan, and I live in Culver City, CA (West Los Angeles). My neighbors and I are in the process of setting up an organic community garden in an unused space in the rear of our communally-owned townhouse complex. The puzzle we're currently trying to unlock is irrigation. Specifically, doing irrigation inexpensively. I thought perhaps someone here may possibly have some wisdom to share, so here's our sitch...

We are fortunate enough to have access to a water source on our property (it's a working hose bib that's just popping out of the ground) kinda near our garden area. Our plan is to tap into that water source and run some subterranean pipe from there into the garden area (which starts about 20 feet away), where we'd have 4 hose bibs spread out amongst the 13 garden plots laid across a big triangle of land that's about 1200 square feet in total area. But because cost is a factor, we'd like to do this in as thrifty a fashion as possible.

The first landscaping plumber we brought in for an estimate quoted us something in the $4,000 range for parts, labor, digging, making the connection, the whole bit. Too rich for our blood.

When the second landscaping plumber came in, we asked for an estimate that assumed that we, the gardeners, would pre-dig the pipe trenches, and that he'd then design the system, bring the pipe, lay it in the pre-dug trenches, connect it to the water source (complete with a dedicated meter and any other required hardware), and install the 4 hose bibs. For that he quoted us $1,500. That's getting closer, but we'd still like to make it even yet more cost effective, if possible, which has us thinking DIY thoughts.

Here's the problem: none of us really has any plumbing experience.

So here's my question: do you think it would be advisable (and cost-effective) for us novice, no-plumbing-experience-but-willing-to-learn gardeners to dig the pipe trenches ourselves AND design the system ourselves AND purchase the pipe and hose bibs ourselves AND even lay the pipe and connect the hose bibs ourselves and then simply call in a professional plumber to make the connection to our water source (complete with a meter, and any other hardware necessary, like a backflow valve)? My hope is that doing the above would save us a lot of money and shrink our plumber's bill down to just a couple hundred bucks. My fear, though, is that our ignorance of the plumbing basics would cause us to make irredeemable mistakes, like buying the wrong type of pipe (i.e., PVC instead of copper, or vice versa), or buying the wrong size of pipe (i.e., too wide, or too narrow), or digging the wrong type of trench (too deep, or too shallow), or some other novice mistake that'll cost us untold amounts of time and money to correct after the fact.

So I turn to y'all for advice.

If anyone here can possibly give us some pointers on our irrigation quest (or perhaps refer us to someone else who can), we here at the (soon to be inaugurated) Rancho Higuera Community Garden would be forever in your debt.

Thanks so much for any wisdom or referrals y'all can spare,

Patrick Meighan
Culver City, CA