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Monday, July 23rd 2012, 2:08pm

Remote garden watering

My wife and I are both disabled vets. We didn't get any medical recognition from the military so we are very low income, disabled and live in an apartment. This year our park district offered a 24 x 24 ft community garden. We joined and have faced major barricades with watering. The garden is in a field and has a 525 gal tank. They won't allow a hose to be hooked up to the tank, so we have to haul the water to the garden. Then take the water out of the bucket and water each plant.
My first solution has been 5 gal buckets and a cart. The heat and humidity in the Chicago area has been intense, so we have been up every morning watering, until we are totally exhausted, leaving us exhausted, till the next watering day. Not the way we planned to devote our entire summer. We will barely make it this summer and would like to try next year, but the watering will have to change. I have considered putting in 1, 2 55 gal barrels and filling them, then have a timed pump/ valves turn on cycle through whatever pipes needed to be used then shut off. With a few barrels and a timed system maybe we could load water every few days and rest and let the system do the rest. I'm guessing we could use a few deep cycle batteries to change out and charge at home when loading water. The batteries could be used for the pump, timer, valves. The system would have to be portable so it could be set up at the beginning of the year, then broken down. I will need some people with some intense experience to help us design this as low a cost as possible since we are broke. The system would be designed for next year and we could slowly buy the parts each month with our little income. I suspect this is out of the ordinary, but its the conditions they gave us. I could use help on pump type, pipe type and diameter, irrigation hose type, any additional parts to pull this off. Thank you, Richard and Sheila Friese USN disabled, Mundelein, IL


Monday, July 23rd 2012, 2:15pm

Just registered

teachandlearn just registered after posting. Will watch replies every day. hopefully the registration will forward future messages.


Monday, July 23rd 2012, 4:26pm

Before you go too far, go to and search on solar irrigation and battery powered irrigation.
Look at some of their designs.


Monday, July 23rd 2012, 5:40pm

Solor irrigation

I think that might be a good idea, though solar may help with the power I still have the entire remote garden watering issue. I have considered using a 55 gallon drum and watering, though through the research so far, those that used them elevated the tank at least six feet. When we started the garden this year I considered using a 55 gallon drum and asked them, "my wife voted it down, though she is requesting it now". I asked at the park district and they said I could do it, "but, if they looked at it and it made the garden "unsightly" I had to remove it." I even was going to buy a new one at a local place and they won't too impressed, even though it was to assist to lower the work load on two disabled people. I have seen some beautiful community gardens on youtube and it seems a spigot at each garden plot is a given. Their big improvement next year "maybe" one water spigot of the whole garden, BUT hoses will not be allowed to be connected! As I wrote before, we live in an apartment, so this community garden has been our only avenue to generate some decent food that we freeze for the year. As you can see we seem to be running against some barriers which are placing more work for a normal person and a very heavy work load for two disable people. Thanks for the input so far. I will check out you tube on that. I found this site by checking you tube under "remote garden watering" RJF


Tuesday, July 24th 2012, 8:29am

You definitely have your work cut out for you.
Unfortunately, too much work.
As far as buying 55 gallon drums, look at these RAIN BARRELS.
I understand your tight budget. Just showing you these to show there are rain barrels that will fit almost any theme or decor.
As far as portability, look at the MIGHTY LITTLE PUMP. Self contained, rechargeable. There is a video on that page that gives you a good idea how it works. I don't know how far the tank is from the garden or how fast a 5 gallon bucket fills. This might let you put a bucket below the tank, fill it and start pumping while leaving the tank faucet on to continually refill the bucket.

Some of your ideas, while feasible, might be more effort than you realize.

In my area local community colleges do field projects for graduation. You might get in touch with the College of Lake County to see if their engineering students might be interested. CIVIL TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT


Tuesday, July 24th 2012, 10:54am

Remote garden watering

Our work is already cut out for us. This year we put down landscape cloth then planted into it. Dam near killed us doing it, but we haven't weeded once and going to the garden is never muddy. This hauling water bit seems to be out of the norm compared to the community gardens I've seen on Youtube. I'm planning this for next year, so I have time to research, buy bit pieces and test, play around. One reason I may pick barrels is there is a Uline shipping company a few miles from us, so we can take our flat bed trailer and pick up a few with out shipping costs. Figured I could pick the open barrel type, cut in a spigot at the bottom and go from there. We are using 30 to 40 gallons daily that we are hauling to the garden, about a 75 to 100 foot walk with a 5 gallon bucket in cart, THEN dipping and watering every plant. We have a 21 year old son that goes to Jr college that can help, though he still has classes that interfere. I'm trying to cut down the work.

Once idea: I have a 8.5 amp generator continuous, so get a electric pump, hook a hose and water with one person dumping the other buckets into the feed bucket. Second upgrade, get one to two barrels and load them up then pump from them, "one person isn't needed to keep feeding the bucket". The last option is what I approach you folks on, laying down soaker hose, drip hose, then either startup the generator and let the pump do the work OR us a 12 V electric pump/ battery, maybe solar panel to recharge would be a really nice upgrade. I don't know how long a hose a portable pump could handle, number of "water circuits" needed to open, close manual or automatic and diameter of main pipe.

I had a electrical engineering background til the military did me in. I know math well but do not have the practical or design experience to maybe pull this off. The reason I approached this board. I figured maybe someone has done similar work on a watering system for a lake/ pond. My difference would be a barrel. I'm guessing maybe runs of some type soaker drip hose and valve to turn on each one till done with a timer for the pump? Never owned a house or I would be setting up a real one in a real garden. With soaker hose, I could devise some roll up at the end of season, then the work would be supplying the barrels with water. I'm I too far off on this? Been looking at solar and 12v pumps and found one that fed a oscillating sprinkler from a pond I would guess 200 feet away. Used a littel 12v pump, regular garden hose run and it was working well. Seen some gravity fed ones and comically all of them filled up with a hose. Seems the park district is putting us through the wringer and I'm trying to figure a way to continue next year without killing us. "family had to drive the car 200 feet from the parking lot to the garden last week to let me crawl into the car holding my chest." *Navy poisoned us so I get to breath on one lung* From what I'm trying to do is setup up front then be able to coast when the heat and humidity is really bad. RJF


Supreme Member

Posts: 5,331

Location: Metro NYC


Tuesday, July 24th 2012, 11:00am

What reasons, if any, are given for the restrictions on how water is delivered to the plants in these gardens?

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