Post Nozzle Drip Irrigation

I have been wanting to put in a drip irrigation system in my garden for years and it is mildly ironic that I finally found a system that I could install myself in the same spring where I need a drip irrigation system like I need another hole in my head.

See, the problem was in the past that… well, I live in a not rich neighborhood. How does this relate to drip irrigation?  Because according to Home Depot and Lowe’s, people who live in not rich neighborhoods don’t buy drip irrigation systems. Of course that is not how they put it.  If you ask an associate at their stores in my (apparently) ‘hood, my local stores are “urban” stores, and therefore do not carry the same products as “suburban” stores.

I don’t know about you folks, but when I think “urban”, I kind of think of, I don’t know, tall buildings, apartment buildings or lots of multi family homes, teeny, tiny 10′X30′ yards – if there are yards at all.  My neighborhood looks a lot like their supposed “suburban” neighborhoods, only the average income is several tens of thousands less and the median skin tone several shades darker. If I am living in an urban neighborhood, then I need to have a serious conversation with my local government about the overwhelming lack of crime and graffiti – not to mention trendy art galleries, theaters and coffee shops.  But I digress, as I am wont to do.

Whatever the reasoning, they don’t sell drip irrigation supplies in my “urban” area and going out to the “suburban” areas was just going to be a hassle (after all, I don’t have the latest census data that would tell me for sure that I was going to a suburban store rather than an urban store, as you can’t tell that by looks).  I had looked online at buying it – but it looked so complicated. I didn’t know what I needed or if I could use my feeble construction skills to assemble it.

Then a few weeks ago it just so happened that I was in one of those “suburban” neighborhoods to watch a movie and stopped into the hardware store nearby to pick up supplies for my other hobby.  As I was buzzing down the aisles, I spotted something on the end cap out of the corner of my eye as I was whipping past.  I came to a hard halt and put my cart in reverse.  It was a whole display of drip irrigation supplies.  It still looked complicated, but at least there were boxes marked “starter kits” and I could eyeball if this was a job I could do (great), a job the spousal unit would have to do (requires payment in steaks and sex) or something that  I would have to hire a professional for (not gonna happen).

Then, as if the gardening gods were crying out that I must have this, a strange but helpful man appeared at my side. “New to drip irrigation, eh?”  I nodded and then was immediately deluged by a massive amount of information on drip irrigation systems.  Everything I needed to know to get started and do so cheaply. BTW, he was not an employee of the store. He was just someone THAT excited by drip irrigation. While helpful to me, I do wonder what a dinner party at his house might be like.

A half hour later, with my head spinning as it tried to process all of my new found drip irrigation knowledge, I went on my merry way confident that I would have a drip irrigation system and that it would not require lots of steak and sex to get it installed.

And now I am kicking myself that I did not do this sooner. IT IS SO EASY. You know the Tinker Toys you played with as a kid? Just like that, only for water.  Too awesome!  No more powdery mildew because I had to water from overhead.  No more leaving the sprinkler on all night and flooding my garden because I forgot I turned it on.  No more forgetting that I have not watered in a week. Done. It’s all on a timer and it all goes straight to the roots of my plants.

Now, I have time for the important things that you do in an urban neighborhood, like chase deer away from your plants and mow your lawn.

22 thoughts on “Post Nozzle Drip Irrigation
  1. I’m so inspired to get going on an irrigation system for part of the garden that needs it now. My spousal unit did put drip irrigation in the veggie patch and now that he is adequately fed the flowers at the front don’t matter. Ha! Wait till I show him…

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  2. Hanna,

    I hope the drip irrigation is not too necessary later in the year. Maybe a little – just not too needed. We have had enough extreme(ly wet) weather this year. We don’t need the other extreme.

    As for the lawn – we have joined the langamorph subscription service. They munch on the little bit that I have not turned into garden. And so far they generally leave the flowers alone. At least they have not touched the daylilies. In which case they might be un-subscribed. Considering that they have had some 10 to 15 years to do so well we just might be alright. I will just save a few patches of clover and dandelions for them ! Oh yeah with a pinch of blue grass to give it some panache.

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  3. Rather then frequent the stores that will not cater to your neighborhood, I’d suggest going online for cheaper and better product.

    I started with one of those starter kits myself. I went online to setup a system for my father in law, for less.

    I’ve replaced 2 hose fittings (not the drip stuff!) that blew out over the last 2 years from that store. One, a brass swivel host to pipe thread fitting was caught shortly after it happened. The other, a large Y fitting made of rubber and larger then my hand blew out and excavated a large hole under my deck.

    Anyways, good luck with the drip. I found more success with the emitter tubing than the end fittings, but I’m doing long rows.

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    Hanna Reply:

    That’s kind of what the guy told me, except he directed me to a local irrigation supply store (ironically not too far from my house). I bought some stuff there but after that went online and just bought from a place on eBay. You are right, much cheaper. But I think that if I had not had the supplies on hand in the first place to see, I would not have had the first clue what to buy online or even how to search for what I needed to buy. But now that I know, I think I will get everything online.

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    Linda Reply:

    Just remember that without frequenting that local irrigation supply store or local hardware store, they may not be in business when you need something right away and shipping from your beloved online store will take days. Not to mention you wouldn’t have gotten the great advice and instruction from that customer unless you bothered to go to a local hardware store.

    Just my two cents. . . .

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    Tom Reply:

    I’d love to have a local irrigation shop that has what I want. By all means, go there if it does. Shipping is certainly part of the cost, especially on heavier items.

    I was saying don’t go to the store that doesn’t cater to you. There’s always value in a local store that has what you need (including advice).

    Like you, the big box store got me started.

    My next addition might be fertilizer injection. Never going to find that at the big store. Maybe at the Agway. Definitely online.

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  4. I live in the desert and we live or die by our irrigation systems. The most important part is the controller (the device that controls when each zone turns on and for how long).

    A mistake some people make is that they put the emitter (the little tip that drips the water) right next to the stalk/trunk of the plant. Don’t do that. The feeder roots are generally 1/3 in from the edge of the plant’s canopy. Also…leave a bit more drip line than needed so that as the plant grows, the emitters can be moved out to remain useful to the appropriate root zone.

    Using drip irrigation is great for saving water and making sure all plants get watered appropriately. One last word of advice…if you use emitters at the end of the thin hoses (usually 1/4″), use pressure controlled/sensitive emitters. They help keep the amt. of water even.

    Good luck – [ Jeff ]

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    Hanna Reply:

    Thanks for the tips! Much appreciated!

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  5. I got the same foolishness from my east side “suburb” Home Depot in Cleveland about sprinkler systems! They cannot tell me that none of the GIANT homes in University Heights have systems. If no one waters – what do they do with all the plants they sell I wonder? And the soil, and fertilizer, and lawn care products… Just silly! We also did drip irrigation this year except ours has no timer. Congratulations! And support your local hardware store – they are dying… and we need them :)

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  6. HelenB on

    Ohio big box store management must have a much different idea about who buys drip irrigation equipment than those here in California. I live in Hollywood, which is very much NOT suburban, and the local Home Depot and Orchard Supply both carry a very nice selection of drip irrigation supplies,

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  7. Hi,
    I have used drip irrigation now for about 10 years and really like it. In my previous home, I had one big box store that carried it, another big box store that didn’t.

    The one problem I found was that the store that did carry it often did not carry the same brand tubing and connectors, but carried different ones. This became a problem when the tubing of one brand was too large for the connectors or emitters of the other brand (even though both brand’s tubing said 1/4″)

    Now in my current home, drip was already in and all I have to do is make sure nothing broke or came off when I start up in spring again. I did extend some of that system with mini soaker hoses. I did not like them, because they seem to break easily. So now I am replacing them with emitter tubing.

    My next project….timers.

    Yael

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  8. Scott on

    Drip irrigation is the best especially in the southwest of California where it does not rain often. It saves water but most importantly allows the water to absorb. We could not live without it.
    Scott
    http://wiltedleaf.com

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  9. lima on

    My question is i want to install artifical grass in my garden and the people of http://www.jardineriamarve.net talk me about a last generation of artificial grass with good price, but im not convinced about that, therefore I would like to know your opinion about artificial grass? is better than the natural grass?

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    Jeff Reply:

    In the Phoenix, AZ area many people use artificial turf because it doesn’t take as much water, chemicals, etc. The new artificial grass really does look good and is nearly care free.

    One thing most people do not appreciate is how hot the grass will get in the full sun. This needs to be considered when pets are involved and if you live in an area with plenty of sun. Some types of artificial turf will get hotter than others so address that issue if appropriate.

    Also…one of the most important things about artificial turf is the drainage and installation. Do the research and get it right!

    We have good friends with artificial grass and they love it and their dog loves it, but they did have to have a drainage problem after the initial install to correct a poor runoff situation.

    Good luck! – [ Jeff ]

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  10. Wesley on

    I had the same problem initially getting dripper supplies. I found I could get things through Lowe’s online, but sometimes only if I changed my preferred store to a different state to be able to order it online (strange process, but true). Just a tip.

    BTW I agree, drip irrigation is a game changer. Also, invest in an inexpensive hose-end timer, which is especially nice for getting neighbors to water your garden by just turning a dial and walking away.

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  11. While I have heard of this type of irrigation system before, I am now more inspired than ever to give it a go. I may have some troubles with getting the supplies as some of you have also expressed a concern with, but I think I’ll be able to get my hands on what I need. I’ve been saving some extra money so I should have a good little lump of money to spend on it all.

    Thanks for the tip on buying, Wesley. I wasn’t aware that changing the store you’re buying from could impact it’s online availability. That is a bit odd!

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  12. I’ve been fighting with fungus on my gooseberries, fungus on my persimmon seedlings, and fungus on my tomatoes (early blight maybe)! I’m new to serious gardening and this year was my year. I’m learning my lessons the hard way and I thank you for pushing me over the edge to try drip irrigation. I hope to avoid my fungal problems going forward.

    Any chance you can let me/us know what brand and model of system you bought?

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    Sherri Medley Reply:

    I’d like to know that as well.

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  13. Now I know why your blog is popular…you are a very good writer! I found myself chuckling in several places.
    In my region, you have to find a good way to irrigate and drip is the way to go. My system is not automated and I have to go out and move the hose from one drip setup to another using quick-connects. It has evolved over the years but works very well. We have to apply enough water to keep the salt levels low and drip works well for this. I am the male “spousal unit” and I have to do this for no other reward than good, nutritious vegetables. It’s enough!

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  14. Jennifer Hall on

    You are quite the wit! I very much enjoyed this blog post.
    I want to share on Facebook…can I?

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  15. My husband set up a system like yours when I was 8 months pregnant the summer before last. It. Was. AWESOME.

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