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Example of Drip System and Related Components – Courtesy Wiki Commons and Jain Irrigation Note: the design of the grids at the Garland Community Garden will be different and we won’t have all these components as we are not drawing our water from a well. However this illustration does include all the parts we will be using: Main line, sub-main line, flush valve, emitter lines that will deliver the water, end stops etc.  Our hose bib (faucet) will be connected with a battery-operated timer, backflow, y-filter reducer and a ½ inch adapter to one of the faucets.

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You are invited to assist in building a Hose Bib (faucet) Drip Irrigation System at the Garland Community Garden.  You can use the knowledge gained in this experience to install a drip irrigation system for your own garden and you can have some fun working with members of Loving Garland Green.  Check out our new Little Free Library while you are there and have some coffee and donuts with us.  We look forward to meeting other interested urban gardeners and water conservationists.

 

PLACE:  GARLAND COMMUNITY GARDEN

Time:  9:00AM Saturday, July 1, 2017

Address:  4022 Naaman School Road

Garland, Texas 75040

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Back in the spring our Dallas County Extension Agent, Stephen Hudkins, along with Jeff Raska, Project Specialist, Dallas County Office (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service) graciously met with members of Loving Garland Green to teach us how to build a hose bib drip irrigation system.

Mr. Raska holds an example of a drip irrigation grid that we will be building on Saturday.  Mr. Hudkins reviews his notes—Garland Community Garden March 29, 2017 

Under the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension’s Earth-Kind Management system, they recommend drip irrigation as one of the most effective water conservation practices.

Drip irrigation is a low volume water delivery system that is 90% efficient compared to the traditional spray head applications that are sometimes only 50% effective at delivering water to the root zone.  Drip irrigation reduced irrigation runoff as the slow application of water increases the soil capacity to absorb water deeply.  This deep absorption contributes to deep root growth and a healthier root system for the plant.  Also, delivering water directly to the plant’s root system keeps water off the leaves that can increase plant diseases and attract pests.

The grids that we are constructing on Saturday are composed of drip line tubing with pressure-regulated emitters spaced every 12 inches.  The outer frame of the grid is built first.  It should be about six inches in from the border of the bed.  The inner grid lines will be about 12 inches apart.  Inner grid lines are connected with T connectors.  Once the line is pressurized with water, the emitters open and distribute water according to the gallons per hour rating of the drip line used.

The key point for any drip irrigation system such as this one is that it is a closed system.  This means that builders must pay close attention to ensure that end caps are placed on all emitter lines.  The figure above shows the end caps.  Without an end cap on one of the emitter lines, the water would just flow through the tubing and onto an area not intending for watering.

We are building our drip system in stages.  On Saturday we will only be building the grids for the bed in the Garland Community Garden.  Since we’ve never done this before, we don’t know how long it will take.  We may need several sessions to complete Build One. 

Overview of a Drip System and Planned 3-Step Build for the Garland Community Garden

A drip irrigation system consists of three sections:  1) the parts that drip which are installed on top of the bed; 2) the mainline tubing that does not drip but delivers the water from the faucet to the parts that do drip; 3) the parts near the faucet such as the y-splitter which yields multiple faucet heads, battery operated timer, back-flow, and 1/2 –inch adapter to one of the faucets.  Accordingly we will construct our drip irrigation system in three builds that are described as follows:

1.  Assemble Drip-Line Grids (sub-main lines) for beds

Imagine this scene:  Taking breaks and even working beneath the cool shade a pecan tree that is older than you are while working with members of Loving Garland Green to complete Build One of our drip irrigation system:  assembling the drip line grids for each of the beds in the Garland Community Garden.

There will be no hard work. This is light assembly.  Coffee and breakfast rolls will be served.  During this time you can learn all about Drip Irrigation systems as we were fortunate to learn first-hand from two Texas AgriLife experts. 

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2.  Install the main lines that will supply water to the beds

It will be critical to have the positions for the main lines clearly marked off the day before the trenches are dug.  The main lines are ½ inch poly irrigation tubing with no emitters that run from the faucet to each of the bed grids.   After the grids are assembled for all the beds, the next step is to put in the supply lines.  To do this we will be following these steps: 

1.  Mark a direct path to the area we are irrigating.

2.  Dig a small, 6 to 8-inch deep trench for the supply line

3.  Branch off the supply line.  We will have connected branching lines in trenches to every bed in the garden.

4. Cover the trenches

NOTE:  We anticipate the work for Build Two to take 8 hours and will require rental of equipment to dig the trenches.  Most likely we will mark the places for the supply trenches the day before.

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3.  Install all the necessary parts at the faucet

This is the easiest step of all.  We will connect a battery-operated timer, backflow, y-filter reducer and ½ inch adapter to the single faucet.  [Note: the other faucet will have be used to attach hoses to hand water when needed for special circumstances such as installation of transplants.]

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TIME ESTIMATE FOR COMPLETION OF DRIP IRRIGATION PROJECT:  Labor Day 2017

Overall we anticipate two months to complete this project.   

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