What can I reuse or recycle to make an irrigation system?

I’m lucky because, working from home, I can take a plant-watering break pretty much whenever I or they need it – but I thought it was worth asking for people who have to leave their veggies baking in their greenhouse all day without a comfort break.

Above ground sprinkler type things (like the one in the picture) are apparently very inefficient at watering veggies – too much of the water evaporates on the surface before it has a chance to get down to the roots.

I’ve heard of people using holey old garden hose as a makeshift drip irrigation system but that seems like it might be a little hard to manage the flow – in my mind, the question has a second part that didn’t fit in the headline up there: “how can I make a reused or recycled irrigation system that doesn’t waste too much water?”

Any ideas?

(It’s also important to consider preventative water-loss measures – mulching and the like – which cut down on the amount of water lost to evaporation — what’s your favourite reuse/recycle for that sort of thing?)

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4 Responses to “What can I reuse or recycle to make an irrigation system?”

  1. Bobbie says:

    I would do a drip system and the first thing would be to incorporate rain barrels in my plan: Here are a few examples at instructables.com http://tiny.cc/dyw40

  2. chicgeek says:

    I’ve mulched with thick layers of newspaper and cardboard, and I spread a little mulch on top. It biodegraded nicely, and smothered weeds without using chemicals. Water very early in the morning, or late in the day, to avoid it all evaporating. I’ve heard of using a empty plastic jug with a tiny hole or two in the bottom. Fill it, set it by your plant, and the water seeps into the soil. Nice if you have a new tree or shrub that needs the water. But, a long soak is better than a fast spray, to let the water sink in. You don’t want to encourage a bunch of roots right at the surface, you want them deep. Oh, and they make something called a soaker hose. Just a hose, with evenly spaced holes. One could probably make one from an old hose.
    A store I used to work at changed hands, and they were going to dumpster all the paper shopping bags. I took all I could and mulched my garden with them that year!

  3. Alice says:

    Where I work we shred lots of confidential documents, and then have to pay to get someone to collect it for recycling.

    I help reduce that cost by taking loads of shredded paper home with me – it makes a great mulch, it mixes nicely in with my “green” waste to make good compost, and it’s good for starting off bonfires as it burns really well.

  4. Nyge says:

    This idea might suit you. It is about holding water back in a drip feed and then delivering it in a burst so as to water all plants in a tray.
    In the roof of your garage arrange a row of plastic containers into which your drip water feed delivers. In plan view the containers need to be about twice as long as wide.
    The setup is described viewing the container from its longest side: From the left and at the top insert a rod about 1/3 of the way along the longest side which will allow the container to rock from end to end. The drip feed into the container should be from above and on the left side. Using a large nut and bolt fasten this at the left end so that the position of another nut can be adjusted along the thread allowing it to move to the left (or back to the right). At the right end and at the bottom make a large hole and below it arrange a plastic catchment container fitted with a hose delivery pipe to supply the tray in need of watering.
    Operation : Adjust the drip rate and adjust the nut/bolt weight such that when the container fills it goes down at the right to allow water to exit fast – almost all the water should exit before the container resets itself in the position to refill in its own time. It is a sort of automatic flush system .. be patient as it may need some experimentation to perfect.
    This system works – it has been tried and tested… you will either love it or hate it!

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