Thursday, May 13, 2010

Watering System for the Tomatoes

So, I know I said that i'd do a watering system for the tomato plants on the deck last weekend...butttt... I had my hands full of other stuff.
Unbeknownest to me while I was performing a hyper-critical daddy job (napping with the baby to get her to stay asleep for a healthy amount of time) Irene went out and piped up the tomatoes for drip watering....

All that was left for me to do was figure out how to get the water to the drip piping. Since the remodel we don't have any outside spigots anywhere in the back half of the house!?!? It didn't make sense to me to run a line from one far corner of the house to the other so I went looking for another solution.

Luckily our house has several abandoned water lines in random places in the house. I found one with a newish looking 1/2" plug that I thought I could remove and figure something out.

Yay for lots of plumbing-fire fittings and widgets. I didn't need to buy anything to make it work. The drip tubing is 1/4" and with the sleeves will work nicely with these compression fittings. So, here's all the fittings that were required. The fitting on the right is the adaptor to go into the 1/2" fitting.

Here's the abandoned cold water line....Look at that ollllld galv water line and all that corrosion...the chances of being able to unscrew that plug without loosening ancient old pipes sealed by corrosion and creating new leaks is very low...
This fricken plug was put in by the foundation contractor to remove some plumbing that was in the way...they didn't use any tape to seal it they just cranked the life outta it! I had to use my 18" pipe wrenches to loosen it!?!? What are the chances that the top part of that pipe aren't going to leak?

Here's a wonky picture of the adaptor installed and the black drip tubing leading up through an existing hole in the wall.

Ya I know that this isn't fine home building..its just a temporary solution so I don't kill the tomatoes.

The tubing goes up to this super wonky zip-tied valve on the baluster near the back door.

Now I just have to open the back door and turn the valve and the tomatoes get's not wifi enabled and I can't turn it on from a web interface but I think Noel is working on that one?

Here's a picture of a great trip hazard I created with the bad route job I did...That first step is a doozy!

Here is the drip watering in action. I have to admit I don't understand this set-up. The black ring is a 'soaker hose' I think but to me it seems way bigger than it needs to be. Like is the water even going to get to the tomato plant? Also, as far as it being a soaker hose it shoots these teeny-tiny jets of water in completely random direction along its circumfrence? Some of that water is shooting on the plant. Isn't that bad? Like won't it sunburn the plant? I partially burried the soaker hose so there are no more jets of water shooting everywhere.

Now I just have to remember to turn it on and then figure out how long I need to turn it on for at a time to water the plants correctly...sounds like an experiment to me! Science!

Well I double checked for leaks and I got very lucky nothing is leaking!! Hurray! Maybe there is a chance of getting this multicolored tomato plant thing going. Man, I can't wait to make salsa with all of these tomatoes and with the peppers we're growing...I actually don't know when they are supposed to produce fruit...maybe we'll have some by the July 4th BBQ?


Ayse said...

That is awesome. The kind of totally hacked solution we would come up with.

We usually get our first tomatoes in very late June/early July.

The drip tubing is spraying like that because it's under too much pressure to drip. Not a huge deal; you can add a pressure reducer or just cover it with a little dirt or mulch to direct the water down. And water on the leaves won't sun-burn them; that's only true of really delicate plants.

The MadScientist said...

the high pressure thing might be why a couple of the connections popped off and sprayed me!
Actually the amount of water delievered is VERY different for each seemingly identical loop of soaker hose!?!!?!!? With the one on the end delivering the most!?!?!
I'm going to have to figure out some way to tailor the water to each pot more exactly. The pots get super hot and I've been watering them twice a day so far and it hasn't been REALLY hot yet...

hose fittings said...

What a fantastic invention you got there! It made me smile looking at your materials that you used to make a good and reliable watering system. Two thumbs up for you pal!

The MadScientist said...

Hose fittings you need to figure out how to get geographical info from blogs when your spam bot is crawling them. There ain't no way no how someone in the U.S. is going to order plumbing supplies from you in England!?!?!?

Jessamyn said...

You can get U-clip staples meant to hold wiring in place at the hardware store to reduce that, er, tripping hazard!

plumbing supplies said...

When on vacation do not turn heat off completely in your home. This can cause damage to your water pipes that can damage your tomatoes.

pressure washer hose said...

Cool! I think I also need to make a watering system for my garden. Thanks for sharing this post. Keep posting.