I realized my mistake the first time I went to fill up my water tower. There I was stumbling over rocky terrain, with 56lb of water in each hand. For someone weighing only 140lb, hauling 110lb of water on rough terrain is no fun. Then I had to climb up the ladder pulling and pushing one of the water cubes up with me, and that too, was no fun. My original plan had been to pump the water using a 12V pump, but after my recent solar panel issues, I didn’t have enough power to run the pump. The only available power was in my car, but because I had placed the water tower about 30 yards away from the road, running the pump off my car wasn’t an option.
The solution seemed simple. If the water tower were closer to the road, I wouldn’t have to haul water far, and I’d also be able to run the pump off my car. But, would I be able to move this 8ft tall structure that’s made of a dozen two-by-fours? I considered rolling it end over end, Katamari-style, but that seemed precarious. It then occurred to me that the 6ft long “feet” I’d attached to the bottom of the legs might work as skids, and I’d be able to just drag the whole thing, over rocks and all. I added a couple of diagonal support pieces to reinforce the structure in the axis of movement, then off I went. It turned out to be a lot easier, and managed to find a nice flat patch of ground, about 10ft from the road, between the hut and the garden.
At the new location, pumping water into the water container is really simple. I shut off the drain valve, hook up the drain hose to the pump, hook up the pump to my car battery, open the valve, and away it pumps. It takes a little while to prime, but once it gets going, it’ll empty a 7 gallon water cube in a couple of minutes.
Once I got water up into the tower, I started laying down soaker hoses. I laid down a garden hose down the middle of my garden hose, then stuck barbed 1/4″ hose connectors into it to connect 1/4″ soaker hoses off of it. I used metal wires bent in a u-shape to stake down the hoses, and once I got the hang of it, it went pretty fast.
I’ve had the system running for about a day and a half now, and the biggest problem is the flow rate. It drained about 40 gallons in a day and a half, which is way too fast. I need a full water container (50 gallons) to last me about a week, which should be enough since I’ve been using around 6 gallons a day when watering with a can. I got some valves which might help with the flow rate, but if not, I also got a timer so that I can limit how long/often it runs. Ironically, the flow rate might be high because there’s too much pressure, and this whole time, I was worried about not having enough. Another issue is that, some of the holes I opened in the garden hose might be leaking, so instead of poking holes in the hose, I’m going to use 3/4″ splitters and 3/4″-to-1/4″ reducers instead.
Anyway, with a few adjustments, hopefully I’ll have the garden running itself soon.
Good to hear watering is easier.
When is your first frost?
Hey there! hope the garden is going well! seems like you have the most difficult part (irrigation) in full swing! i love reading about your gardening and all the trials of living on your own land, off the grid. I hope to live off the grid someday….
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