Low pressure irrigation of duck pond water

Discussion in 'DIY / Self Sufficiency' started by Evan164, Mar 29, 2018.

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  1. Evan164

    Evan164 Hatching

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    20180329_181306.jpg Hi, I am trying to set up a "duckponics" irrigation set up for a vegie patch i'm putting in and was hoping for some advice from forum members. I have half buried an old bath tub for my ducks to use as a pond on a higher part of the garden. I have plumbed underneath to where the 2 garden beds will be, at a lower point in the garden. The idea is that the water will gravity feed from the bath, and irrigate the beds.

    My initial idea was just to use thin irrigation pipe with small holes drilled into it as drip irrigation, but most sources online caution against doing this because it gives an inconsistent spread of water and recommend using emitters that control the flow at the drip point. My issue with these is that the water will be dirty (which may clog the emitters) and low pressure. Does anyone have any experience building a setup like this, and what did you find worked best? I'm hoping to learn from others success/failures if I can. Thanks.

    I've attached a photo I took tonight, sorry for the poor quality but it was getting dark. Hopefully you get an idea. You can see the ducks impatiently waiting for the tub to refill.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2018
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  2. Nardo

    Nardo Crowing

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  3. Emmaxx

    Emmaxx Songster

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    I haven't got any experience myself but have done a lot of reading about duckponics (although I myself much prefer the ring 'quaquaponics' has to it ;)) of late, and would also be interested in hearing others input on this subject, although I'm not sure your system really qualifies as the water isn't recirculated, if we want to get all technical about things :D

    Have you tried anything out yet or made any updates? I'm sure you have already encountered the problems that I can foresee with your system, whether trying either irrigation method or just emptying the tub for your ladies! That being the need for some sort of filter for all the sludge/feathers/assorted crap they've dragged in with them.

    As for the irrigation itself, from the opinion of someone who's never attempted anything of the sort, if the water is dirty enough to block emitters then would it not also block holes drilled in the irrigation pipe? I would also assume that the bigger the holes you drill the more pressure you would lose, so simply increasing the diameter of the holes to stop them blocking wouldn't work?
    I had to google what emitters were (that's how little knowledge I have so please forgive me if I'm talking nonsense) and see that there are 'pressure compensating' emitters for various flow rates, so would that be what you were recommended? I think if you could use them, if needed, no improve the flow you get, and something to filter the larger of the debris from the water then it could work great! How far apart are the beds and the bath? would it be possible to add a gravel bed along the water's journey to your beds? This could serve as part of a filter system and maybe also play host to some beneficial bacteria that would help to kick start the process of breaking stuff down so it's not all done in your beds and the plants can benefit sooner.
    Could this second, closer reservoir help create more pressure, or would you lose pressure at the pipes if it has less distance to travel?

    Emma
     
  4. HoopyFrood

    HoopyFrood Songster

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    @Evan164 Very interesting! Do you have an irrigation shut off valve so you can just water when you want to? What is the elevation difference between the top of the tub and the lower garden beds?

    I would agree you do NOT want to use the small low pressure emitters, they will likely clog. Perforated t-tape MIGHT work, but maybe not. Mine run at 10 psi and you'll never get even a fraction of that pressure with a typical gravity fed system.

    How are the irrigation lines running in the garden beds? Are they buried or do you envision them running along the top of the beds?

    I don't know if this will matter, but what are the dimensions of the two lower beds?
     
  5. Evan164

    Evan164 Hatching

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    Hi guys, thanks for replying . Sorry it's taken me so long to get back to my own thread.

    As yet I haven't done a whole lot more with the irrigation as I have had to do some brickwork around the garden beds to level them out , as they are on a slope, but I have nearly finished that.

    After seeing how much gunk comes out when the tub is emptied, I agree that emitters would be a waste of time and money. At this stage I just have a male hose connection at the end of the pipe coming from the tub and am just running a garden hose from that into the beds. This works fine for the time being but requires moving the hose around the bed as the tub empties so I still want to get a better setup.

    One thing I have learned is that having the male hose at the end of the pipe coming from the tub is great as I can plug a hose from the tap into it and flush the pipe easily and even refill the tub that way. The easiest way to clean the tub has been with an old broom - once the water is low just start sweeping and use the momentum of the water and it carries all the silt out of the tub with it.

    My plan for now is probably to have the poly pipe around the edge and attached to the inside of the sleepers with saddle clamps to keep it level. I think this will help keep the water distribution even. Then I will use "T" joins along the pipe at intervals, with the perpendicular end of the joiner open to allow water to flow out into the bed. This way the opening will be a as wide as the pipe and shouldn't clog. The plan is to fix it near the surface to further minimize the chance of dirt getting in and clogging the pipe.

    The elevation of the bed is not much, just enough that the tub will drain completely, so as you can imagine, very low pressure!

    At the moment I have a tap at the end of the pipe running from the tub, so I can choose when to water but plan to set it up so I have taps to individual beds.

    The two beds are 2.4 x 2.4 metre squares.
     
  6. HoopyFrood

    HoopyFrood Songster

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    Yes, that sounds like it would be very prone to clogging so a large orifice is a good idea. Since the elevation difference is so low you should have problems with rushing water over your beds.

    Using the tee fittings could work. Another option might be to just perforate the poly pipes by drilling large (say 2-3cm) holes into it?

    Good luck!
     
  7. Evan164

    Evan164 Hatching

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    Update: Spent a lot of time trying to figure the best way to do this. I think what I might do is set up one bed as an experiment and go from there. I'll just use a hose for the other bed for the time being until I know if it will work or not. That way I won't have spent too much money if it's a failure.
     

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