DIY Pumpkin Irrigation Systems

No comments

Pumpkin Irrigation

DIY Pumpkin Irrigation Systems

Pumpkins are a unique crop to grow as one plant can cover a large area.  As the plant expands from it’s original planting it will lay down additional roots from the stems themselves.   Therefore when planning a pumpkin irrigation system you must plan for watering away from the plant as well as the seedling itself.  Below is a photo of the current Ontario record pumpkin which weighed in at 1,803 pounds.  This pumpkin and it’s second place finisher at 1,800 pounds were both grown with an Irrigation Direct Canada Drip Irrigation System.

Ontario Record Pumpkin

Ryan Hoelke With His Ontario Record Pumpkin

Types of Irrigation for Pumpkin Patches

Drip Emitters vs. Emitter Tubing (Drip Line): This is the decision most Pumpkin Growers will face when initially planning an Irrigation System.  While both are equally effective and very close in installation cost, there are advantages and disadvantages of both application methods.  If your pumpkin patch is on a flat surface you can likely use either pressure compensated or non-pressure compensated emitters, however we do usually recommend pressure compensated emitters to give equal water output to each emitter.

Drip Emitters: Drip Emitters are simple to use and reliable.  They are either self-piercing or used in conjunction with a hole punch and are pierced through solid drip tubing to assemble custom drip line.

Advantages:

  • Available from .5 gph to 2 gph
  • Easy to Install and replace
  • Can be installed directly above plant roots after planting

Disadvantages:

  • Time to install for larger systems
  • Rolling up Lines can be more challenging (if necessary).

Drip Emitter Tubing: Drip Emitter tubing is manufactured with emitters installed at defined intervals. Emitter tubing is offered with a variety of options pertaining to water quality and filteration.

Advantages:

  • Available from .26 gph to 1 gph
  • Emitters pre-installed eliminating individual installation of emitters

Disadvantages:

  • Emitters at pre-defined distances and cannot be moved
  • If emitters become plugged they cannot be replaced.

For Pumpkin Patches it is really a matter of preference and either method will provide excellent results.  Additional emitters can be added to either method if adequate coverage is not being achieved.  We will now explore these methods in greater detail.

Pumpkin Patch Irrigation

Basic Planning Tips

Planning a Pumpkin Patch Irrigation System is not much different from planning any Drip Irrigation System.  The basic steps are the same and relatively easy to do, but necessary for your watering system to work efficiently.

Step 1: Put It On Paper!: You know what your layout will look like, but it always helps to illustrate the layout on paper as a first step. From this you will easily be able to calculate and document the following critical facts:

  • Water Source and Distance from Water Source to Pumpkin Patch
  • Number of Rows and Length of Rows (to calculate total drip line required)
  • Distance Between Rows (usually 12″ for Pumpkin Irrigation Systems)

This is the basic information needed to get started.

Water Source

As with all Drip Irrigation Systems one of the most important components of information needed is your Water Source capacity and pressure.  The amount of water and pressure you have available is critical to the design of the system   The flow rate and pressure availabel will help to determine how many plant you can water at any one time and how many zones you may require.  The following information will assume an existing water supply with set or municipal pressure.

Flow Rate: The easiest and most tried and true method for measuring your flow rate is the 5 gallon bucket method.  Simply fill a 5 gallon (19 Litre) bucket with your outdoor faucet or water outlet and record the time it takes to fill.  You can then calculate the flow rate based on your results.  The following is an example.

Example 1: 45 Seconds to Fill: To Calculate the flow rate you divide 60 Seconds by 45 Seconds and Multiply by 5.

Flow Rate = 60 / 45 x 5 = 6.67 Gallons Per Minute or 400 Gallons Per Hour ( 60 Minutes x 6.67 Gallons Per Minute )

Example 2: 90 Seconds To Fill:

Flow Rate = 60 / 90 x 5 = 3.33 Gallons Per Minute (GPM) or 200 Gallons Per Hour (GPH)

Pressure: Calculating pressure requires the use of a pressure gauge or an approximation of municipal pressure.  If using a pump, you may be able to dictate pressure precisely.  Pressure decrease over distance travelled in all tubing materials and the decrease increases as the size of your tubing decreases.  In addition to the static pressure loss there may also be dynamic pressure loss which is the pressure lost from emitter output down the drip line.  Below is a basic chart of pressure loss for both Poly and PVC tubing.

Poly TubingMax. Flow GPM (GPH)PSI Loss/100ftSch 40 PVCMax. Flow GPM (GPH)PSI Loss/100ft
1/2″4.6 (276)8.81/2″4.6 (276)7.7
3/4″8.2 (492)6.33/4″8.2 (492)5.6
1″13.4 (804)4.81″13.4 (804)4.2
1 1/4″23 (1380)3.11 1/4″23 (1380)3.1
1 1/2″33.8 (2028)2.91 1/2″33.8 (2028)2.9
2″52.3 (3138)1.92″52.3 (3138)1.9

As most Drip Emitters and Drip Emitter Tubing operate between 10 to 60 psi there is usually a wide range to work with but pressure loss must be considered, especially if travelling a long distance between the water source and the start of your Drip Irrigation System. The general rule of thumb is to start bigger to avoid pressure loss issues.

You are now ready to apply this information to your Pumpkin Watering System.

Pumpkin Patch Irrigation

Planning Your Pumpkin Patch Drip Lines

We will now use our water supply knowledge and apply it to a Drip Line layout.  For this discussion we will assume a flow rate of 300 gph, and pressure of 50 PSI.

Pumpkin Vines can grow up to 30 ft so a relatively large area should be set asid to grow pumpkins.  That being said with trimming and guiding of Pumpkin Vines you can grow them in smaller areas.  A good size area for a pumpkin irrigation system is 30 ft x 30 ft (10 m x 10 m) and this is what we will base our Drip Irrigation System on.  We will also have 2 pumpkin areas to water.

For this example each row will be 16″ apart which will equate to 22 rows of 30 ft each.  Each row will have 22 emitters also spaced 16″ apart.

Step 1: Calculate Number of Emitters and Water Needed – In this example we will have 484 Emitters for each pumpkin growing area (30 rows x 30 emitters each row), for a total of 968 emitters.

Step 2: Calculate Water Use Per Row and Choose Emitter Flow Rate – Choosing an emitter flow rate is one of the most critical components for planning an effective Drip Irrigation System. The decision will determine the number of rows you can water at one time while also impacting the time it takes to effectively water the entire Pumpkin Patch.  There are two factors to take into account when choosing an emitter.  The two primary factor when choosing an emitter is water availability and time to water.

In this example we have 484 plants per area to water and have 300 gph available.  In this example the flow rate is a constraining factor in our decision as we cannot use 1 gph emitters for each area.  When using emitters and blank tubing the lowest flow rate is 1/2 gph which is what we will use in this example.  Our total flow requirements for each area using 1/2 gph emitters will be 242 gph which is within our 300 gph limit.

If we are using drip emitter we can re-evaluate our flow needs as drip emitter tubing emitters are offered as low as .26 gph which can enable you to water more than one zone at the same time depending on the spacing of emitters used within the tubing.

Step 3: Planning Your Zone Layout – When deciding on a zone layout for Drip Irrigation systems we always recommend to be conservative when planning your zone layout.  Having more zones serves a few purposes; firstly it will ensure the zone has adaquate water supply to feed the emitters, and secondly provides more control over the entire system if for instance one zone has been harvested and needs to be shut off from the rest of the system.

For this illustration we have 2 zones to accomodate our water restriction of 300 gph.  Below is an illustration of the layout as well as a photo of the installation.

We will now look at the various connection options for installing your pumpkin irrigation system.

Pumpkin Patch Irrigation

Water Source Connection

Now that we have our layout designed we can start to put together the components for your pumpkin watering system.  As with most all drip irrigation systems the water source connection is comprised of a shut off (manual or automated), a filter, and pressure regulator.  The filter and pressure regulator are always located downstream of the shut off.  For our pumpkin irrigation example we have 2 zones and will therefore need two drip zones.  Below is a sample illustration followed by a parts list.

We can now look at the parts list required for this water source connection.  There are many product options when choosing a water source connection assembly but many times it comes down to using pipe thread or hose thread components.  Both get the job done however pipe thread connections tend to be more duable than hose thread connections.  Below we have illustrated a few options for our example.

Hose ThreadPipe ThreadDescription
Flow Control.   For hose thread systems it’s common to simply use an irrigation timer, however it’s also possible to use standard irrigation valves.  Regardless of how you choose to set up your system, the flow control valve is always connected before Filters, and Regulators.
TimersControllers
Filters are available in both Pipe Thread and Hose Thread.  You also have the option of choosing a disc filter over standard screen filters.
DD-YS75HFMDF075-140
Pressure Regulators are usually connected to the Drip Irrigation Filter.  Depending on initial pressure of the system the most common regulators are between 25 and 35 psi for drip systems.
DD-HPR25NET35
Connection To Distribution Tubing  
3/4″ Tubing
When connecting a 3/4″ Line to water source components you have choices depending on the type of 3/4″ Tubing you are using.  If you are using 940 Series Solid Drip Tubing you can use any of the 3 components listed.  However if you are using 100 PSI Poly Tubing compression fittings CHS940 and CFP940 will not connect properly and the 1435-007 should be used.
DD-CHS9401435-007

or

DD-CFP940

1/2″ TubingConnections when using 1/2″ Tubing for Smaller Systems
When using 1/2″ Solid Drip Line as your distribution line you can either choose direct lock fittings for hose thread, or compression fittings for pipe thread.
DL-FHS600DD-CFP700

We will now move on to the drip line connnections for our sample pumpkin irrigation system.

Pumpkin Patch Irrigation

Drip Irrigation Line Connection Examples

We can now look at the options you have for connecting drip lines for a pumpkin drip irrigation system.

For the illustration (above) we are using as an example we can look at 4 options for connecting drip lines.

  1. Solid Drip Tubing with Self Piercing Emitters Non-Removable Lines
  2. Solid Drip Tubing with Self Piercing Emitters w/Removalbe Lines
  3. Drip Emitter Tubing with Non-Removable Lines
  4. Drip Emitter Tubing with Removable Lines.

In these illustrations all lines are removable with some effort but “removable lines” are removed via swivel connectrs while “non-removable lines” need to be pulled from the connection assembly.  It is a matter of convenience.

1. Solid Drip Tubing with Self Piercing Emitters Non-Removable Lines

KT007DDawn Quick Tap Saddle or Blu-Lock Saddle and Tap combination.  As noted above alternative fittings can be substituted for these products.
207-020Nipple fitting to connect T fitting to flow control valve.  If no flow control is desired for individual drip lines this part can be omitted.  Various lengths are available in the Nipple Fitting category.
0921-07Flow Control for individual drip line is recommended to shut off harvested lines.  If flow control isn’t desired or necessary this component and the 207-020 nipple fitting can be removed from the assembly.
DL-75M6003/4″ Male Pipe Thread fitting x Direct Lock to connect flow control valve to the drip line.
TLS6Hold down stake for tubing up to 3/4″
DD-SPCV05Self Piercing Pressure Compensated Drip Emitter .5 gph.
DL-EC600End Cap for end of each drip line.  Removable cap for easy drainage and winterization.
DH700-1000700 Series Solid Drip Tubing Available in 50, 100, 500 and 1,000 ft rolls.
DH940-100940 Series 3/4″ Solid Drip Tubing.

2. Solid Drip Tubing with Self Piercing Emitters w/Removable Lines

As you can see from the above illustration to adjust the configuration to enable lines to be easily removable for re-location or winterization an additional nipple fitting is added and the 75M600 is replaced with a DD-CMP700.  As with the non-removable system, if no flow control is desired or required the DD-CMP700 can be directly inserted into the Quick Tap assembly.

Alternative Methods For Installing Drip Lines with Solid Drip Tubing

Before we move on to components for installing drip emitter tubing we will show you a few quick methods for installing drip lines to a lateral distribution line.  These methods require the distribution line to be cut for installation as opposed to the convenience of using saddles and taps.  The components used may be slightly less durable but high quality nonetheless.  These methods can only be employed using 940 series solid drip tubing.

Non RemovableRemovableDescription
Components used to connect 940 series tubing to lateral distribution lines.  The DD-CST940 has a swivel FHT T for removing drip lines.
DD-T940700DD-CST940
Compression Direct To TubingWhen connecting a 1/2″ to 3/4″ drip line using a T940700 all sides are compression and not removable.  When using a CST940 a DL-MH600 can be used to connect to the 1/2″ drip line.
NoneDL-MH600
Flow Control If desired.  Direct Loc fittings can be removed while compression can not.
DD-FCV700DL-FHS600
After connection to 700 series 1/2″ solid drip tubing the remainder of the components listed above remain the same.

We will now move on to component options when using Drip Emitter Tubing.

Pumpkin Patch Irrigation

Drip Irrigation Line Connection Examples For Drip Emitter Tubing

We can now look at the options you have for connecting drip emitter tubing lines for a pumpkin drip irrigation system.

For the illustration (above) we are using as an example we have looked at 2 options for connecting drip lines and will now look at connection assemblies using Drip Emitter Tubing.

  1. Solid Drip Tubing with Self Piercing Emitters Non-Removable Lines (previous page).
  2. Solid Drip Tubing with Self Piercing Emitters w/Removalbe Lines (previous page).
  3. Drip Emitter Tubing.

3. Drip Emitter Tubing Connection Assemblies

When using Drip Emitter Tubing vs Solid Tubing with Emitters there are a few advantages and disadvantages to be aware of:

Advantages:

  1. Broader range of lower flow rates from Emitters.
  2. Easy installation (no punching emtters through tubing)

Disadvantages:

  1. When emitters clog they can’t be replaced.
  2. Set Emitter spacing (tubing must be special ordered for large spacing).

Choosing a Drip Emitter Tubing

When choosing a Drip Emitter Tubing there are options to consider depending on the characteristics of your Drip Irrigation System.  Irrigation Direct offers three styls of drip line for large garden applications as outlined below.

  1. Techline EZ – Intended for the DIY customer TLEZ is a durable drip line from Netafim with pressure compensated emitters with flow rates from .26 – .9 gph.  TLEZ is less expensive than competing brands while giving you quality you would expect from Netafim.
  2. Techline DL – For slightly longer runs Techline DL from Netafim uses pressure compensated emitters and is a popular choice for our Canadian climate.  Available in a wide range of flow rates.
  3. Uniram – Uniram is the choice for customers who encounter problems with water quality.  With outstanding filtering capabilities Uniram can be used in challenging circumstances.  Uniram is available on a special order bases with a minimum of 3,000 ft per order.

For a complete listing of Drip Emitter Tubing offered click here.

We will now look at a few options for connecting Drip Emitter Tubing to solid dristribution tubing.

  1. Drip Emitter Tubing with insert fittings (not intended for removing Drip Emitter Tubing lines).
  2. Drip Emitter Tubing with Swivel Adapter connections for easy removal of Drip Lines.

Drip Emitter Tubing with insert fittings (not intended for removing Drip Emitter Tubing lines)

TLEZ 12mmTLDL & Uniram
KT007DKT007DDawn Quick Tap Saddle or Blu-Lock Saddle and Tap combination.  As noted above alternative fittings can be substituted for these products.
T12075MATL075MAMale Adatpter for both 12mm (T12075MA) or 17mm (TL075MA)
T12SOVTLSOVFlow (if desired) can be connected using a small piece of Drip Emitter Tubing from the male adapter.  T12SOV for TLEZ 12mm tubing and TLSOV for 17mm tubing.
TLS6TLS6Hold down stake for tubing up to 3/4″
T12SOVTLSOV Flow control valves can also be used for easy drainage of drip lines. Alternatively figure 8 fittings can be used to kink and seal the end of each line.
oror
T12F8DD-F8

 

Drip Emitter Tubing with Insert Fittings with Swivel Adapters for Easy Removal

There are no swivel adapters specifically made for 12mm and 17mm tubing therefore a combinations of fittings can be used to enable easy removal of drip lines.

TLEZ 12mmTLDL & Uniram
KT007DKT007DDawn Quick Tap Saddle or Blu-Lock Saddle and Tap combination.  As noted above alternative fittings can be substituted for these products.
207-020207-0203/4″ Nipple Fitting to connect Saddle T to Flow Control Valve.
0921-070921-07Flow Control Valve.  If not necessary DD-MH6 can be directly connected to the Saddle T.
DD-MH6DD-MH6Converts Pipe Thread to Hose Thread.
DD-FH7DD-FH7Swivel Adapter Male Hose x Male Hose.  This is the component necessary to allow easy removal of line.
DD-MH7DD-MH7Swivel Adapter to convert back to Pipe Thread to allow connection to the Drip Emitter Tubing Male Adapter.
T12075MATL075MAMale Adatpter for both 12mm (T12075MA) or 17mm (TL075MA)
TLS6TLS6Hold down stake for tubing up to 3/4″
T12SOVTLSOV Flow control valves can also be used for easy drainage of drip lines. Alternatively figure 8 fittings can be used to kink and seal the end of each line.
oror
T12F8DD-F8

Connecting Drip Lines from 1/2″ Solid Drip Tubing

For smaller systems it may be possible to conect drip lines to 1/2″ Solid Drip Tubing (when flow rate for drip lines is under 250 gph).  The following components provide the best connection combination and allow for easy removal of drip lines.

TLEZ 12mmTLDL & Uniram
24-06524-065Dawn Quick Tap Saddle or Blu-Lock Saddle and Tap combination.  As noted above alternative fittings can be substituted for these products.
T12075MATL075MA3/4″ Nipple Fitting to connect Saddle T to Flow Control Valve.
irrigationdirectDIY Pumpkin Irrigation Systems

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *