Drip irrigation for second grow

Hey all. Wrapping up my first grow now and planning my second to take into account what I learned. My first grow was 2 plants and I’d spend a good amount of time mixing my nutrients every 3-4 days. I’d mix in my 1 gallon milk jugs and then administering 1/2 gallon to each plant. I’m planning to go to 3-4 plants for my next grow and don’t want to be mixing multiple batches of solutions. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

So, I figured I’d share what I’m planning to do. I think I can get a drip system set up for pretty cheap. But, we shall see how it goes. I just know that I’d much rather mix a solution of 1.5-2 gallons in a bucket that I can pump equally to my plants over mixing multiple batchespoor into smaller watering cans multiple times to feed a higher quantity of plants.

I know this is not revolutionary, and I’m sure there are guides out there somewhere. But, I’d rather think thru it myself.

I found a small pump from Menards for $15 and a 6 feed manifold for ~$3. That’s the bulk of the system and the rest is a bucket, a couple sizes of hose, a sprinkler and fittings.

see below for my plan graphic. I’ll update this thread as I build it. But I don’t intend to even start germinating my second grow until I know I have this dialed in.


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Skip the drip emitters. I'd just run naked lines of 1/4" tubing to each plant. If you are doing large plants you could use an octabubbler and run 2-4 lines to each plant to keep the watering even. Otherwise for 2-4 plants you could just punch right into a piece of 1/2 tubing and skip the manifold. And a little eco pump right in the bucket is all you really need.
And make sure the plants are higher than the level in the res or it will siphon drain it and end up on the floor.
 
Fair enough. I’ll try it in a few different ways I’m sure. I already have a bunch of drip fittings and parts from other outdoor systems I’ve done.

good tip on the elevation. That’ll be a pita as I have tent on the floor. One thing I’ll probably end up doing to counter that is to only put the amount I want to water in the bucket. It’ll run dry then.

I suppose it could even be a gravity system, but I don’t feel confident in punching holes into a bucket and having fittings actually seal well.
 
You can install a siphon break too, I just put a reversed check valve T'd off the main line just above the res. After the irrigation is over it just sucks air Into the check valve instead of nutrients from the res. I had to tke it apart and weaken the spring to make it work effectively mind you. Or you can buy commercial vacuum breaks for it that do the same thing.
 
Hey guys, im new here and to the cultivation scene. So im just reading for information. So correct me if im wrong, is this just a watering system for your plants in soil?
 
You can install a siphon break too, I just put a reversed check valve T'd off the main line just above the res. After the irrigation is over it just sucks air Into the check valve instead of nutrients from the res. I had to tke it apart and weaken the spring to make it work effectively mind you. Or you can buy commercial vacuum breaks for it that do the same thing.
I’ll give it a shot and see where it takes me. But I’ll def keep an eye out for this. I’d much rather design my watering system around this than lift my tent up or so.

Hey guys, im new here and to the cultivation scene. So im just reading for information. So correct me if im wrong, is this just a watering system for your plants in soil?
correct, that is my intent. This is not for hydro, just to make my life easier to water more plants.
 
Got a bit more detailed now. I’d like to work it all out mentally before I head to menards as I’ll be building the piping in my cart as I pick it from the shelves.

A bit more background on why I’m doing this is my first grow I was in standard pots. Now I’ve got 5 air pots to give a whirl. I used one of the air pots to plant a tomato. I’ve noticed the watering in this air pot is much more finicky than a standard pot. I’ll have to water much slower so it doesn’t just saturate the top 1/3 of the pot and runout everywhere. Having the ability to meter 1/2 gallon over an hour will be awesome, I think.....

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AnselAdams

Staff member
Supporter
Hey all. Wrapping up my first grow now and planning my second to take into account what I learned. My first grow was 2 plants and I’d spend a good amount of time mixing my nutrients every 3-4 days. I’d mix in my 1 gallon milk jugs and then administering 1/2 gallon to each plant. I’m planning to go to 3-4 plants for my next grow and don’t want to be mixing multiple batches of solutions. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

So, I figured I’d share what I’m planning to do. I think I can get a drip system set up for pretty cheap. But, we shall see how it goes. I just know that I’d much rather mix a solution of 1.5-2 gallons in a bucket that I can pump equally to my plants over mixing multiple batchespoor into smaller watering cans multiple times to feed a higher quantity of plants.

I know this is not revolutionary, and I’m sure there are guides out there somewhere. But, I’d rather think thru it myself.

I found a small pump from Menards for $15 and a 6 feed manifold for ~$3. That’s the bulk of the system and the rest is a bucket, a couple sizes of hose, a sprinkler and fittings.

see below for my plan graphic. I’ll update this thread as I build it. But I don’t intend to even start germinating my second grow until I know I have this dialed in.


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Welcome to The Farm!! 🍻 🥂

I love seeing someone else try this. Going to pull up a chair and see how yours turns out.

There are lots of folks here to help; including myself. I am a hydro grower and i too grow in hydroton (clay pebbles) two plants in a 40 gallon rez x 2. So i will be haning out over in the corner.

Happy Growing & Good Luck. 🍻😎 Btw yours is a lot less complicated than my setup which failed miserably. 😢 IMHO because it was too complicated.
 
Welcome to The Farm!! 🍻 🥂

I love seeing someone else try this. Going to pull up a chair and see how yours turns out.

There are lots of folks here to help; including myself. I am a hydro grower and i too grow in hydroton (clay pebbles) two plants in a 40 gallon rez x 2. So i will be haning out over in the corner.

Happy Growing & Good Luck. 🍻😎 Btw yours is a lot less complicated than my setup which failed miserably. 😢 IMHO because it was too complicated.
Thanks! Been a good 3 months since I germed my first MJ seed. This site has helped a TON. I tried a few other forums originally and none were very active or helpful.

I’m growing in soil tho. No hydro for me. I may try it one day, but soil for now.
 
If you're using a little eco pump or something like that you won't need the pressure regulator. Those pumps have good GPM but really low pressure. You only need a regulator if you're using like a 1/4hp submersible.

Instead of the regulator, You should install an inline Y filter.
 
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If I put a Y filter in, won’t that filter out some of the particulate when I add nutrients? I’ll be feeding directly from a bucket that I’ll be treating the water for pH and any additives.

or, is it really to get the large debris like sand or soil that may be in my bucket?
 
If I put a Y filter in, won’t that filter out some of the particulate when I add nutrients? I’ll be feeding directly from a bucket that I’ll be treating the water for pH and any additives.
No it's a small micron mesh screen, you shouldnt ever be feeding particulates, all the nutrients should be fully dissolved. I have a Y filter on my system and have never had an issue with it clogging or blocking nutrients or bennies or anything.

And if you use a manifold or emitters, a filter is kind of a must have.
 
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Got it. I’ll give it a look. I just know when I mix up a feeding the night before, there is a little bit that settles overnight so I’ll shake it up before giving it.
 
Here’s what I’ve done, pump 1/2” threaded pipe out of pump to threaded “T” fitting, the short pipe side is where I’ve got a bleeder hole and I can unscrew the cap fitting to uncover that should I need it to get the pump pumping fully. Look for the pumps that have all the fittings and will accept 1/2” pipe thread on the top, as they have that nice snorkel. Regular sprinkler piping to the eight head manifold (these have a filter that unscrews in the center for cleaning). Then run the 1/4” tubing to a T, I used a punch to poke holes through both sides of the smaller tubing to form a drip ring around my individual plants. Works good, I’ve got a smaller pump that I put into the reservoir for mixing. The pictured four head manifold has the filter where you have to take the whole head off to clean...that’s why I went to the eight head, easier acces.
 
Got my parts today. Im going to keep rigging it up tomorrow. I ran out of time tonight with putting kids to bed. Total cost was ~$60 plus the 1/2” hose I already had lying around from o

The manifold i found has an integrated regulator and filter. So the system should be pretty easy to setup.

pretty much will just be a pump, hose, some Ts and elbows, the manifold and whatever droppers or sprayers I choose.


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Got it hooked up to 1GPH droppers and calibrating it now.

For ~$60, well worth the hassle, plus Airpots seem to need slower watering so the material has time to absorb the volume. My other pots would ultimately get submerged in the water as I filled from the top. This should help drastically I’d think.

the last open item seems like it would be if any syphoning occurs. I’ll monitor this as well and see how big of an issue it becomes.
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Calibration has been 30 min run times to 3 gallon jugs, all with 1 GPH drip valves

run 1 - ended early, outlet from pump came loose. Water sprayed everywhere. Safety wired hose onto barbed fitting.

run 2 - each jug had about 1/4 gallon of water. The 1 GPH valve appears to be putting out half the rating. Likely due to pressure of pump.

run 3 - 1 jug had (2) 1 GPH drip valve, the other jugs each had 1. Results were as expected. 1 jug had about 1/2 gallon of water.

run 4 - elevated jugs so drip valves were roughly same height as top of Air Pot. Siphon gone.

From my first grow, my 3gal pots would retain around 1.8L of water every 4-5 days. Anything else was runoff. I figure my target water should be 2L per plant per watering, over a 30 min window. 30 min is arbitrary, just my target watering window.



I’ll be starting at (2) 1GPH drip valves per plant and if I need to adjust the time/frequency per feeding due to the Air pot, I will.

I was noticing some siphon, but that’s when the drip valves were at the level of the bottom of the bucket, aka, below the reservoir water level. In run 4, I moved the valve to be more accurate to the top of an airport and that resolved the issue so far.

Here are some installed shots of it in my tent. I’m almost ready to harvest my second plant from my first grow, I’ll be ready to germinate my next round shortly!

Reservoir bucket outside of tent.

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Manifold with drip lines ready to place in my pots.
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So, after using the system with 2 drip emitters per plant, the coverage was pretty concentrated and that’s not going to work for me.

I opted to try my own drip rings which I made of 1/4” tubing and a T fitting. I drilled (7), 1/16” holes into each one and each ring is about 6” in diameter which just happened to be a good size for my pots.


I ran 3 tests on them. 1 with a 0.5 GPH flow meter, 1.0 GPH and then free flow from my pump

I opted to go with no meter as I was getting about 2L in 5 min. The other ones seemed to put enough flow that some holes wouldn’t drip if the ring wasn’t level. If that ends up being too much for the soil to absorb and it starts draining out of the sides of the AirPots, I’ll scale it back.

They work pretty well at first glance! We shall see at my next watering.

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