The reels of drip tape came out of the barn today as I started the yearly job of hooking it all up. If there is anything handier around the garden than a tractor with a loader, I have yet to meet it. Just raise the bucket up to the barn loft, roll a couple of reels of drip tape in, and drive it out to the field. No humping the reels down the ladder or wheelbarrowing them out for me. No sirree. Let Johnny Deere do the heavy lifting.
I changed the length of my flower beds this year for more uniformity and that meant none of my old drip tapes were the right lengths. I’m slow anyway, but the cutting and joining needed to get the 100 foot lengths I wanted slowed me down even more, and it took a good chunk of the day to get done what you see below.
Boring pic, I guess, but it sure looks sweet to me.
Notice the nice pile of rocks — my most reliable crop.
It would have been nice to just buy a mile of new tape and throw away the old stuff, but who has that kind of money? Besides, it doesn’t seem too earth-friendly. We gardeners are nothing if not earth-friendly, even though the earth seems not always friendly to us.
I suppose it’s pretty hard to grow a field of cut flowers in most places with only Mother Nature’s rain for moisture, and northern Michigan is definitely no exception. Through the years I have been collecting drip irrigation things, as the budget allowed, to put together a system that will do the job but conserve water as much as possible.
A new roll of drip tape was in the cards this year, and below you can see it being deployed. I basically just clamped a pipe to the tractor bucket to allow for twist-free unrolling.
The drip tape and tubing all go together pretty easily with no tools needed, other than a sharp knife to cut them to length. It does take some force to push the tubing into the compression tees or couplings (and even more when you want to pull them back apart), but if a geezer like me can do it, how hard can it be?
It’s typical to use tubing to make a header, and have the individual drip tapes go down each row from there. Sometimes tees are used, with a drip tape adapter on each tee, as shown below.
Compression tees w/hose fitting plus tape adapter
Another way to attach the drip tape runners to the header is one that I have tried this year for the first time. Rather than use a tee and a drip tape adapter at each junction, a hole is punched in the tubing and a barbed adapter is snapped into the hole. The pic below shows the punch, the adapter, and a couple of junctions.
Punch, adapter and runners
And … with the water flowing, we have drippage.