In the past, my irrigation articles have gotten a lot of interest, so I’m writing today to share some of my more recent developments on the topic. Click Here and here to link back and check out the older ones again.
Originally, I was using JB Weld to make the pipe to barrel connection. That really didn’t work because it was too brittle. The joints were constantly breaking and then the water would leak out of the barrel. And yes, I tried using even more JB Weld, gooping on a large amount and making a wide base. It just never worked. Below is a picture of my latest iteration:
Some plumbing supplies are required. Below is an exploded view:
The PVC fitting on the right is inserted through the 1″ hole from the inside of the barrel. Its kinda tricky to do. I use a long flexible wire that I feed in through the bung, and then out the 1″ drilled drain hole. Then put that fitting on the wire and it slides down to the hole. Insert your pinkie into the threaded fitting to pull it through the hole until enough thread is showing on the outside that you can put your gasket on and then thread on the second, longer PVC fitting.
The gasket is the second item from the right. It is a section of tire inner tube that I cut down. Use another of your fittings to trace a circle at the center of the inner tube and then carefully cut it out. Don’t do a sloppy job on this part, if you do, you’ll end up with leaks. The gasket needs to seal all the way around.
Next item in the picture is a hose washer. Insert that into the female threads on the longer PVC fitting. Then screw them together.
Once you’ve got it fairly tight, you’ll notice that the fitting on the inside of the barrel is spinning as you tighten. You’ll never get it tight enough to prevent leaks unless you can hold that internal fitting still. I solved that problem by duct taping a medium sized crescent wrench to the end of a hoe handle. You can then lower the crescent wrench through the bung to reach the fitting from the inside. The fitting has a hex flange on it which makes this possible. Now you can tighten the two down.
Last, I install a brass valve on each barrel. This allows you to shut off the supply line in case you need to repair drip tapes, etc. Or you could also do your irrigating, then fill the barrels again and shut of the valve. When its time to irrigate tomorrow, the barrels are all full and ready to go. This could help you out when you know you’ll be in a hurry the following day.
We’re currently running 11 barrels like this, each providing water to a 600 square foot area. Here’s a picture of the completed setup on my squash patch:
Do any of you have a similar setup that works for you? I’d love to hear about it and compare notes.