Hops Soil and Watering

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winstonofbeer

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I have been watering hops all summer by a sprinkler...Well the hops did great, But so did the blasted weeds in the garden because of it.

I have decided without a doubt, A drip system is going to be put in.
Hooked up to the automatic watering system...IDK

I am watering them allmost every day since its 100F during the day. They are doing great. But i know the way i am watering them by sprinkler...Who knows how many gallons they really are getting.

Questions i have is with the drip system, What is the best GPM flow rate?
I know with the drip system, They are going to get the water...but dont want to flood them.

Also, I should tell you they are in containers. 20 gal...Holes are at the bottom...Will pull them up and see if roots made it anywhere close or not this year.


Thanks for your help.
Any advice on the drip system stuff too would be helpfull:rockin:
 

Randar

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slow flow rates and soaking the soil is the way to go. You'll probably have to play with it a bit and there are standard GPH emitters you can buy that have a wide range. In a pot like that you are going to want to wet the full volume of soil so you will want a couple hours every day or 2 in order to do so.
 

evanos

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You have 1,000 options, my friend. Ultimately, you need to estimate how much water each plant will need.

For the sake of ease, I would use 1/2" funny pipe for the delivery:
http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc...splay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053
Connect to lasered, pressure regulated 1/4" drip tubing:
http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc...splay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053

With this system you can estimate the amount of water your plants are getting as a function of number of emitters per container and the amount of time your system runs. Pretty simple math. Ex. 2 drip emitters running for 1/2 hour is approximately 0.5 gallons. It's pretty damn accurate.

To estimate the amount of water each plant needs, I personally would take a five-gallon bucket, fill it, and approximate how much water it takes to soak the soil until draining from the bottom. So let's say you find out that your plants need 5 gallons to soak. You'd need to decide on a run-time for your system (let's say 1/2 hour for ease). At 1/2 hr run time, each emitter will drip out 1/4 gallon of water. 5 gallons divided by 1/4 gallon per emitter equals 20 emitters at two emitters per foot equals ten feet of emitter tubing per plant (seems a bit much). So maybe you double the run time and halve the emitters (1 hr, 10 emitters). In any case, your options are endless.

Another option would be to use 1/2" funny pipe as your delivery, then install something like two 5 GPH drip emitters on 1/4" tubing. You can make a T:

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl...=1t:429,r:1,s:80&tx=54&ty=59&biw=1280&bih=697

which allows for installation of two emitters off of one 1/4" delivery tube.

Anyway, enough of my blabbing. If you have any more specific questions, feel free to ask. I'm a horticulture student at the University of Arizona, and I'd love to help.
 

evanos

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P.S. If you have especially hard water, you'll water to add .5 to 1 gallon of water to your estimated soaking amount to allow for leaching out of minerals in your soil.

Cheers!
 
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winstonofbeer

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Thanks evanos,
Would i be further ahead to do a slow watering say 1gph vs a 4gph?
I am going to have " i hope " Around 20 hop plants by next year.

Can i do one line for all 20 plants?
Or is this going to be a trial and error to see if i have enough water pressure to support that much line?

Next question, I was thinking when it came time for winter, Just taking my c02 tank and blowing out the lines that way and calling it good. Good or bad idea?

Thanks again for all your help,
At any rate this does not look like its going to be a cheap project :(
 

evanos

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Okay, this is where it gets a little more subjective (in my opinion, lol). I think 1 gph vs 4 gph is 6 one way, half dozen the other. As long as your plants receive a good final volume, I really don't think it matters. BUT, you'd have to buy more 1 gph emitters than if you used higher flow rate emitters. I think the cheapest way would be with drip line instead of emitters. The emitters give you the nice option of flushing lines easily and changing the emitters themselves though (a few things you will have to consider).

As for the amount of pressure required for 20 plants, I honestly couldn't give you a decisive answer. It does depend on what your water flow and pressure are like, but this can be mitigated with a lower "total system flow-rate". So if pressure/flow might be a problem (which you can determine with data on your delivery flow-rate/pressure), you might put enough emitters on a plant to total maybe 5 gph instead of 10 gph and simply running for twice as long (again, ensuring that the total volume delivered is proper). And you can also purchase pressure compensating drip emitters

http://www.homedepot.com/Building-M...splay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053

just as an example. This should help minimize issues arising from pressure inadequacies. As far as I know, you can put as many emitters on a system that equal the total gph of your delivery line. Here are some good FAQ's:

http://www.dripworksusa.com/faq1.php#q3

As for how one would find out their system's flow-rate/pressure (that's coming in from the city/county/well), I have no idea how you'd do that because I'm not a home-owner. I would think you could call the city utility provider and find out.

Okay, and lastly, draining the line. I would suggest simply adding a T near your zone valve with a ball valve and stretch of pipe lower than the rest of the system. Essentially, you need a point lower than the entire system for the water to exit with a ball valve to activate the drainage. Then you might blow out the system. I don't know about blowing out a system of only drip emitters with compressed gas, so I'm going to withhold any advice on it. However, if you have a properly installed drainage system and use it, you may not have much left to blow out.
 

evanos

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P.S. I just realized that the FAQ sheet has a simple calculator to estimate your system's flow-rate!

Cheers!
 
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winstonofbeer

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Thanks for your help evanos.
Why does plastic have to be so damn expensive?

My only concern really is not over watering them and starting a root rot problem.

There has to be a happy middle.
Spent way to much $$$ and time and effort for these guys...Dont want to kill them off when i am trying to help them.
 

HBHoss

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Thanks for your help evanos.
Why does plastic have to be so damn expensive?

My only concern really is not over watering them and starting a root rot problem.

There has to be a happy middle.
Spent way to much $$$ and time and effort for these guys...Dont want to kill them off when i am trying to help them.
If you have good drainage then root rot shouldn't be an issue. Just watch around the bottom of the containers for water and you know you've watered enough. If there's constantly water around the bottom then back off on the amount of time the drip is on. I water my containers every other day until they pee out the bottom. I use a garden hose with a soaker setting on the spray nozzle and it takes about 1.5 min at each of my 8 containers. I plan on going drip eventually and put it on a timer. My only hesitation is by watering by hand I get to inspect my plants each time and with the drip system I may get out of that habit.
 

david_42

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I asked Dave Wills (Freshops) about this a few years ago. He uses 4Lph emitters and runs 6-24 hrs once a week. There's a lot of clay in the local soils and slow is better.
 
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winstonofbeer

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My containers are actually buried in the ground.
So knowing when it runs out the bottom is a little challenging.
But i get the general idea on what to look for.

The weather here is fairly mild. 20-30's in winter springs are nice and cool. Summer is 80-110 fall it mellows back down to the 60-70's

So when its 110 i guess i want to make sure they are getting really soaked.
But i know the ground is going to make a good insulator.

Thanks again for all your help.
 

Wolfy

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In most weather, for established plants in the ground, somewhere in the range of 20-40L per plant per week should be adequate (and it's also about what was suggested previously, just a little easier for me to understand than various complex rates/formula).
 

evanos

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Ultimately, what's important is that you read your plants and adjust to their needs. Plants are (usually) pretty tenacious and I think you'd really have to screw up big time to cause a horticultural issue. Good luck!
 
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