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General discussion regarding the techniques and methods used to successfully grow tomato plants in containers.

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Old August 8, 2019   #1
jtjmartin
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Default Drip Irrigation System for 20 - 50 plants?

I graft most of my tomatoes and they get planted in ground. Every year, I have varieties that I really want to grow, but the grafts just don't take.

Next year, I'd like to add about 20 non-grafted tomatoes to the mix using grow bags. Being a compulsive tomato grower - this number is likely to increase to 50! I'll use my same lean and lower system. The weakness in my plan is watering the tomatoes in the grow bags - I often travel for a night or two.

What irrigation system and timers work and are cost effective for small scale growing?
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Old August 8, 2019   #2
Nematode
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I have had great luck with Netafim woodpecker junior PC emitters.
0.5 GPH is about 1oz per minute. Use a filter on your water supply.
Check your local greenhouse supplier. Griffins is reasonable drive for me. They also sell them with 2' drip tube attached.
This attaches to a drip stake which sticks into the media. The drip stakes I use have 2 positions to attach the drip tube. One for water and one to block. This helps with subsequent years when things change.
A regular irrigation valve works well in this application.
I made my own timer from a RAMPS 1.4 controller, but that is waaaay overkill for what you are doing. It waters hydro solution 10 times a day, only when the sun is out....controls several valves, with menu driven controls..
Any irrigation timer should work.
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Old August 8, 2019   #3
Lee
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This works pretty well in my opinion.


https://www.lowes.com/pd/Mister-Land...io-Kit/1054543


One of the challenges I've encountered is getting the soil less potting mix evenly moistened. A drip emitter at the base of the plant just seems to wet the soil within a small diameter as the water just flows straight down to the bottom of the container.
I don't have good data on how much horizontal distribution there is.
So, if possible, I use spray emitters that cover a wider area, and run them for less time.


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Old August 8, 2019   #4
AKmark
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee View Post
This works pretty well in my opinion.


https://www.lowes.com/pd/Mister-Land...io-Kit/1054543


One of the challenges I've encountered is getting the soil less potting mix evenly moistened. A drip emitter at the base of the plant just seems to wet the soil within a small diameter as the water just flows straight down to the bottom of the container.
I don't have good data on how much horizontal distribution there is.
So, if possible, I use spray emitters that cover a wider area, and run them for less time.


Lee
Use spray stakes in containers more than 3-4 gallon. You want some to leach out of the bottom, this keep salts from building up over a long season.
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Old August 8, 2019   #5
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The Mister Landscaper Spray stakes are really nice too.

I bought the larger kit - It was about $60. Then added pieces to it.

I tried others too but liked Mister Landscaper the best; especially the 1/4" tubing.

---
I have a 3 zone Orbit timer that barely uses any batteries. I think in the 7 years, I've changed the batteries twice.
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Old August 8, 2019   #6
jtjmartin
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Thanks all for the advice - just what I wanted to start small.

Jeff
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Old August 8, 2019   #7
DonDuck
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I have sixteen, 25 gallon containers on drip using dig brand timers. I prefer running the 1/2", black drip tubing to each circuit from the timers. All the fittings for the tubing are slip on and pretty inexpensive. I believe a 50' roll of the tubing cost about twenty dollars. I run the tubing on the ground along the rows of containers and using a tool they sell, I punch a hole in the tubing beside each container and push a 1/4" connector into each hole and run 1/4" tubing into each container. I don't like the adjustable spray stakes because they have a tendency to over water my plants. I can't adjust them low enough to not over water. I prefer using the 1/4" drip emitters in 1/2, 1, and 2 gallon per hour sizes. By using 1/4" tubing t's, I can place the water anywhere I want in the containers and set the timers for the duration which allows me to deliver the exact amount of water I need. Hot weather requires more water than cool weather, plus as the plants get large, they require more water. In the fall, they require less water. All adjustments are made at the timers which run all summer on a single 9 volt battery. It can all be purchased on the internet or a big box store.

Last edited by DonDuck; August 8, 2019 at 11:43 PM.
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Old August 27, 2019   #8
Yak54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee View Post
This works pretty well in my opinion.


https://www.lowes.com/pd/Mister-Land...io-Kit/1054543


One of the challenges I've encountered is getting the soil less potting mix evenly moistened. A drip emitter at the base of the plant just seems to wet the soil within a small diameter as the water just flows straight down to the bottom of the container.
I don't have good data on how much horizontal distribution there is.


So, if possible, I use spray emitters that cover a wider area, and run them for less time.




Lee
I have similar issues with my 15 gal grow bags. I tried Rain Bird 180 & 360 deg emitters but my 550gph pump would not make more than one flow correctly so I ended up resorting to hand watering for my 7 tomato & 4 pepper plants. Perhaps I'll get this figured out for next season.

Dan
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Old August 27, 2019   #9
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The most important thing with drip is a good filter.
I cannot stress this enough.
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Old August 27, 2019   #10
jtjmartin
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Worth, are there good in line filters?

To filter sediment etc. so the water doesn't clog up the drip emitters?
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Old August 27, 2019   #11
Worth1
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Quote:
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Worth, are there good in line filters?

To filter sediment etc. so the water doesn't clog up the drip emitters?
Yes there are if you look even slightly hard.
They go by micron sizes and are called canister filters.
Mine have a flush valve.
Just look up drip irrigation filters and you will see what I am talking about.
You can get them NPT pipe thread or hose bib.
Been running one on my drip system off my my main lawn irrigation system for lord only knows how many years.
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Old August 27, 2019   #12
jtjmartin
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"es there are if you look even slightly hard.
They go by micron sizes and are called canister filters."

Will do. Thanks for the info. (Just glad your answer didn't include me having to construct one!)
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Old August 28, 2019   #13
AKmark
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Worth, are there good in line filters?

To filter sediment etc. so the water doesn't clog up the drip emitters?
Arkal disk filters are good. I am getting ready to install a system in a large Gh. It will be able to feed for four different plant needs, and add acid which I will just go with a medium that mostly suites everything. I will post some pics for you guys.

Last edited by AKmark; August 28, 2019 at 02:53 AM.
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