brookslike
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Ideas for Watering my Vegetable Garden

Well I have a bit of a problem, and I'd like some input. I've just put in my first garden. I'm on a well, and I have no outside faucet to attach a garden hose to.

I have a rain barrel outside, and a pond in the woods that I can draw water from, but it becomes an immense pain trying to haul water in a typical watering can. Our well is quite shallow, so I'd rather not use up our well water.

I'm trying to find some way that I can make watering my garden a bit easier. One idea that I had was to buy a large gas can, and a 'Flo N' Go', which is a hand pump that screws onto a gas can, meant for filling a lawnmower or boat in a manner similar to filling your car at a gas station. My idea was to fill up a large gas can from a water source, and use the flo n' go pump to water the garden. Does this seem like a feasible idea? Any other ideas?
James

GardenJester
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elevate your rain barrel, attach a faucet to the bottom, then run a hose from the barrel to the garden, let gravity do the work.

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Kisal
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I wouldn't use a gas can. I'd go to a store that sells camping supplies and get a water container. I have one out in my garage, left over from my camping days, that holds 5 gallons. My concern would be the material the can is made of, especially if it's plastic. Some plastics can leach contaminants into whatever is stored in them, and I wouldn't want to put those contaminants on anything I was going to eat. But that's JMO. :)
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

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applestar
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I posted about an impressive rain barrel system in this thread:
https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=23741

brookslike
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@Gardenjester - That idea had certainly crossed my mind, but I'm wondering if 1 rain barrel is really going to give me adequate water... especially when we haven't really had a lot of rain this season. Actually, the rain barrel is currently sitting empty. We've used it before, as well, just to fill buckets under the faucet, and there's very little water pressure. You may just be the forerunner, though...


@Kisal- That was one worry that I had in mind, as well. But then again... is the material used in your camping equipment really that different than the plastic used in a gas can?

@applestar - That's a fanstastic idea. Unfortunately, it's a bit elaborate for my first garden. And a bit more money than I anticipated on spending.

I'm also wondering about using a backpack sprayer filled only with water...
James

Dillbert
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water weighs about 8 pounds per gal - depending on how much water you need, "carrying" it could become a real chore over the season.

if the pond is higher than the garden area - that would suggest a siphon possibility -

if the is not higher, perhaps a water barrel "on stilts" at the pond filled by a hand pump (how about a solar powered little electric jobbie - pricey....) and a hose to the garden - essentially the rain barrel concept with hand pumped rain..... or a battery backed/run sump pump with solar recharger? or extension cord?

for hand pump I'd look for a positive displacement type - something like a boat bailing pump.

brookslike
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@dillbert - That's not a bad idea... I hadn't even thought about putting a rain barrel near the pond and filling it 'from' the pond. How high would a barrel have to be to get maximum water pressure at the other end of the hose? Would I still require a 'pump' to make it worthwhile, or would gravity do the job well enough?
James

Dillbert
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James -

for each foot above your "tap" you'll get about 0.43 psi pressure - less hose friction losses.

so a nominal 48" tall tank, on 36" stilts, gives you 7*0.43 = 3 psi when the tank is full, declining to 3*.043 = 1.29 psi as the barrel reaches empty.

I'm sure you've heard the old saying "water seeks its own level" - the impact of that: assuming there is no elevation difference between the pond and you outlet tap, and for convenience you nail the outlet tap to a stake 3 feet off the ground, you'll only see the pressure from the 4 foot (or less) of water in the tank.

the 'normal' water pressure in a home system is 60-80 psi - so the theory of getting "max water presure" is quite dicey. you won't be able to put a spray nozzle on the hose and go at it - but the 3-2 psi range will fill a watering can, for example - somewhat slowly compared to a "house tap"

if the pond is "uphill" from a convenient watering can fill spot, the pressure will be higher.
conversely, if the pond is lower, the pressure at your outlet will be lower.

the other factor to keep in mind, water flowing thru a pipe/hose encounters frictional losses - the longer the hose/pipe, the more pressure you will lose. a bigger diameter hose/pipe will minimize those losses.

without a bit more detail of how high/low the pond is above/below the garden spot, and how far away the pond is, it's not possible to provide any more "design detail"

a "gotcha" to keep in mind with a tank on stilts - make sure there is a fine mesh screen / other barrier to keep debris out of the tank. falling leaves (for example) will eventually clog either the outlet port of the tank or get 'stuck' in the hose/pipe - and there's not much pressure to 'blast them out'

brookslike
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Well, the pond is nearly a hundred feet from the garden, and is sitting at virtually the same level. I have been entertaining the idea of attaching a drill powered pump to the water hose to pull, or push water from the pond/barrel. I believe the drill pumps are supposed to pump about 3GPM, the only problem is that I'm not entirely sure if it will be enough power to pump it through a hundred foot hose.

Also, if I decide to try the drill pump method (if you've never seen one, here's what I'm talking about https://www.canadiantire.ca/AST/browse/8/KitchenBath/Plumbing/WaterPumps/PRDOVR~0623531P/Drill%252BPump%252BKit.jsp?locale=en), is it better to place the pump near the water source, and 'push' the water, or should it be installed at the end of the hose, and 'pull' the water? Thanks for all the help![/url]
James

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applestar
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What about a windmill pump? A local U-pick farm has an animal enclosure with one of those classic huge windmills that pumps up and sloshes water into the watering trough. Another farm, a horse boarding stable, has a much smaller windmill -- about 7~8 feet tall? -- that serves the same purpose but on a smaller scale.

Dillbert
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James - I have one of those drill pumps so I know what you mean.

with any centrifugal pump you want it close to the source and "push" the water - that kind of design is better at producing "pressure" than "suction"

before going over the edge - try the little drill pump. are you going to use a battery powered drill, I would check to see how long the battery will hold up under that load - obviously you'd want to fill the whole barrel in one go.

not sure what your budget is - but a small 110v electric pump and a 250 ft roll of 12-2 UF wire (you want the UF = Underground Feeder) grade since it will be exposed to the weather would set you back about $250. no barrel, no stilts, and a whole lot more pressure to work with.

of course if you've got a free barrel and stilts (or ultra low cost for same) it is cheaper but without the 'max pressure' benefit (hose sprayer, etc.)

since the ground is relative flat, you could also consider keeping the pump closer to the house (less wire, perhaps just an extension cord?) and running a 1.5" pvc pipe to the pond - you may need a "foot valve" on the pond end, depends on how much "lift" the pump generates (that's the term for how high the pump can "suck up" water from - keeping the suction line 'full' greatly aides the pump in that task - it doesn't have to first suck out all the air in the line.

see: https://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_7738_7738
$50 plus about $50 for 10 lengths of 1.5 pvc+fittings + $20 for a foot valve.

brookslike
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You're very very helpful Dillbert. I hate to flip flop ideas here... again...however, I got a good deal on a small used pump today that I'm going to try to put into use. I do have one question, though.... If I have a pump that is running constantly when the power is turned on, and on the 'spraying' end of the hose, I have a typical garden hose nozzle (the type that shuts off water flow when you release the handle), would this cause any harm to the pump? I realize that it would cause back pressure to the pump when the handle is released, but is that harmful to a pump, or are they designed to accept back pressure? And the idea of running pvc pipe to the pond may be a good idea in the future.
James

Dillbert
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>>cause damage

presuming it is a centrifugal pump, no - with a caveat.
(motor, spinning impeller inside a housing...)

if it s a positive displacement pump (piston, gear or lobe type) you should not turn of the flow.

the one precaution with shutting of the flow on a centrifugal type is time.
as no water is flowing, over time the water in the pump will heat up from friction (there's a whole long list of exceptions, designs to prevent, etc etc) but for small pump the time 'danger' period is one the order of 30 minutes or more.

brookslike
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That's good to know. I'm 99 percent sure that it IS a centrifugal type pump (although it doesn't specify that anywhere, it does say that it has a 'vortex' style impeller in the manual). I'll give it a try today and post the results back tomorrow. Thanks again for all the guidance. :)
James

Dillbert
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impeller = centrifugal - it would be unusual to be else, but "picking up a good deal" can be misleading [g]

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Gary350
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My grandfather put a 50 GPM sump pump in a pond that was 200 yards from the garden and pumped water through some black plastic hose to the garden. Dig a hole about 3 foot diameter and pump all the water in the hole. Then make small ditches from the hole to all your rows to water all your plants. Put the ON/OFF switch at the garden. Turn on the pump and watch the hole fill with water, and water your garden then turn it off.

brookslike
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Well the good deal came from my future father-in-law, so I knew it was in good condition. He'd only used it a few times. After trying it out, it works perfectly for my purposes. I have the pump sitting in a rain barrel with a hose attached to it. All I have to do to water the garden is plug in the pump and spray away! Works perfect, and thanks for all the suggestions. :)
James

Dillbert
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>>Works perfect

super! good luck with your garden this year!

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