DIY Greenhouse irrigation – Part 1 water storage

Electronics, Gardening and Lifestyle

DIY Greenhouse irrigation – Part 1 water storage

February 5, 2018 DIY 0

Part 1 water storage

This is part one of my DIY Greenhouse irrigation build, and ill be focusing on the water storage element.

One goal for this year is to minimise the admin of running a greenhouse and vegetable patch, one element that will save me at least a few hours a week is the ability to autonomously water the fruit/vegetables.

for the last 5 years I’ve had a small green water butt hooked up to the guttering on one side of the greenhouse to give me water for the plants, during particularly dry months this has run out on numerous occasions and had to be supplemented by hooking up a hose to water/refill the water butt.

this wasn’t a problem but it did add to my work and time to get it all done, However, with my plan to automate much of the watering I can’t afford for the water to run out as this could lead to a greenhouse disaster, killing plants or ruining crops.

Using a big blue water barrel I’ve got I can almost triple the water capacity for the greenhouse which should give me nearly two weeks worth of water, which is more than enough time to spot any issues with the water levels and correct it before it becomes a problem.


Moving the Water butts inside

I’ve got a couple of reasons behind this, one to make it easier to get around the back of the greenhouse as currently, you need the agility of goat to get past the water butt and over hazards behind it. I’m also looking to gain a bit of thermal mass before your eyes roll back I know it’s not enough mass to keep the greenhouse frost free without any heating but I’m hoping it’ll help keep my orange tree and a few other exotic fruits in better health over winter. And the final point is it’ll be so much easier for me to plumb in my DIY greenhouse irrigation and feed system I’ve got planned.

First, I had to make space by moving a compost bin and its contents that id moved inside the end of last summer and some wooden shelves and storage that were in the way.


Painting the barrels

To help with the thermal mass point, I’ve sprayed them matt black. In all honesty, I’m under no illusions that it’s not going to help a great deal but aesthetically it looks much better than a bright green/blue barrel and should be less obtrusive once the plants take off.

Connecting it all up

A quick trip to my local Screwfix and I got all the bits I wanted to plumb in the water system. this is using 21.5mm waste fittings which made it a super easy job and cheap enough to replace if needed in the future. The couplings are glued together using a solvent weld cement and then the tank connectors were siliconed before installing into the barrels.

The only thing that could ruin my whole plan is if either base that the barrels are sitting on sinks/settles. as the pipework joining them is short and rigid it could lead to problems. In hindsight, id do this differently but that’s life…

The above image was taken a week later after id started installing part 2 of the irragation system.

The total cost of doing this was £20.00 and the big price being the spray paint.

  • pipework/gutting = £8.00
  • 2x cans sSpray paint = £12.00

One thing I am doing is keeping a spreadsheet of all money I invest into the garden to help make it easier to show how it is offset by the time saving and hopefully increase in crop yield, I may share this with you all once I get it tidied up

As I’m rushing around trying to get back on track by missing most of January I keep forgetting to get enough photo’s/video but ill sort this out moving forward.

Whats next

the next step is to start installing the pipework for the DIY greenhouse irrigation system but I’ve got around a month or so to get the rest of the greenhouse in order before I need to work about this and it’ll involve buying some more plumbing supplies and a bit of DIY.

If you want any specific details, drop a comment and ill do my best to answer them

All the best

The electronic Gardener




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