garden water collection and greenhouse autonomous watering update

Electronics, Gardening and Lifestyle

garden water collection and greenhouse autonomous watering update

March 25, 2019 DIY Gardening 0
autonomous watering cover image
So with the new greenhouse in the process of being built, I’ve decided to give the water storage and autonomous watering system an overhaul.

so to summarise what I’ve done so far.

  1. Upgraded from 15mm to 22mm pipe and fittings.
  2. Changed the self-watering from electric pump fed to gravity fed.
  3. Installed pipe fittings for connecting a pump driven hose at half height.
water butts in greenhouse

The new system is taking shape.

old autonomous watering system

Compared to the autonomous watering system.

Why up the pipe diameter?

well, one thing I found is that the flow between the 3 barrels was often restricted when filling/emptying them. This lead to drops in pressure and issues with monitors how full they were. it did level out over time but not quick enough for what I have planned.
Hopefully, due to the increased flow between the 3 barrels, the head pressure should be increased for the low-level tap and points used for the auto watering system I’m building.
22mm pipe seems huge in comparison to the 15mm

Taking the time to get the connections right.

The last setup i had for the autonomous water was a miss match of pipes and fittings, i like to do things cheap or for free but this can some times to be the downfall of the the finished product. on the previous system this lead to leaks and loss of pressure that would cause the pump to turn on and waste water/power.

This turned out to be a right PITA, rubber tap/hose connectors and silicone, leaky leaky…

autonomous watering valves
This time I’m using proper connectors to avoid those dreaded leaks on the control valves.

Why am I changing from the pump driven system to gravity fed?

Well this was is a no brainer if it works, I’m removing components which could lead to failure in the auto watering system. the other main consideration for this was the amount of power required to run the pump is quite large so by removing it from watering application I could in theory get away with a smaller solar and battery setup which would keep costs and space requirements down to the absolute minimum.

Why have fittings at half height?

this one was more personal preference, ill be installing the pump still to power a small hose pipe as its so much simpler than using watering cans both in time and effort. it also means my daughter can help as shes only little watering cans are heavy and unwieldy to her, the last thing i want is crushed plants or sections not watered.
The reason for the fittings a half height means if the hose was left on, over used or we experienced a extended dry spell. the hose will only drain up to half of the water contained in the barrels. The water under this level can still be accessed via the low level tap and also via the auto watering system.
if this was ever to become an issue i can be conservative with the watering routine to avoid loss of crops or wastage. eventually, id like to be able to work in an autonomous solution for adjusting the watering frequency but thats for future Dan to worry about.
so all that is left to do is plumb in the overflow, and wait for it to fill, and hopefully by then ill have the solar in ready to start putting the electronics back in place to control it all. 

How do you deal with watering when you are away for extended time periods? do you think autonomous watering is the way forward?

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