Auto-irrigation Raised Garden – Part III: Rainwater

Another important part of this automatic irrigated raised garden project is rainwater gathering.  Instead of using expensive house-water, we can gather and use “free” rainwater from the sky.  Untreated rainwater is more health for the plants.

I’m using two 55 gallon drums that I was able to find on craigslist for about $20 a drum.  I got an extra two drums for my brother.

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All four drums fit snugly in my minivan for transport back home.

After getting them home, I need a support structure to put them on.  A friend of mine offered me a pre-built structure that his mother was using.  I accepted and with a few modifications, this is the result:

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This is situated right around the corner from the first raised garden.  It will not take much tubing to get the water there.  Also, the top of the drums is 7 feet.  This will give me about 3 PSI of pressure (assuming 2.3 ft/PSI).  That should be enough pressure.

Update: this post has been over a month in the making.  During that time I’ve had no rain to fill the drums.  I have water now and it works!  Part IV we will look into hooking up the Edison and making a schedule.

Auto-irrigation for raised garden – Part II: The raised garden

Quick update on the raised garden project.  The first garden bed is built!  This is a 6 x 3 ft bed with 5 x 3 ft of growing space.  I used cedar outdoor wood and I think it looks pretty nice.

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Shortly after building, I did a bit of research on the Mitleider gardening method.  In order to do vertical gardening, I need taller posts which I initially thought I would just use for grapes or other vine plants.  I may end up redoing the post system or at least modifying it so I can vertically grow my tomatoes and melons in order to maximize space.

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This bed is also equipped with an equipment box.  This is where most of the auto-irrigation system will go (valves, Edison module, panel charger, energy storage, etc).

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Finally I’ve mounted my 10 watt solar panel.  After observing, I don’t like this position.  It should go on the back pillar to avoid casting shadow on my other solar panels: the plants below.

Next Part: Rainwater gathering