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  • 1 Post By raybark
  • 1 Post By Keysguy
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automatic overhead watering systems

This is a discussion on automatic overhead watering systems within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; I'm looking for a little guidance on watering. Here is the situation I am trying ...

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  1. #1
    Keysguy is offline Senior Member
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    Default automatic overhead watering systems

    I'm looking for a little guidance on watering.

    Here is the situation I am trying to address. Because we are only here for 5 months of the year (winter) with a couple of other periodic visits, I need automated watering for when we are not here.

    My growing area is a 10' x 20' shadehouse. One end covered with 60% shade, the other 80%.
    In one half of the end with 60%, I constructed a 10 mister automated misting system where I keep all of my epiphytes. It is set to run for 10 minutes at 8 hour intervals, daylight only. It works great but the electronic controls were fairly pricey! I plumbed it all with pvc.

    For the rest of my benchtop plants, I have been using a regular old oscillating lawn sprinkler tied into an orbit hose timer set to run for 30 minutes, once a week. (it's typically rainy season anyway when we are not here) It's works OK but I keep thinking an overhead sprinkler system would be more efficient and provide better coverage.

    I'm thinking 3 decent sprinkler heads suspended down about 2 ft. from the ridgepole should cover it.

    So my question comes down to; does anyone have such a system and if so, what does it look like and what are the component parts? Pluses?/Minuses? Could I run something like this off of the same setup of a hose and the orbit timer? Will there be enough pressure?

    Thanks in advance for all the wisdom I know is about to pour forth.

  2. #2
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    raybark is offline Senior Member
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    Ray Barkalow
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    Default

    First of all, I would eliminate the misting system. When you water, it should be a drench, not a mist. And only do it first thing in the morning, so the plants can dry off before nightfall. Humidity is likely not an issue in Key West...

    In my greenhouse in PA (sold upon my retirement to NC) I used PVC in an overhead network, to which I attached 360o spray nozzles akin to THESE. Each nozzle had about a 3' spray radius, and I overlapped the spray patterns about 50% so that I had full coverage. The entire thing was operated with an inexpensive lawn irrigation timer controlling a solenoid valve. I had it set to run at 5 a.m. for 30 minutes every other day in mid-summer, about every third day otherwise.

  3. #3
    Keysguy is offline Senior Member
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    Default

    Thanks Ray. I'll look into those nozzles. I'm leaning toward pvc vs tubing because I think the tubing will get eaten by the atmosphere here and I'll be replacing it every year.
    I put the misters in a couple years ago and my hanging vanda's, etc. have never done so well. You are correct that a lack of humidity is not an issue here but what is an issue is that the humidity is full of salt. We are 100' from the ocean. I think the flush/rinse a couple times a day really helps neutralize that. All the potted plants get a good drench when I'm here to water, especially before I feed them. I just don't like the coverage the sprinkler gives me on the potted ones when I'm not here.

  4. #4
    Keysguy is offline Senior Member
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    OK- so if anyone is curious, the overhead irrigation project has been completed and is a rousing success.

    I went with 3/4" PVC piping that I zip-tied to the metal frame of the shadehouse. (This design was used on my misting system which survived a cat. 4 hurricane without a scratch.) It is in a "T" formation with the water source (hose) and Orbit battery powered timer at the bottom of the T. That run then leads to the top of the T, or the overhead run, that has 3 equally spaced inverted sprinkler heads on line drops of 18-24" long.

    Some key points I considered;
    1) I went with an Antelco A21505 Inverted Rotor Max hanging micro sprinkler. At min water pressure of 15 psi it throws a 36 foot spray.
    2) 3 sprinkler heads is probably overkill for the size I'm covering but they handle the existing tap water pressure great and after running for 2 minutes, everything in the shadehouse was soaked. Way superior and I suspect more efficient than the sprinkler set-up I used last summer.
    3) I chose to stagger the lengths of the head drops to alleviate any potential for the spray patterns to interfere with each other.
    4) Excluding the timer which I already had (and they are not expensive) and about 2 hours of my labor, this whole project cost me under $25.

    Last pic is of the system running but it's difficult to tell but trust me, there was water flying everywhere.
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