Q. I am in the process of putting in the automated watering system. I have some questions. When the pipe is installed down the center of the rows are they permanently installed? Next year in preparing the garden how do you roto-till the garden with the pipes there. The garden book states to use threaded T’s and elbows. I can’t figure out why, unless you also buy threaded PVC pipe. I’m confused, please reply as soon as you can.
A. First, you buy unthreaded lengths of pipe (10′ or 20′). then you glue the lengths together to fit the length of your soil-bed, using slip-slip fittings. Next, you drill 3 holes with a #57 drill bit at 45-degree angles every 4″ the entire length of the pipe (it goes fast, don’t feel intimidated). The three holes make a 90-degree angle in the pipe, and they face down onto the bed.
Then you put threaded male adapters on both ends of the pipe. On the far end, you will screw a female threaded cap. On the end with your water valve, you screw the male end into the female end of the threaded ball valve.
That ball valve is threaded into a 1 1/2″ bib, which is threaded into a threaded elbow, which is glued to a 1′ piece of 3/4″ pipe that has another male threaded fitting on the opposite end. That end is threaded into a threaded T that is glued into your main water-source line. You can sketch all that out and you’ll see the whole system.
OR – do you have the book The Mittleider Gardening Course? If not I highly recommend it. OR – go to the Store section of the website and look at that book. We have made that very chapter available for you to read, study, and download – free of charge.
You place the pipe on short pieces of 2″ X 4″ boards 5 or 6″ long – 4 or 5 to a 30′ bed.
At the end of the season, you just remove the PVC pipe and turn the short PVC piece with the ball valve toward one of the stakes, and the bed is ready to till. I like to till in the fall, so there is less opportunity for weeds to winter over and get ahead of you in the spring.