Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Building a Strawberry Tower - Adding the Drip Irrigation Line

I am using Drip Irrigation to water the Strawberry plants in the Strawberry Tower.

I use 1/4" tubing to bring the water in from my main drip irrigation line. The water tray creates a moat to prevent ants from entering the Strawberry Tower. I did not want the ants to use the 1/4" tubing to bypass the moat, so I wrapped the 1/4" tubing around the base of the 20" container around the water tray. (see picture to the right)

I also created a 1/4" drainage hole near the side bottom of the water tray. This is to prevent water to build up in the water tray and enable mosquitoes to breed. The water would not be able to evaporate quickly enough otherwise and I would have a big mosquito problem later on.

I fed a 1/4" drip irrigation tube through the hole. The other end of tube drains the water into an adjacent fruit tree. Since the tree sits at a lower elevation than the water tray, the water drains via gravity.

After circling the container via the moat of water, I bring the drip irrigation tubing up the outside of the Strawberry Tower.

I chose to go hook up the drip irrigation on the outside of the Strawberry instead of going through the middle via the 1" PVC pipe.

The problem with using the PVC pipe is that there is no easy way to get the 1/4" into the PVC pipe. The bottom of the PVC pipe rests on the water tray. I could try to elevate the 20" container on top of the water tray and slide the 1/4" tubing throught the opening on the bottom. However, elevating the 20" container creates a stability problem and the whole thing could tip over.

At the edge of each pocket in the bucket is a 1/4" hole that is perfect for sliding the drip tubing through (see picture to the right)

I use 6 drip emitters at the top layer of the Strawberry Tower to water the whole thing. Each drip emitter releases 1 gallon per hour.

I arrange 1 drip emmitter for each pocket of the bucket on the top layer (see picture to the right).

I originally planned to put drip emitters at the lower levels, but I found that I did not need to.

The Strawberry Tower does a good job of distributing the water evenly to the lower levels.

The holes at the bottom bucket are spaced evenly and the Miracle Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix prevents the water from draining too quickly to the next level.

I water the Strawberry Tower every day for 40 minutes. This is sufficient to keep the potting mix moist. When Summer comes, I will increase the duration of the watering

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