Fertilize through drip irrigation?
I recently installed 100's of feet of 17 mm diameter Rain Bird drip irrigation in our flower beds for more effective watering and to reduce our time with a garden hose in hand. Does anyone know of an in-line device that I can hook to the Rain Bird dripline to fertilize our flower beds with? We use a Miracle-Gro Garden & Lawn Feeder hooked up to the garden hose now. I just looked at Rain Bird and Miracle-Gro web sites and to my surprise found nothing. Any help will be appreciated. Thanks....LDB
What you want is a fertilizer injector. It is basically a simple syphon device you tap into your plumbing on the irrigation side of your anti-syphon/backflow prevention valve. Make sure you put at least a small mesh filter in place in case your fertilizer source gets gunk it or something. You do not want to clog your system.
The fancier ones have adjustment dials for setting the rate but for a residential garden it is just as easy to mix something like Miracle Gro to the correct strength in the first place.
When you want to feed you just turn the injector on and water and the fertilizer is syphoned and distributed. They work great by the way and the ones I installed on drip systems 30 years ago still function flawlessly. They are not subject to harsh winters though. They are not expensive so even if you had to replace some components every 7-10 years it will not break the bank.
Rain Bird must have a model (no reason you have to use theirs though)? An irrigation supply house should certainly have them but I am not sure I would trust a box store one. While not complex, you do want something that will hold up. You can certainly search for drip irrigation and find them online with no problem and that may be the least expensive alternative. I like doing business locally when I can but box stores give nothing back to the communities they rape and pillage so I have no qualms buying online vs them.
Bless you for installing drip! It is wonderful and your plants will love it. It applies water slowly so your soil will not clog up. You will not be splashing fungus spores hiding in the soil on plant leaves and the list goes on. I started using it decades ago when a landscape designer doing hanging baskets and container gardens. When the first N California drought hit and people went crazy I was an early adapter to broader landscape users. I never looked back and abandoned conventional sprinklers for all but turf. You can now get emitters in such a wide range of outputs (.5-12GPH) and configurations from drippers and bubblers to misters and even mini-rainjet things. It makes sense environmentally. In my state we are running out of fresh water very quickly.
Thank you sdsester! This was my very first post and you gave me some great feedback. I'll stop in our local Rain Bird supplier and likely walk out with a fertilzer injector.
I started using drip irrigation about 20 years ago in a small way. I had 3 flower boxes, 3 hanging plants on the front porch and 4 small sprinkler heads aimed at a flower bed. We sold that house in Peoria, IL. last fall and bought a home in E. Peoria. Our new place needs lots of TLC but that's what we love doing. We went from .25 acre to 1.2 acre property so one of the many things on our 'to do' list is better water management. Thanks for your help! LDB
With expanded acreage, think about some rain barrel approaches to go with drip. They are natural together since drip has no major pressure requirements. Much as plants love drip off the city supply? They really take to water without chlorine and other chemicals added.
The first drip system components I was introduced to actually came from Israel and the desert. Over there, your monthly water allowance gets dialed in and when you run out, you are out. Israel and Arab countries have been at this for awhile. I am glad it is catching on here.
It is hard for us in Illinois to except we drain the aquafores faster than they can replenish. We have polluted much of the river that flows near you to the point it is dangerous and where I am again? We cannot, even as one of the three largest cities in the country, drain Lake Michigan for our own purposes. And I have seen two headed fish pulled out of it anyhow.
These drought situations are here to stay as well so as you redo your new place do think about how much turf you really want or need. Nice textured groundcovers will look so nice, take less water and require less maintenance and money on your part. When doing landscape design I was always able to talk homeowners out of at least 50 percent of the turf they had in mind with no complaints.
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