The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

PEX tubing drip irrigation system

new pex garden drip system

We decided our tomatoes needed a drip irrigation system.

This white PEX material is cheap and easy to work with. It won't kink and you can get a 100 foot roll for less than 30 dollars. Once I had the tubing secured to each post I went in and drilled a small hole next to each plant.

The hole is three times bigger than most drip systems due to the heavy sediment in the creek water we use for irrigation.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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It will be intersting to see how long this lasts.

PEX tubing is generally not considered suitable for use in direct sunlight because that rapidly degrades it.

Comment by Roland_Smith Wed May 27 18:48:56 2015

Appears the tubing you bought is not UV Stabilized which would have made it last several years. At best I think you'll get two years though I'll put my money on only one year.

But $30 is not much to pay to test if drip irrigation is right for you. Though I'm concerned about that way of thinking, it's still waste after all.

Comment by Ryan Wed May 27 22:01:31 2015

You can get thin-walled black polyethylene pipe for not much more than pex (indeed, it may be less) and it is suitable for exposure to sunlight.

With the white pex, even with larger holes, you will get blockage fairly quickly because algae will grow inside the pipe and will collect at the holes. The black pipe will avoid the algae problem as well.

Comment by Mitakeet Thu May 28 05:47:33 2015

I am curious why you chose this material. Will you leave it in place during the winter?

Let us know what you think

Comment by Alison Thu May 28 12:52:46 2015

Interesting to hear all the notes on longevity. Mark got the pex piping because it's something our local hardware store carries (while drip irrigation piping is not). He bought it when I first started talking about drip irrigation...then there was a three or four year wet spell in which the pex tubing sat out in the sun waiting to be used before the rain stopped. There doesn't seem to have been any adverse effects so far, which suggests that pex is more long-lived than other readers suspect. It definitely stands up just fine to at least three or four years in the sun!

Alison --- We'll probably take it up because the tomatoes will go in a different place next year. But one of the pros of pex is that it can freeze without bursting the tubing, so we won't have to be careful to entirely drain it (supposedly).

Comment by anna Fri May 29 16:04:51 2015
I have really low water pressure in our orchard, which is where the 5,000 water storage tank is located. It isn't enough to use a soaker hose or sprinkler. I've been thinking of trying something similar, but portable. To create a length of 1/2" black ABS tubing with holes that I can 'wrap' around the fruit trees and/or lay along the berry rows for watering. I have a drip hole punch that I'm intending to use to drill the little holes. We have had an incredibly dry late winter/spring. It is raining right now and I'm so excited. My little pump (gravity powered Highlifter) hasn't really been able to keep up with the necessary irrigating in the garden. I'm actually cutting back on some of my secessional planting plans due to the anticipated extra long dry season. I need to keep water focus on traditional summer crops, like my zucchini and tomatoes.
Comment by Charity Mon Jun 1 12:17:44 2015

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