Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Gravity Drip Bucket Irrigation Systems

Elevated Water Tank Drip Irrigation Systems

Gravity Drip Bucket Irrigation Systems for Vegetable Gardens Enhance Food Security for the Food Insecure. The "how to" designs shown in this post can also be adapted to home gardens and rain collection barrel systems anywhere.

With growing water challenges and a changing climate, one simple technology that is gaining a foothold for subsistence farmers in Africa, India, and at least 150 other nations, is that of drip irrigation. Ezemvelo Eco Campus Blog reports that studies in Kenya have shown that just two drip irrigation kits can provide the water needed to produce enough vegetables to feed a family of seven during the dry season.

The following instructions for setting up a bucket garden in Africa, are from Chapin Living Waters:

Location of Bucket

  • Make a stand with two posts and crossbar.
  • The bottom of the bucket must be at least 1meter (3.3 feet) above the ground. Place crossbar higher if bucket is suspended.
  • Set up bucket at one end of the garden; if not level, place bucket at the high end.

Preparing Garden

Make raised beds of soil 1m (3.3 ft) wide, 15cm (6 in) high, and 15m (50 ft) long for 2 rows; 7.5m (25 ft) long for 4 rows; or 5m (16.5 ft) long for 6 rows. (If the garden extends into the rainy season, raised beds allow for water runoff.)

  • Dig a 30cm-deep (12 in) trench down the middle of the area where the bed will be.
  • Place organic matter (banana leaves, grass, maize stalks) in trench.
  • Cover organic matter with manure - 80 liters (20 gal) per 15m (50 ft) row).
  • Pour several buckets of water (80 liters per 15m row) over manure.
  • Fill trench with soil and level off, making bed 15cm (6 in) high, straight, and flat.
  • Break up large clods of soil so that drip tape lies flat.
  • Proceed with setting up bucket drip system which should last 5-7 years, if taken care of.

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I’ve put together some photos to illustrate how bucket drip irrigation works.

Elevated water tank drip irrigation:

Also, see Bucket Drip Irrigation for additional thoughts about setting up a simple, inexpensive and innovative gravity drip irrigation system.

If you liked this post, you might also be interested in looking at my posts offering 35 water saving technologies for use in gardening and farming (Part 1) and (Part 2).

Note that this post was originally made on my former site, Big Picture Agriculture, in June 2011.

Copyright Notice: Please do not republish from this post in part or in full without permission.