Update 6/13/08: For working directions, click here to jump to later in this thread.
So after converting several of my Nepenthes to hanging pots on my grow shelf, I was having difficulty watering the ones in the back. Being the proactive person that I am, I decided that just being annoyed and complaining wasn't a good enough solution. So, I made a trip to Lowe's to start a project with little knowledge of what I was doing. With reckless abandon, I started buying stuff to create an automatic watering system. Additionally, since I had just cleaned the floor in my plant/project room I had more than enough clean space to make dirty again.
The clean floor:
Please remember that it has been four or five years since my last physics class involving pressure in pipes and liquid flow systems.
I had done some reading online about similar DIY projects, but I was unable to find one that had split tee joints.
Here is everything I bought laid out:
Submersible Fountain Pump (40-80 GPH)
20 ft. Clear Vinyl Tubing, 1/2" x 3/8"
5 x Nylon Hose Barb Tee, 3/8" x 3/8" x 3/8"
3.5 Gallon Bucket
1 x Wendy's Spicy Chicken Sandwich, hold the mayo, add cheese and pickles
STEP ONE: Eat My Sandwich
STEP TWO: Test the Fountain Pump
I initially filled up the bucket with water, submerged the fountain pump in the water, and attached a length of tubing. I then plugged it in to see if the tubing size and connection was correct.
Sweet! It was working. Off to a good start.
STEP THREE: String the First Length of Tubing up the Shelf
I split the tubing at the top of the hanging pot shelf and taped it to the top of one of the legs. Before splitting the tubing too many times I decided it would be important to test it with only one junction.
STEP FOUR: Test the Junction
At this point, I didn't think I would be able to split the main line too many times without significant drop-off in pressure through the tubing. I turned it on again and discovered that the water wouldn't even climb the four feet to the top from the bucket that was sitting on a chair. I looked at the fountain pump box for the first time and read: "Pumping Height 3.3 ft (Max)." Whoops!
STEP FOUR (B): Move the Water Bucket and Repeat Step Four
I put the water bucket on the very top shelf so gravity would no longer be my enemy.
I turned on the pump again. Remember this:
Well... The first split was yielding hardly any water through the second tube.Originally Posted by xvart
So I unplugged the pump and waited for the water to finish draining... and waited... and waited... Then it struck me. My non-enemy gravity was now my non-friend gravity because the water in the tube was sucking up water from the top bucket as it poured from the tube into the bottom bucket. I had essentially created a slightly more expensive siphon.
So, it looks like my wreckless abandon would have to be supplemented with a little more research and help from others. But, I still had created something that solved my original goal of making watering the back plants easier, since I can easily pump water through one small tube.
Here I am watering my N. Kohala. Ahhhh... how easy.
Potential Ideas: Research Denied!
- Plug the main line and force water down the side shoots;
- Get a more powerful pump; or,
- Stop kidding myself and read more information.
Any and all comments will be appreciated. Eventually I'll have it so I just turn on the pump for a minute and it will water six or seven pots.