Worry Free Automated Plant Irrigation

This will be the least technical thing I’ve ever posted on my blog. A random discussion with my girlfriend this morning about how forgetting to water her herbs results in them failing to survive (surprising I know), lead to a trip to Home Depot and the creation of an automated plant irrigation system.

To build this, you’ll only need 30-60 minutes and a few simple tools:

  • Adjustable wrench
  • Utility knife
  • Heavy duty scissors (or small saw)
A complete parts list is also listed below with links to the parts used on the Home Depot website:
Step 1: The first step is to drill a hole in the lid to receive the flex pipe adapter (which will adapt our solid riser pipe to the threaded fitting on the manifold).
Step 2: To help ensure against leaking under pressure, apply a small amount of teflon tape to the threads of the flex pipe adapter.
Step 3: Thread the flex pipe adapter into the manifold and gently snug with an adjustable wrench.
Step 4: Insert the manifold and flex pipe adapter assembly into the hole drilled in the lid.
Step 5: Trim the riser pipe to the correct length by measuring the depth of the bucket, and subtracting the height of your pump (from the bottom of the pump to the area where your pipe connects). The idea here is that when the lid is installed on the bucket, the pipe length should be such that the pump sits on the bottom of the bucket. In my case, the riser pipe needed to be just under 12″ long. This is also a good time to talk about the pump. Any “medium duty” pump should do the trick, as long as it’s sufficient to push the water the height of the bucket. It’s also a good idea to use a pump with an auto shutoff should the water level in the bucket drop too low.
Step 6: Attach the pump assembly to the lid/manifold assembly.
Step 7: The final step is to modify the bucket to allow the power cord for the pump to exit the bucket while the lid is securely fastened to the bucket. Using a sharp knife or small saw, cut a notch in the top of the bucket.
Step 8: With the modification to the bucket, it’s time to add some water and give everything a test.
With the 6-port manifold you can attach up to 6 bubblers, in our case we opted for a mix of half circle and full circle models. We also opted for an outdoor timer to completely automate the watering process. A simple adjustable (outdoor rated) timer will automatically water the plants at designated times every day.

One Response to “Worry Free Automated Plant Irrigation”

  1. Dave Hemminger says:

    Loved this post! Think i’ll build one, surprise my green thumb wife and score some brownie points!

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