Fittings and Irrigation for Indoor Hydroponics Gardening
There is probably no area of gardening or greenhouse operations that could be as extensive as fittings and irrigation but we’re going to attempt to help you sort through some of the major aspects.
There are so many various forms of irrigation that are effective that they all fall more under the category of a personal choice. That mentioned, there are six main categories that irrigation supplies fall under.
- Irrigation tubing
- Drain and fill risers
- Drippers and misters
- Caps and shields
- Float valves
- Fittings and plugs
Over the course of time every grower will undoubtedly utilize some or all these fittings. Let’s take a closer look at the most often used.
Tubing is the main component of every irrigation system.
Tubing is really the arteries of any irrigation responsible for reliably carrying water or nutrient solution directly to the plants. This is the reason a grower needs to go with a quality grade tubing.
Tubing does far too much work to compromise quality.
There are three central types of tubing.
While rubber is used for other types of tubing it isn’t cost effective enough to be practical for irrigation use.
Vinyl is an excellent choice for a low-cost, but durable tubing. However, it is stiff and more difficult to work with when there is a lot of bends or twists and turns. It is excellent for leak-free connections and for applying drain and fill risers.
PVC is more flexible, extremely durable and practical for large-scale applications. It is available in rolls ranging from 25’ on up to 1,000. It is also easy to cut and link with adapters and works well for a main line, as well as for the feeding lines.
Poly is strong, flexible and often used with smaller diameters as a direct feeder or mister tubing.
Consider the volume of liquid you’re planning on moving, available pressure and the distance when selecting the tubing diameter.
If these aspects are not factored into the equation you may find yourself in real trouble during real operations. For most applications anything 3/16” or up will adequately move your liquid evenly throughout the entire system.
Large-scale operations are going to want to consider the ½” to ¾” as the central line running to 1/8” feeder and mister lines.
There are three main types of dripper systems.
- Gravity drippers
- Rocket drippers
- Dart drippers
Gravity drippers are effective and reliable for indoor or large plant growers. They operate flawlessly and are inexpensive.
Rocket drippers are excellent for up to 1 GPH with a ¼” connector.
The dart drippers are by far the best for high volume plants and are priced with this use in mind, being sold generally by the 100 lot.
Drippers and misters are often used in conjunction at separate intervals. It’s really best to design your irrigation system to accommodate this.
Large plant and indoor growers will be more attracted to the rain rings and hydro-flow drip systems.
The rain rings and hydro-flows are excellent choices for larger plants, offering sizes of 9” to 12” which will cover most large pot sizes.
Drip shields are excellent for more precise watering.
Using drip shields offer more control and greater flexibility on how the water is applied to the plants. They slip easily around the stem of the plant and provide efficient, precise water as it is needed.
No large-scale grower will want to be without a central, electronic controller.
If you’re a larger operation the last thing you need to worry about is monitoring your irrigation and misting. You’re far better served by going with an indoor irrigation, misting and propagation controller to handle it for you.
This is an inexpensive way to assure that irrigation and misting is performed far more efficiently. The electronic managing systems are not glorified timers, but rather sophisticated monitoring control stations that will completely manage irrigation, misting and propagation systems without human intervention.
At one time, automated irrigation was only for the largest and wealthiest greenhouse operations. Today’s technology has made it more accessible and more affordable than ever before.
This all helps maintain a better grow and ultimately, higher profits.
The control and versatility they offer make effective irrigation and water management available to any grower and it’s something you can’t afford to go without.