Bonsai Vineyard: Drip Irrigation

With ten grape vines in pots, and another ten fruit trees, I’ve been doing a lot of hand watering. It’s become quite a chore, so I’ve decided to put in a drip irrigation system. This will have water coming from a garden hose, through a pressure reducing fitting, into a feeder bottle so that I can fertilize, through a half-inch hose, and out of quarter-inch drip lines that run to each pot. Instead of a seemingly endless cycle of fill the watering can – water the vines/trees, I would just be able to turn on the water and go read a book. With a timer, I might not even have to turn the water on and off.

I had an abstract idea of what a drip system was and how it worked. What I needed was some hands on knowledge – what were the various components of a drip system? what did they do? how did they fit together? For a crash course in Drip Irrigation 101, I went to three hardware stores. I struck gold at Lowes with a clerk who had been a plumber and installed many a drip system. Now I have most of the equipment I need and a much better idea of how to put that equipment to use.

    Basic equipment for a drip irrigation system

  • half-inch tubing – delivers low pressure water to the drip system
  • quarter-inch tubing – delivers water to an individual vine or tree
  • 25 PSI Pressure Regulator – keeps pressure from overwhelming the system
  • 3/4″ hose to 1/2″ tubing adapter – connects the system to a garden hose or tap
  • quarter-inch double barbed connectors – connects quarter inch tubing to the half inch tubing
  • 50 quarter-inch hole plugs – plugs holes in the half inch tubing

    Other equipment that might be needed

  • anti siphon device – prevents back flow from the drip system to the water supply
  • filter – keeps dirt from clogging the drip system

You can buy this equipment at a garden center as a kit or as separate pieces. I had planned to buy a kit, and use it as a learning tool, but the clerk at Lowes assembled everything I needed for the system I had in mind. If all goes well, I’ll be putting it all together into a working drip irrigation system for use this summer.

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4 thoughts on “Bonsai Vineyard: Drip Irrigation

  1. John

    Great idea, Erroll. I have a veggie garden this year which has also proven to be quite an irrigation chore. Perhaps an adaptation of your concept would suit my needs in the garden. I’ll certainly be looking into it. Cheers!

    – John Hance

  2. Suzi

    Wow! Great Stuff! I live in a place ruled by a homeowner’s association, but they can’t say a word about what I put in containers! We have a hidden vineyard on a drip system in the side yard, and I could probably increase my 14 vines to 40 this way! A few more emmiters would be all I would need. The container types will be head trained, and I can’t wait to get started!!

    I have ordered 9 varieties in cutting form from UC Davis, that grow in hot, windy, dry climates (because that’s what I deal with), and you have opened tons of possibilities for me. They send 3 to 5 cuttings of each, and now I know if I can get them to grow, I have a plan on where to put them! YAY!

    Thanks so much for all the information!!

  3. Erroll Post author

    Hi Suzi,

    Glad I could help – I hope you’ll come back, once in a while, and update me on how your container vines are doing.


  4. Suzi

    Errol, could you do a post on how you are pruning your container vines? I have done a lot of research on head trained AKA Gobelet AKA Bush Trained vines (basically pruning so there is one fat trunk 2′-4′ high), and branches like a tree with canes springing and falling from those branches. I’d love to see pictures of your vines now that they are older. Thanks!

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