Putting together a drip system is relatively simple. Typically, it’s about the same between low-pressure systems and high-pressure systems.
The first thing that you have to do is install your pressure regulator. You’ll need to install this at the front end of the line, or the top end of the header pipe.
It’s also a good idea to have an inline screen filter or a spin filter built into the header line as well to make sure to catch any particulates or dirt matter that may come through the piping. It could potentially clog up the emitters of the drip tape or the drip tubing.
The next thing that you’ll need to do is to assemble your header pipe. The header pipe is basically the poly pipe that runs along the end of the garden that distributes the water to each of the drip tubes or drip tapes.
Once you’ve laid down the header pipe, go ahead and punch holes in it to make spots for the connectors where the drip tape or drip tube might attach. Next, you’ll put your connector in. These usually pop in, and sometimes there are reverse threaded couplers that help tighten it down to the header pipe. Once you’ve done this, you next install the drip tape or the drip tube onto the connector piece. You’ll insert the tape over the top of the barb, and then run that reverse threaded coupler back up it in order to tighten it and get a good water seal.
Finally, you’ll need to terminate the line. For the rigid drip tubing, we typically use a permanent fixed end coupler that goes on and acts as a plug for the end of the pipe.
With drip tape, you can do it much more simply and much more inexpensively. All you need to do it to cut a small piece of drip tape - one to two inches long. Then, fold up that drip tape 3 times and insert that small piece of drip tape over the top of it – like a sleeve.
In order to terminate the header pipe, you can do a couple of different things as well. You can buy premanufactured end caps for it that attach with a reverse threaded coupler. Or you can very simply just crimp the end of it and use a small coupler connector to hold that crimp together. Even baling wire can work to keep that water from going anywhere.
This feature story prepared with Cary Rivard, Kansas State University Research and Extension Fruit and Vegetable Specialist. For more information, visit your local county extension office or visit our website at KansasGreenYards.org.