Underground Water Lines

Last blog I told you about the Lee Valley irrigation system I use, but I didn’t mention that my blueberry patch is on the far side of the property, which required me to drag long, heavy lengths of hose a long distance to water them.

Several years ago we installed underground water lines to the front field where the blueberries grow, to the shade garden at the top of the hill and to the vegetable beds at the back. I also ran a short line off one of those to supply water inside the greenhouse. This is not a high tech system, just lengths of 1/2″ PVC pipe that we bought in 10′ lengths and  joined  together with couplers and PVC cement for the required lengths.

The lines are buried less than a foot below the sod (on our rocky lot) and so need to be drained every fall to avoid freezing and cracking them. To facilitate this, we made sure that, where possible, the lines run down hill. Where they don’t, we just turn off the water at the source while the hose on the end remains open fully to get most of the water through the lines. We have also been known to physically blow in the end or place the leaf blower over the pipe. Just to be sure, we always leave the end faucets open for the winter so that, if there is any expansion, the water has a way out.

The line runs under the lawn up to the house, where it connects to the back faucet.

The line runs under the lawn up to the house, where it connects to the back faucet.

Where the pipe comes up out of the ground at the beginning and end, you need some fittings. At the beginning, you need a way to attach the pipe to the faucet, which requires an adaptor to match the two pipe threads. Also, it is nearly impossible to screw the length of buried pipe onto the faucet, but a quick connect hose fitting solves the problem. At the other end, you need an elbow to bring the pipe up out of the ground and, once again, adaptors to match up the gauges of the pipe threads.

The line that runs out to the vegetable garden, including all of the fittings, cost less than $30 installed. I relied on the kindness and expertise of an old time plumber who works at our local Lowes to figure out what couplers and adaptor I needed to buy. The system is inexpensive, easy to build and it works like a charm. Best of all, it reduced the physical labor needed to drag 100′ hoses all over the gardens and I now have shorter hoses hooked up in a number of locations. Hopefully the following diagram will be enough to get you started planning your own system.

undrground water

About Susan Guagliumi

I am an author, craftsperson and a gardener. My proposal for a book tentatively titled "The Artful Gardener" was just accepted by Stewart, Tibori and Chang Publishers. Although this will be my fifth book, it is the first outside the area of hand/machine knitting. The manuscript is due early in 2013 and the book is scheduled for Spring of 2014. A somewhat longer process than giving birth to a child, embarking on an author's journey can be just as daunting, exciting and almost as fulfilling.
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