Drip irrigation for container garden

I have a multiple rooftop container garden that is right now taking me about 90 minutes to water averaging around 150 gallons of water per day. On days where I have to water heavily it will be 200 gallons and 2 hours of work and light watering days it will take me about an hour and 100 gallons -- estimated. Today it rained all day so yay for me!
I don't know why I didn't think of this earlier but I need to seriously consider installing an automated or semi automated drip irrigation system next year because this watering is becoming real work and making gardening not so fun. Now that all the plants have gotten big they use more water and it takes much longer than in June when the plants were small.
So I did a google search on drip irrigation for container gardens and was kind of overwhelmed with information. Does anyone know of a good source of material (book or web site) that will explain this to a novice like me? My garden consists of containers from 20 gallon tubs for tomatoes, cucumbers, strawberries, etc. to 8'x2'x2'(high) large planters to lots and lots of 5 gallon buckets. I'm quite confused about what to use for what like soaker hoses, or sprayers, or drip emitters, or drip tape, etc. I'll probably skip timers with the initial installation and will just turn the system on and off manually at first.
Also if anyone has experience with a good vendor that would be great too. If anyone wants to see pics of my garden goto:
http://www.brandylion.com/gallery/Garden_2006?page=1
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Mark Anderson wrote:

There was a website from Mary Tiefert, which is no longer online. I used that and I was able to put together a good system. Her book can be found online, so you may consider buying it.
I used the vendor she listed in her website, it was based in Oregon and they gave me superior material and good service, however the last fittings and connectors you may have to buy locally, simply because you will need extra trips to the store to see that things really fit together.
You are right that timers are not important. One problem that you will have is that if your tape or drip line lays across the top of a 5 gallon bucket, the drop may run all the way to the edge and drip out of the bucket. Then your expensive system will fail. One way to avoid that is to slightly overfill the buckets, so that the emitter is in contact with the soil. Then the drip will not run. Also, for 5 gallon buckets you may prefer the dripline with one emitter every 18 inches, but for thristier plants a line with one every 12 (also commonly available) will be preferrable. I am shocked that you need that much water on a rooftop garden. One inch for a 25X25 feet garden is about 350 gallons, and that is a large garden, and one inch is good for a week.

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Did you look at his site? OMG that's a lot of planters. I can't imagine watering it all by hand.
rancher

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In article snipped-for-privacy@my-deja.com says...

For some reason one day I realized how much time I spent/wasted each day watering and then started adding everything up. The containers seem to dry out quickly and each and every one of them need either a spritzer or a complete soak each day. The tomato tubs each get a minimum of 1 gallon per day now and the cucumbers get at least 2 gallons. The 5 gallon bucket plants get about 1/3 to 1/2 gallon each per day now. Earlier in the year it was less. My alley morning glory vines which consist of 4 planters (about 32 cu. ft. of planter space) now take 20-25 gallons of water each day. When I fertilize I use a 2 gallon bucket with that water soluble Miracle Grow and one day only gave them 9 buckets of blue stuff and the stupid vines wilted by the afternoon. It's ridiculous.
This variation in watering makes designing an irrigation system for container gardens very difficult although I do have until next Spring to figure this out. I went to Amazon to look up Mary Tiefert's book and she didn't seem to be listed.
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simy1 wrote:

Keep in mind that containers (even large ones) are not cooled by earth contact. Even if they were painted white or wrapped with aluminum foil - they are gonna be very close to air temp. by afternoon - not enough thermal mass to maintain a cool temp. That is gonna require more water. Maybe if they were insulated somehow, or the containerer shielded from the sun, might help a little.
Still, ANY form of semi-automated irrigation will save you some labor and, using a timer, may save a little on water if it can be applied more consistently or at a time which reduces loss to evaporation.
Carl
--
to reply, change ( .not) to ( .net)

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I use soaker hoses and hold them down with "earth staples". Ingrid

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I have been using drip irrigation in my garden for years now and love it. The company I use is in CA and have been very consitant and reliable with good communication www.dripirrigation.com they have a good informative web site and a great selection of equipment. Some locally bought products work with their brand and some do not so I advise you to buy everything you need at one source. You can start off small and add as you go, and is a reasonably priced system to install. I am a 64 year old woman and no engineer but find it a beeze to connect. Good luck.

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In article snipped-for-privacy@numail.org says...

Thanks for the recommendation! I did find this site via google and it is extremely informative and they have forums where you can ask the staff questions, which I have a lot of. It's good to know that they are a good retailer because I was thinking of using them. Now I'm pretty sure I will.
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Hi Mark,
I use to buy my irrigation accesories on this website:
http://www.plasgotirrigation.com
Mark Anderson ha escrito:

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<snipped>
Hi I too have a roofgarden, but nowhere near as big as yours so I don't have an automatic system :~) http://www.ljconline.nl/garden/indexgarden.htm
Leaky pipe is OK but will 'leak' all along their length.
I am in Europe so don't know what's available in the US. There are some links on my site about watering, but I'd guess that standing your pots in drip trays would maybe mean you'd only need to water maybe every three days?
Depends of course where you are and how hot it is.
Jenny (Holland)
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