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Automatic watering from a water barrel

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Picture of Automatic watering from a water barrel
I am lazy.  A few years ago I got tired of having to manually water the 15-20 potted plants around our patio, so I put in an automatic drip irrigation system.  I would have liked to run the same system to the side of our house where we have 7 potted plants on and near a side porch, but unfortunately I would have to have crossed about 60 feet of pavement, and it didn't seem to be worth the effort.

So, I bought a water barrel and connected it to a downspout, and that kept me from having to carry water through the house in buckets to water these plants.  But, like I said, I'm lazy, so I decided to try my hand at automatic watering from the rain barrel.

 
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Step 1: Materials required

Picture of Materials required
You need a water barrel, of course, or some other container to use as a water supply. 

Since my plan centered on using a fountain pump hooked to a timer, I needed a fountain pump that would be able to lift water at least 6.5 feet (since one of the plants is on a shelf).  I had an old fountain pump, but unfortunately it would only lift about 4 feet.  I found a 300-500 gph fountain pump locally, and this pump has a lift of 8.7 feet, which was more than adequate.

In addition to the pump, I used an electronic timer, about 20 feet of plastic 1/2 inch tubing, 16 feet of 1/4 inch hose, and an assortment of drip irrigation bubblers and fittings.

The tool requirement was basically something to cut the rubber hose with.  I used a shop knife, but you could also use scissors or a really mean dog....

Step 2: Install the pump

Picture of Install the pump
Since the pump is submersible, installing it was easy.  I took off the inlet screen, and lowered the pump (with the 1/2 inch hose attached) to the bottom of the barrel.  I then had to make a small cutout in the inlet screen to allow room for the hose and the power cord to exit the rain barrel.