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Help to make a self watering drip irrigation system (using an air well+gravity pressure drip irrigation) Answered


lately I have become interested in DIY drip irrigation systems and have begun building one myself.
The I started thinking:" wouldn't it be great if I didn't have to manually fill up the tank?" and remembered that there was already a very low tech way to get water: the air well!!
Well, why not put the two things together?
The air well collects the water and then this is distributed to the plants through the drip irrigation system.
Obviously people have already thought about this (here's a link to a great project http://www.bustler.net/index.php/article/airdrop_irrigation_wins_first_prize_at_2011_james_dyson_awards/), but I was thinking if there was a way to build something even less technological, i.e. with no pump (I would rather use gravity instead) and no special condenser, but rather something made from recycled/easy to get parts.
After all I don't live in a desert, so a less efficient system would do just fine.
It's just so that I don't have to carry heavy buckets of water to quench the thirst of my synergic garden.

Another cool thing to make would be a poor man's version of this http://www.groasis.com/en



6 years ago

Get some dark or black plastic or glass beads (the smaller the better) and put them in a container... you don't need it too deep. Place it out in the sun. That night, before you go to bed, or early in the morning before sun up., check to see if there is any water collected in the bottom. If so, then you have enough night time moisture in the air to condense on the sun warmed beads.
See if you have a place. where they won't be in the shade and make a bank of them. Roof or on a wall, or on a low fence. just make it high enough that you can affix your drip tubes to the bottom of it and let gravity do the rest. You may have to clean it out from time to time from dust or leaves, but it would otherwise be low maintence. You need to keep the top or sides near the top free to allow the night air inside to the beads.
If you want to make one big one, don't make it deeper than a couple inches. The bottom ones would not get enough heat from the sun to warn up properly. You could let it run off into a holding chamber and from there into a drip/flow chamber.
For this, you would add a stool type float mechanism.
Every time the drip/flow chamber gets to a certain low mark, the float will make the dew collecting water chamber release water until the flow chamber is filled again.
Is that confusing at all? I hope not. Any way that is another way to look at a non tech drip system.
Good luck!


Reply 6 years ago

Wow, thank you! it seems like a great solution!
I will try it right away.
By the way, what should the ideal bead size be? As you mention, small is good, but should I look for beads with a diameter of a couple of millimeters or a couple of centimeters?

p.s. sorry for the silly question, but what is the mechanism behind it? I always thought that moist warm air, in contact with a cold surface would condense, not the other way around, with moist cool air touching a warm surface.


Reply 6 years ago

I would say 6 - 8 mm would be okay as the smallest. 13 - 15 mm the largest. You want a lot of collecting surface that is tightly curved and will not hold the droplets on its surface The important part is the smooth surface. No facets or bimps and valleys like you get with rocks. Not porous at all. I glass would be best.
Think of the dew on the plants, the sidewalk, the handrails and your car. You want that dew to collect and run off into the bottom of the container not stay on the surface and evaporate the next morning.
I don't take the temperature of my yard furnature, but I do notice that the black handrail gets a lot more dew action than the white metal table. My assumption is that the black holds the heat longer and produces more condensation. Try a couple of different colors and see if there is more, less or the same amount of collection.


Reply 6 years ago

Thanks for the information and sorry for this very late reply. Somehow I missed your message.
I will try experimenting :)