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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
If this is the wrong forum, please feel free to move it to the appropriate one.

I have a garden that is about 75'x50' as well as 30 fruit trees to water. I was using an old Goulds pump powered by an even older Fairbanks hit-n-miss engine. I am getting tired of fooling with it, and I think I might buy a 6hp water pump from TSC. It is rated at 9000 gph, but it has to pump up a 30' head, so I'm sure it will be less. The pump has a 2" inlet and 2" outlet. I'd like to build a manifold of some sort to run a few hoses to sprinklers, a hose to a water tank, and a hose to drag around for the fruit trees. Is all of this doable somehow, and anyone know of any web links to some tips on setting something like this up? My main question is if I could make my manifold to power 5 or six garden hoses, or will I have too much pressure for this? I don't want to ruin the pump. I am figuring if I was to run it for about 1/2 hour every two days or so it would be fine for my uses, if my plan would work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Scotty,

A return line was exactly what I was thinking (and wanted to avoid). I picked up the pump tonight and a pile of fittings. I have no idea what this creation will look like, but I'm going to give it a shot. One good thing I found in the instruction manual for the pump is that I can just throttle it back to almost half speed to lower the output. I have seen some pumps that have a built-in governor and run at pretty much one set speed. I was afraid this pump was like that, but it appears I can cut the output down by at least 30-40%. That along with the higher head should get me down to a manageable output pressure.

The old Goulds pump is neat (because it is old), but even when running well it could barely power two sprinklers. If my plan works I'll probably sell the Goulds pump and just keep the old Fairbanks engine for playing around with because it is a cool old engine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I did end up getting the 6HP semi-trash pump with the 2" inlets and outlets. The hoses and fittings cost me more than the pump. Oh well.
I bought a 20' section of the 2" rigid hose to connect to the pump, and another section of the 2" flat blue PVC to connect to that. I also bought the kit that comes with the 2" rigid hose suction line, and another chunk of the 2" flat PVC, and a screen for the end of the suction like. The pond I'm drawing from has about 500 frogs in it and a few turtles, so I didn't want to see if frogs and turtles would make it through the pump. :laugh:

Then I have a mess of white PVC fittings to go from 2" down to five 3/4 garden hoses, and a spare port for whatever. The pump is going up a good 30' head, and it does take a minute or two for it to decide it's going to get the water up there, but once it does it flows pretty well. It is also sucking up about 3-4' from the level of the water in the pond. I don't know the name for sprinklers, but the pump will power two of the sprinkler heads the go round and round (unless you put the stop down), and two that look like a wide fountain and move back and forth making an arch of water, as well as one garden hose with a showerhead end on it. I have to do some adjusting to balance the flow, but it seems like it will work. Four sprinkler heads of some sort would probably be the ideal amount if you want them to work as good as one sprinkler supplied by your home outdoor faucet.

I'll grab a few photos later today once I get everything set up kind of how I want it.

If you had the suction line with only a foot or two of head, and the pump was pumping up 8-10', it puts out a TON of water. I had it running to test it when I first got the pump and I swear in about 1 minute I had 4" of water on a 10'x10' patch of lawn. Some guys were working on a sports field my township is putting in and the guys were sucking water from a stream by my house to fill a large tank on their lawn service truck. It was about a 500 gallon tank and they were using a pump that looked just like mine with a 2" line. It took them maybe 10 minutes to fill their truck.

A future plan is to get a 250 gallon tank and fill that and run a few of those soaker hoses so I can turn it on and just let the tank slowly drain. I know where a bunch of those 250 gallon tanks are, I just need to plan my layout before I go get one (or two).
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
You can buy the 2" rigid hose or flat PVC by the foot at TSC, and they sell a ton of different fittings to connect everything, so getting from the tank to the pump wouldn't be much trouble. But yes, a 6hp pump would be able to suck the tank dry in a few minutes, so you'd probably need 20 sprinklers to make use of the flow with no real pump head pressure to deal with.

You could always go down to a 1.5" or 1" pump. I think they are under 5hp. It would take a little longer to fill and empty the tank, but you wouldn't need a spray system on the delivery end designed to handle 8000 gph.

I personally would have liked something PTO-powered, but the only decent PTO pumps I was finding were 10000 gph units that cost $2500+, a bit out of my price range for a garden.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I set up my "distribution system" this afternoon and grabbed a few photos. I think I'm going to make one more change, and get rid of the one type of sprinkler as they don't really function that well without a higher pressure. I am also going to add a valve to two of the outputs so I can change things instead of either shutting the pump off, or trying to swap a hose nozzle with the pump running (it can be done, but a change of clothes and waterproof watch are required).

This is the "arch" type of sprinkler that works good:
Soil


This is the "round and round" one that doesn't work too good:
Leaf Soil Plant Plastic Gardening


Pardon my names for the sprinklers, I have no idea what the proper name for them is.

Here is the 5-headed hydra that supplies the water. Hopefully I never find out if it grows another head if one gets chopped off:
Grass Irrigation sprinkler Wire Plant Electrical supply


Here is the 6hp pump:
Vehicle Grass Jungle Plant community Plant


If you notice the semi-rigid output line (the one coming out of the top) has a slight bulge in it. A word of advice, the output orientation can be moved by removing the four bolts that hold the fitting on, and turn it to one of four directions. If you change the output to the same side as the muffler, it would be a good idea to be sure the PVC hose isn't running in front of the muffler. So far it isn't getting any worse since I made sure it stays off to the side, but if it finally pops, I'll have to stick a splice in there.

Here is the semi-rigid PVC to flat blue PVC connection:
Grass Soil


I then bought another piece of the flat stuff to connect to the first flat blue one and get me to the top of my hill and that seems to be working.

One other tip, the 3/4" hoses definitely flow MUCH more water than the 5/8" ones. You can use the two hose sizes to even the flow out somewhat, but the sprinklers definitely work better with the 3/4" hose. Personally, I'd spend the extra on the 3/4" hose even just for normal garden use. They are generally higher quality hoses.

If I knew this big mess was going to work out okay like it has, I would have probably went searching for some sort of black 2" PVC water supply line and just buried it from the pump to the hydra. When the flat blue hoses finally start leaking that is probably what I'll do.
 
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks, yes, I'm pulling water from a small pond and pumping up a 30' hill (30' head, but about 50' of hill). The pressure is less than if the sprinklers were running from you house faucet, so I'd say certainly under 50 psi. I haven't tried just running three sprinklers to see what happens, but once I pick up the two valves I'll give it a shot. I have to see if I have anything laying around to measure the pressure at the sprinklers, or at least at the hydra. It would probably be a good idea to do so.

As I mentioned, when I first tried out the pump I just took water from the pond and out one blue hose onto the ground, it was like a firehose coming out. You would suck a 250 gallon tank dry in minutes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
They had at least three of the 6HP ones at my local store. The salesgirl helping me was complaining because she said the TSC higher-ups sent a truckload of them to our area last fall after all of the rain and flooding we were having. I tried to get a discount, but I'm guessing they will start selling again because it is too dry now, and not too wet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Well, I found the first flaw in my system. I would be willing to bet several of you reading this have wondered about it, and it was in the back of my mind as well. I am sucking this water from a pond. Yes, it has some pond scum and plant life in it. The screen on the suction hose has about 3/16" holes in it. Enough to keep out frogs and sticks, but not enough to keep out small bits of plant material. I was running the sprinklers this afternoon and all of a sudden they just stopped working. I thought maybe the pump impeller had sheared a key or something, but everything still had pressure. The sprinklers had just become clogged with plant matter. I ended up removing the sprinklers and just letting the hoses run in the furrows alongside the plant rows. It worked okay, but I'm not sure if it is the most beneficial way to be watering. For now it is what I'll have to do. I guess the good thing is that my garden happens to be set up with furrows between each row of plants, so the water just ran down along them. It is only on a very slight hill and the water filled the trenches about 1" deep as it flowed down it. It took maybe 15 minutes for the water to get all the way down the trenches, and then I let it run for a few more minutes and shut down for the day.

Any of you reading this, how do farmers irrigate things like rows of tomato plants in a field? Do they just let water run in a trench along the plant hills once a day or something?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Believe me, if the screen was sitting on the bottom the sprinklers would have clogged a lot sooner. I used two key bits of ******* engineering, duct tape and plastic gallon jugs. :laugh: I taped an empty gallon oil jug to the suction line about 2' from the end so it floats and keeps the screen off the bottom of the pond. The pond has a good bit of "stuff" in it, so I am going to be stuck dealing with it. I have to do some more investigating into irrigation systems and how the big guys deal with it. I may end up just going with the water in trenches next to the plants. It seems like it is working okay. I'll run some more water tomorrow and if it looks like the plants are happy, then I'll be happy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
But I never tried to use yard sprinklers. Just open ditch irrigation.

Good luck
Does the open ditch irrigation seem to work? That is effectively what I am doing now. The plants seem to be doing okay, but I have to make a few modifications to my furrows to make it more efficient. I didn't set the garden up with this method in mind, but at least everything is in rows so I can deal with it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
f42,

Which sprinkler head and nozzle did you get? I think I need to put a pressure gauge on my system because I have no idea how much pressure it actually puts out. It did work okay this past summer with the trench irrigation setup, but a sprinkler of some sort would make my life easier.
 
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