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Join Date: Nov 2007
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Flip Flop to Better Distribute Slow Water to Plants

02/24/2013 7:33 PM

I use a low pressure airlift pump to slowly cycle water and nutrients around plants in an inclined pallet. However it all falls on one spot and there isn't enough pressure to spread it. This is ok until the soil dries out either side of it and then capillary action does not spread the water anymore. So I came up with this to spread the water along the top of the planter.

It uses a piece of drywall corner metal and when it gets full enough it flops over and empties. Now a full 5 to 6 ft long section at the top gets wet so things should grow much better. The soil is 4 to 6 inches deep and I am also trying "aeroponics" in one section underneath. This section is enclosed with about a 4 inch gap. I have drilled some holes through and I hope roots come down the holes into the high humidity air gap. If things went perfectly moisture might even drip down the roots as the descend. Anyway here is video of the flip flop in action

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#1

Re: Flip Flop to Better Distribute Slow Water to Plants

02/24/2013 8:59 PM

Simple and ingenious. It reminds me of bamboo flip-flips in some Japanese gardens, which make a soft rhythm.

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Guru

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#3
In reply to #1

Re: Flip Flop to Better Distribute Slow Water to Plants

02/24/2013 10:03 PM

Thanks, last year I made a version of bamboo flip flops with pop bottles instead of bamboo but it was really hard to balance them and it was only slightly better spread of water than a drip in one area. This is much easier and the spread is pretty even. People probably have done it before. The material is very rigid, hopefully similar is available everywhere. Once a few people make them, they will find better ways.

Brian

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#2

Re: Flip Flop to Better Distribute Slow Water to Plants

02/24/2013 9:35 PM

Nicely done.

.

Another possible fix for dry spots is to bury sections of soft nylon rope (bigger around is better, but anything over 1/2" would be fine) a couple of inches below the soil.

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The nylon rope acts as a wick. You can also wick water up from a reservoir below....If you do this and you have a good amount of nutrients in the reservoir below, the wicks need to be rinsed out occasionally as they tend to get clogged up with nutrient salts.

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#4

Re: Flip Flop to Better Distribute Slow Water to Plants

02/28/2013 2:29 PM

I would use a piece of plastic evestrough as the distribution trough and drill holes every 2 inches- then if one area is getting more or less you could control by using wooden plugs or screws to control each holes flow

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Guru

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#5
In reply to #4

Re: Flip Flop to Better Distribute Slow Water to Plants

02/28/2013 3:00 PM

The first thing I tried is a 1/3 cut of 4 inch drain pipe (so very similar in shape to the evestrough). But I did not try to mount it to tilt because it is quite heavy. I think your idea would work.

Brian

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#6

Re: Flip Flop to Better Distribute Slow Water to Plants

03/04/2013 9:20 PM

I have a playlist about it now. It can be used for the irrigation, as a bird scare and to collect solar heat and deliver it to the roots in something like a cold frame. Getting heat to the roots is hard usually because the soil has a heat capacity half that of water and it acts as an insulator. But by putting the solar heat straight into the water in the flip flop or in corrugated plastic that the water falls on before it reaches the plants would enable the heat to go right to the root zone straight away. Anyway, the playlist contains the birdscare, water heating by 7 degrees (just in the flip flop for about 3 minutes and the original video of how it works. It would be super awesome if someone else made one of these flip flops straight away. It is gardening season soon and people are already questioning how well the thing works and looking for second opinions. But I made the first one on the 22nd of February, there are no second opinions! If anyone does it, I will happily add their video to the playlist.

Brian

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#7
In reply to #6

Re: Flip Flop to Better Distribute Slow Water to Plants

05/14/2013 1:41 AM

Someone in the windowfarms community will probably try it fairly soon. They really like it and they were trying to solve that exact same problem in multiple ways. It always amazes me how slow people are to try simple new stuff like this. As they say, "it is not rocket science". I got rebuked by a bunch of people in a homesteaders group on facebook for asking people to "spend 5 bux at their local hardware store to diy test this"! They somehow got the idea that I would get a portion of the 5 dollars! People are incredibly thick sometimes, God help them if they ever have to homestead for real. This is community commons licensed and the license allows commercial use too. If the local, artsy crafty economy was working correctly, people would be making all manner of flip flop cutesy things by now for sale to tourists all over the place. I think innovation is a lost art.

Brian

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