Fertigator

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  #1  
Old 08-29-10, 02:56 PM
ukrbyk's Avatar
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Fertigator

just wanted to share my creation.
this is e-z flow garden feeder. originally, it is designed to be installed into any garden hose, to feed directly through it. it is a 1.3 gal tank with siphon feeder attached to hose coupling and 3 feeding settings.
1. you can deliver any liquid agents through it, fertilizer, insect control, weed killer, etc.
2. as it sucks water in and then delivers mixture into the water flow, you can add mixable soluble agents, like miracle grow, and it slowly delivers solution through the flow.

i had one of those fertile earth things, installed into my irrigation, but delivery was minuscule, nicely said. very tiny doses. so, i used e-z flow very successfully, via a garden hose, for anything from miracle grow, fish fertilizer, liquid fertilizer, moss killer, weed killer, and now insects killer is going in next.
basically, i managed to preserve my lawn with it. through all the heat and lack of rain for several mths.
some explanations.
1. why 3 shut off valves? 2 blue ones are obvious, so that i can take the coupling out. yes, i can. takes a bit of wiggling, but pipe has enough give to let me do this.
2. the red shut off valve in the center line is, actually, there for a curious purpose. siphon feeder works off suction(white line) created by high water pressure. siphon hose attachment has a harrowing inside, right past the black "water in" tube; consecutively, water stream velocity after that narrowing is quite high, and it creates suction for the white, "solution out" tube. Ventury principle.
what i found was that there was very little water pressure in that bypass that i had installed. resulting in slow suction. so, i cut red valve in, and, as you can tell, it is partially blocking main water flow, forcing it into the bypass.
i turn red valve to off completely, when i need to flush the siphon. some ingredients do not mix, like moss killer and weed killer, they turn into a jelly like substance and will plug the system.
3. why tank is wrapped into ducktape? well it's made out of capron or smilar plastic. they say to turn water flow off to avoid tank rupture, and for this application, as my irrigation is set to start at 4:30 am, i am not running there at 4:25 to turn pressure on.
tank does expend if water pressure is left on. so, i removed tank, - it shrinks back to the original size a little - and wrapped it into ducktape all over. just re-enforcement. appears to hold well, btw.

hoiw do i know it's time to refill? when fluid inside is clear.



 
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  #2  
Old 08-30-10, 04:23 AM
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Join Date: May 2010
Location: South Florida
Posts: 376
Thank you for sharing. Your fertigator, as you call it, may meet your needs. If so, thatís great!

When you speak about using it for weed and insect control, and useful for delivering any liquid agent, I donít believe a 3 setting device will do what you seem to think it will do . . . at least not safely. Some years ago, I built an injector for the purpose of cleaning my drip emitters and irrigation lines w/ a chlorine solution from time to time . . . it has a Stenner pump w/ 10 settings, and a much larger tank due to volume requirements.

From a practical perspective, Iím not sure why you would want to inject weed killers through your irrigation system. Post emergent herbicides are usually applied precisely, not broadcast spread over ornamental grasses and plants . . . there are a few limited exceptions I can think of where a weed killer is included in fertilizer but you need to do your homework. I canít imagine use of common herbicides like Round Up or Finale being delivered by this type of device.

Fertilizer application rates have less sensitive to precision. However, you still need to understand the product your using to see if the 3 setting device delivers the concentrate at the proper ratio. Identifying the injection ratio for each setting begins that process. For example, commercial liquid fertilizers are designed for growers and farmers to inject through their proportional injector systems. These are precision devices that use an injector pump, and proportions the solution accurately based on changing irrigation flow rates as pumps kick on to re-pressurize the water system. These fertilizer solutions are highly concentrated w/ little or no water as a soluble since the irrigation water is intended to do that. Contrast that against some retail liquid fertilizers which may have a large volume of water . . . if the fertilizer has already been diluted w/ water so that homeowner can apply directly to plants, then running that solution through your irrigation system will dilute it so much that it would likely be ineffective, or absolutely cost ineffective as such a large quantity would be needed. Miracle Gro makes a simple Ďfertigatorí w/ only one ratio that screwes on the end of a hose . . . the sealed bottle has a concentrated Miracle Gro solution, and while not a precise applicator tool, it works well in some situations.

When you talk about using this system for injecting insecticides, I wonder if you have a deep understanding of what your doing. First, there are so many different insecticides on the market, most have different mixing rates. Perhaps thinking about a back-pack sprayer may help. Lets say an insecticide requires 0.8 oz. mixed w/ a gallon of water . . . after that, itís being delivered by the back-pack sprayer w/ no additional water. So you would need to do mathematical calculations to figure how much concentrate would be put in your tank, and what setting to use, so that it is delivered properly and in accordance w/ labeling instructions. With only 3-settings, you would probably not luck out so that the concentrate could be applied directly into your tank, and delivered properly based on the setting . . . more likely, you would find yourself adjusting the concentrate by adding a certain amount of water into the tank so that when that mixed solution is further diluted by irrigation water at the ratio of your setting, it would then be around the prescribed application rate. This would need to be done for each chemical if having a different solution rate.

If your PVC pipes shown in pics are connected to your home water drinking system, make sure you have a functioning back-flow preventer connected on your system . . . even if drinking water is not involved, your building codes (public health dept.) may have regulations requiring a back-flow preventer to safeguard the public water supply if drawing from a well or surface body such as a lake.
 
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