[box]This is what I wrote after a project in the middle of last summer, so don’t get confused with talk of going camping and lots of flowers. I’m not going camping in the middle of March! And the only green in that flower bed right now is iris greenery breaking through the dirt.[/box]
The trouble with learning a little bit about how to fix the sprinklers is that “people” expect you to be able to handle more and more on your own. Thus, I was pretty much on my own replacing one kind of drip irrigation with Netafim in a flower bed at the driveway entrance. My first experience with Netafim (which you can find with the link above) had been when my landscape architect son heped me attach it directly to a subterranean sprinkler pipe in the backyard. This time I was going to be front and center, struggling with a couple hundred feet of Netafim in full view of all the neighbors.
I had tried the other drip irrigation system twice now. The little emitters tended to pop out and create random fountains, thus reducing effective water pressure for the rest of the section. It was proving difficult to monitor them or repair them often enough. So, I went and bought 300 feet of Netafim and a couple of adapters that were recommended. Netafim has embedded emitters every few inches along the pipe. They are designed to not clog or pop out. The lady at Pipeco, where I have been purchasing my Netafim supplies, asked me questions about water pressure that I didn’t have answers to, but I decided to proceed anyway based on what she said was normal.
My husband smiled teasingly at me as I trudged down the driveway with my supplies, which now included a pair of sturdy sharp scissors and a screwdriver that doubled as a nut driver. As I passed my son, who happened to be at our house that day working on another project nearby, he said let him know if I needed help. That is a tricky word, “need.” I thought it likely that I would absolutely need help at some point, but I had to be honest that there were several steps I could do by myself, however awkwardly and slowly. (click on any photo to enlarge)
The first decision was where to cut the original base drip pipe. For the previous system, the main extension of pipe does not have other holes in it unless I put them there and there was an extension of about 125 feet from the sprinkler box that was hole-free before the flower bed. (We live on an acre.) There was no need to replace all of that. I found a good spot close to the flower bed and cut through the black tubing fairly easily. Now, I was committed to the project.
Because it was the middle of summer, there was a lot of thick foliage that made if difficult to measure for and lay the brown Netafim tubing in the flower bed. I opted for laying out the Netafim halfway on top of and sort of between plants to come up with a desired length. I had some fence posts to help guide it in a couple of places, but I wrestled with the established curves of the Netafim from being in a circular stack in storage. AS I tried to turn it to undo those curves, my arms got quite fatigued. I would take breaks, staring at it, trying to visualize if I was actually turning it the right way, or just creating a tangled mess. It would occasionally kink tightly, causing me concern since I didn’t know if it would permanently damage it. I recalled that a “useful website” had been mentioned on the labels, but I had to get this done before we left for camping, so I just plunged ahead. Finally, I estimated that I had unwound enough and cut that off.
The two adapters were going to screw together. Each had an end to insert into a pipe, one for the black drip irrigation pipe, and one for the brown Netafim. The adapter going into the black pipe also needed a pipe clamp to make it secure. Long story short, the proper order of business ended up being:
- insert brown Netafim adapter into the Netafim
- screw the other, gray pipe adapter into it
- slip the pipe clamp over the end of the black drip irrigation tubing
- insert the end of the gray adapter into the black pipe
The word “insert” is technically correct, but literally inadequate for the effort required. It takes quite a bit of twisting brute force to “insert” these adapters. This was the part I thought I would need help with, but, lo and behold, I was not only able to get the Netafim adapter in place, I got the other one on and off twice as I problem solved the process. First, I realized a bit late that it would be impossible to screw in with a 100 foot tail of hard plastic pipe attached to the sprinkler box. Secondly, the first pipe clamp ended up being rusted into uselessness.
That’s when I got help. My husband walked out to the workshop, to his stacked plastic drawers full of millions of spare nuts and bolts, and right to where he keeps “spare” pipe clamps. He handed me a replacement pipe clamp and I got back to work.
Four adapter inserts was truly all that my arms were capable of. The end piece, that crimps the end of the Netafim tubing shut, is much easier to manage. Maybe it was general fatigue from shoveling out the chicken coop in the morning, but I don’t think I will ever be doing full time sprinkler work. But the new section is working. I just need to work on repositioning and pinning it down before too much growth in the spring.