Except, it’s not quite that easy.
First, you have to remember to change the timer a few times a year. Turn it up in the summer, down in the winter, and maybe once or twice in between. Maybe pencil it in on your calendar, or computer, or cell phone, or whatever, so you’ll remember to actually do it. (I’m not even going to try to advise you beyond that, because I’m no pro. Luckily, the AZ Plant Lady is a pro, and she’s got some great tips for you: Too Much Water Equals More Pruning, a Backache and More $ Spent in the Garden.)
Coupler in the middle, oops plugs to the top and bottom, and lots of dried mud left over from when it was leaking!
Probably the most time-consuming leaks to fix were the ones where the little runner lines (I’m sure that’s not the right term) that came off the main line had come loose. Still, this was easy too. I just pulled out the loose line (no tools required), patched it up with a coupler or oops plug (as described above), and punched a new hole in the main line where I could reinsert the runner line. I couldn’t find a YouTube video of this procedure, but let’s say it takes about 2 minutes and doesn’t require a lot of fancy tools. Not too bad, right?
Step 3: Rinse and Repeat
Here’s the kicker. Once you’ve repaired all your leaks, check your work! I went out this morning and found that I had forgotten to patch one or two holes, and some of my patches didn’t quite work. For instance, here’s a pic of a leak I “fixed” with a goof plug. Clearly, it needs a coupler (which is more sturdy) instead.
Keep fixing and inspecting until you’re sure you’ve got ‘em all fixed.
That’s it. Now that I’ve worked through the worst of it, I’m not sure why it took me so long to do it. As far as maintenance goes, it really wasn’t bad at all.
In my next post, I’ll talk about using soaker hoses instead of drip irrigation to more easily customize your system for ever-changing vegetable gardens.
Update (May 30, 2013):
I forgot one very important step in this post! In addition to checking for leaks, you should also check for clogged emitters. As with everything else described here, this is easy. Just turn on your drip irrigation system, walk around to all your emitters, and make sure they're actually spurting out some water. If not, replace the existing emitter with a shiny new one. Voila! That wasn't so bad, was it? :)