Newbie - how to set up drip irrigation with Rachio

Hello,

We’ve bought our first home and I’m getting our raised bed garden set up. To ensure our plants get the water they need and no more, I invested in the Rachio 3 smart controller. However, I am clueless.

I have the drip hoses. I have Rachio 3. I want to leverage the smart settings with weather and soil moisture to turn on/off the water only when needed, but I have no idea how to make that happen.

I’ve seen this conversation: Setting up Rachio to Control Sprinklers W/O an Irrigation System

but it’s waaaay too advanced for my understanding. Can someone point me in the right direction?

Thanks in advance!

For best results, I recommend using a fixed schedule for a garden but enable rain skip. The time will depend on the flow rate of your drip hose. I’d run it for 10 minutes and see how many inches deep the water gets into your soil – for garden plants, you’ll want at least 6" watering depth. Then adjust the time. Run in the morning, check soil moisture in the afternoon to see if another watering run is needed to keep the plants from wilting. Vegetable gardens like consistent watering and Fixed schedules does that with none of Flex’s accidental skips because of forecasted rain that may not actually happen.

If you want to use Flex, which can work well with a bit more effort, you’ll need to find out the nozzle in/hr of your drip hose. If there’s some kind of flow rate listed on the hose packaging, that might help to figure it out. E.g., it is possible to convert from GPH or GPM to in/hr by using a representative diameter of a plant’s drip line. However since a drip hose might not have individual point sources of water but waters at every point along the hose… I’m not sure how effective finding in/hr would be. Also its flow rate could be dependent on water pressure so it may be best to measure the flow rate yourself somehow by having it operate over a bucket and finding the volume of water over a 10 minute period and multiplying the volume by 6 to get an estimate of the hourly volume. Ideally, for hypothetical best results, the bucket would be positioned below where the drip hose would normally sit to water plants.

But even with flex you might need an afternoon pick-me-up with a fixed schedule, depending how hot it gets in your area.

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But if your drip hose has individual emitters with a GPH or GPM, you’re set for using Flex and you can use the instructions I put on this post but instead use your most water thirsty plant’s dripline area in the equation. (dripline area = area of soil the plant’s canopy or leaves cover). But again, I recommend fixed schedules for veg gardens.

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I also got Rachio for drip irrigation. I usually don’t water our lawn since it’s wooded etc. I think this year will be my 3rd year with it. I tried to be very scientific w calculators etc but it just doesn’t work. I found the best way is to use the fixed schedules w rain skips etc. I still like Rachio for drip because it can indicate how saturated the soil is etc and for rain skips. God luck