For years we have been working on building a reliable water system for the gardens. We have only one external non-water-softened tap and a very large property. Buying better quality hoses has helped a lot as has replacing all of the washers every year. In addition we just installed a Lee Valley 30psi pressure regulator ($15) and backflow preventer ($5) at the head end of the system.

Backflow Preventer:
If water pressure is suddenly lost (as may happen during a power outage), water in the irrigation lines may be drawn back into the house drinking-water supply, assuming the two are connected. A backflow preventer stops this from happening. It is especially important to have one if your emitters are touching the ground (soil bacteria can be pulled in).

The pressure regulator itself may be more useful for drip irrigation systems (which we don’t have) so that they don’t blow the drip fittings off, but it may also be of use to save our hoses from blowing as well (we have had several blow out over the years).

We use brass 2 way and 4 way manifolds as the plastic ones are plain junk and the zinc ones are not much better, especially with very hard water (200+). The water hoses are normally medium-heavy duty 50′ (16m) and at each junction there is normally a two way splitter, allowing “local” water access. The longest run is almost 300′ (100m) and water pressure does not seem to suffer much (especially now with the better hoses).

Water is now available on demand in the greenhouse, and let me tell you, that is much appreciated!