Poking Fun
Invention Eases the Process of Irrigation Installation
Grape Grower Magazine, April 2002

By Nancy Gutierrez

The best ideas often come from a combination of first hand experience, based on the need for a change. As an example, the battery extended electricity beyond the limitations of just being used to light homes and businesses, and for the first time provided a source of stored electric energy that didn’t rely on mechanical means. Another example was anesthesia, a little known concept prior to World War I. From surgery to tooth extraction, anesthesia has eased the pain of countless medical procedures. These inventions completely changed the way society looked at electrically generated machines and medical procedures, and paved the way for cell phones, organ transplants, and even pacemakers.

There are less extraordinary examples of inventions that have aided society, ranging from ergonomic chairs, paper clips, and Kleenex with lotion in tissue, or photocopiers and staples. All are inventions that have improved everyday affairs, and agriculture is no stranger to this type of innovation. From the cotton gin to the plow ingenuity has steadily improved the production practices of American agriculturists, and it has happened again.

Though his list of inventions is not as long as that of Thomas Edison’s, Tim Garner’s interest in finding a better way to do something has lead him to the fabrication of some helpful tools, including his latest – a small, 4-inch-long device that does not just assist in the set up of micro-irrigation systems, but has improved the process altogether.

“After years of sore fingers and tired hands accrued from installation, I started thinking of ways that would make installing ‘spaghetti line’ easier and quicker,” Garner said. The concept came to him on a warm spring day in May while he was working in a field with his family. They were engaged in the back-breaking work of putting together micro-irrigation tubing. “We had been plugging in spaghetti line all day when we came up with the idea of the Poke ‘n Plug,” Garner said.

The Poke ‘n Plug is a dual-purpose spaghetti line installation tool that cleanly pokes a hole into irrigation tubing with one end of the device and then plugs in the spaghetti line with the opposite end. The “poke” end of the tool cleanly penetrates the main plastic irrigation line creating a counter-sunk type of hole. No chards are created that impede the flow of water or break loose to cause clogs. Next, the tool is turned around to the “plug” end, with the groove and slots facing up. The spaghetti line is wedged inside the curved cutout area of the device, with the connector flange pressed against the outer end of the tool. Using a thumb to keep the fitting and tube firmly wedged in the groove, an installer uses a focused force to plug the fitting into the punched hole. The last step makes inserting the line as easy as punching the hole. “I had 35 acres with micro-irrigation that I needed to install spaghetti line on, so I used the Poke ‘n Plug and I got done much quicker that I ever have before,” Garner said.

Garner isn’t the only person singing its praises. Manufacturers and installers of drip irrigation and micro-irrigation systems welcome the availability of a spaghetti line installation tool like this. Lee Gibson of Bennett and Bennett, an irrigation sales company, says the creation of a tool like this was long overdue. ‘This is the tricky little tool I’ve been waiting for,” Gibson said. Usually someone installing spaghetti line for jet or mini-sprinklers had only the option of using his or her fingers to insert the tubing. “That’s fine if you are doing one or two,” Gibson said. “But if you’re installing thousands of mini-sprinklers you’ll wear out your hands.” Bloody blisters have long been the result of micro-irrigation installation. “Before all you could do was tape up your fingers,” Gibson said. “But after so many hours of installing, the tape gets a little worn.” The creation of the Poke ‘n Plug appears to have solved that problem.  “When we do installations that is the tool we use. It makes the job quicker and cheaper,” Gibson said.

The all-in-one irrigation line puncture and insertion tool is molded in a bright, nearly fluorescent pink color, making it easy to see in the field or shop. The grip is quite comfortable and the whole unit if molded out of tough styrene plastic.

Though Garner’s creations have made him an entrepreneur by reputation, he is a sales representative for Verdegaal Brothers Inc. by trade. Garner, along with his wife and four children, farms a 350-acre orchard, operates a custom kill hog processing facility, raises sheep, owns his own “roach coach”, or mobile catering service, and manages T & K Enterprises which manufactures the Poke ‘n Plug. He hopes the Poke ‘n Plug is jus the start of a long line of helpful inventions for the agriculture industry.

Garner’s Poke ‘n Plug is available at local irrigation, farm supply, nursery or other garden-oriented retail stores. Click here to learn more about how simple it is to use the Poke 'n Plug.

For more information or to become a distributor or dealer of the Poke 'n Plug, please email or call us at
530-682-2873.

 

 

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