Drip Irrigation for Raised Garden Beds

Raised bed gardening is becoming increasingly popular. A raised bed provides a neat place for plants. It is easy to access and makes it simpler to improve the soil.

Drip irrigation will make watering your veggies or flowers in a raised garden bed easy. It will also produce a bountiful harvest and cut down on water consumption. That means it will save you money on water consumption. It will also save you time you could better spend doing other things.

If you are wondering how to provide the best drip irrigation for raised beds, DripWorks is here to help. Follow these simple tips for maximum success.

Watering with a slow drip or an even spray will give you the best results. Choose which drip products are best based on the size of your raised bed and the crops or flowers you will be growing.

Having your water source faucet close to your raised beds is nice but not essential. You should water your beds using an automatic schedule to prevent over-watering or under-watering. You can do that by attaching a battery timer to your faucet.

If you have added compost to your soil every year to create a rich loam, your plants’ roots can grow easily. Loamy soil also drains well, so a daily or every-other-day 20-minute watering schedule should be ample for vegetables. The time between watering will vary depending on the weather, the type of drippers or sprayers you use, your soil type (sand, clay or loam) and the growth stage of your plants.

To protect the drippers or sprayers from getting clogged, attach an Irritec screen filter to the battery timer. Municipal water is usually clean, but you can never be too safe. Even your town’s water likely has a small amount of tiny debris that can block emitters up.

These filters are easy to install and clean. They provide inexpensive insurance for your entire system. If you get your irrigation water from an automatic electronic valve or series of valves with one controller, install the filter before the valve(s). It will then be under constant pressure and require an Amiad constant pressure filter. These filters are some of the best engineered filters in the world.

Next you attach the mainline tubing and run it out to your garden bed. If you have more than one garden bed, they can all be run off the same mainline if you don’t exceed the total number of gallons per hour the faucet or timer provides. The 1/2-inch mainline can carry 300 gallons per hour (GPH).

Each emitter or sprayer is rated for a specific GPH rating. For example, if you install 100 one-GPH drippers and 30 five-GPH sprayers, the total GPH needed will be 250. You will be within the limit of the amount of water available.

When the mainline gets to the first bed, cut the mainline with a pair of pruners, insert an Easy Loc “T” fitting in the mainline and run the tubing up the side of the raised bed. When you reach the top, attach a 90-degree elbow fitting (ELL). The mainline will get attached to the elbow fitting and run across the bed and get ended with an Easy Loc Male Hose End with a cap. This part of the setup is called the header. These fittings and parts can be held in place with hold-downs (SUHD).

At this point in the setup, you have choices. The simplest and often the most practical choice when planting veggies is to connect some flexible Soaker Dripline to the header and run straight rows of this small tubing with factory-installed emitters every six to eight inches.

You can plant along these rows according to where the emitters in the tubing give off their water. If you plant lettuce every foot, then you’ll choose the tubing with emitters spaced every 12 inches (DSD12). If you plant carrots, you might choose the tubing with the emitters spaced every six inches. If you plant tomatoes, peppers, chard, or kale, you can run the Soaker Dripline around each plant once or twice. They will be happy and healthy.

If you are growing perennial flowers, pressure-compensating (PC) Emitter Tubing is a good choice. It is half-inch diameter tubing with PC emitters factory-installed every nine, 12, 18, 24 or 36 inches.

Run the tubing in whatever pattern you need to water the ornamentals so they will all get watered at the same rate. Many gardeners and large landowners use Emitter Tubing in their fruit orchards, for windrows or borders for fields, and along fence lines.

If you have a long (20’-plus) raised bed and you want to plant flowers or things like corn in straight rows, Aqua Traxx drip tape is an excellent choice. This thin-walled product gives off water at a remarkably even rate for very long distances. It can work at an extremely low water pressure (down to two psi). Most homes on a municipal water system have pressure in the range of 30 to 50 psi. Drip tape is commonly used on large commercial farms and small organic farms.

A drip irrigation system for raised beds will make taking care of and watering a raised garden bed easy. You cut down on the amount of time you spend holding a hose while reducing the amount of water you use. You can even hook up a fertilizer injector to your drip line and fertilize as you water.

Choose from the products mentioned in this article and you’ll be doing yourself a favor. For more information, go to www.DripWorks.com.

If you have any questions, such as how long to run drip irrigation for raised beds, we are just a phone call or email away. Here at DripWorks, drip irrigation is more than just a business. It is our passion. We love to talk about this eco-friendly and very plant-friendly watering method, and we will be happy to offer you some advice to get the best results for your specific situation.

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