Irrigation Systems for Raised Garden Beds

Irrigation Systems for Raised Garden Beds

With the disposition of raised beds and the fact that raised garden beds are prone to drying out a little faster than ordinary backyard gardens, its no surprise to us that we will have to install irrigation systems or a watering drip feed device at some stage. This of course, is very dependent on where we live, what the climate is like and what we are growing. Some plants and crops require a little more watering than others. In an ideal world, the idyllic situation would be to have a balance of rainfall and sunshine, but that don’t always happen. So to counteract this dearth of rainfall, we will need to install or invent a system, to water or irrigate our raised bed gardens.

There are hundreds of these systems available for purchase online, we can devise our own watering system, and in other instances, people water their own garden beds the old reliable way with a watering can. Some of these irrigation systems that can be bought over the internet are sort of high tech. with timers and on/off control switches which will take care of our watering tasks if that is what we want. There are others that we will have to physically monitor from a tap and turn on or off as we want. In other cases such is the technical advancement of these systems, we can actually control these via an app. on our mobile phones. Yes, you heard me right, I kid you not. To be honest, who would want to be controlling the watering of their gardens with a mobile phone app, say from their sitting rooms, definitely not me. The genuine gardening enthusiast would like to see for themselves visually, if their raised garden beds need to be watered or not. We will look at some of these systems and how they compare, do they stack-up to scruitiny and how they fare out price wise.

 

 

Gravity garden raised bed kit;

 

The above system is a little different to what we might expect for a watering method that we would like to install in our raised beds, but nevertheless, its functional and will cater for our watering needs in the garden beds. Its a gravity flow system and will require a supply or reservoir of water for this device to work. An ordinary rainwater barrel will do for this exercise, but it needs to be 3-5ft above or over the level of the raised beds. There is a 10m length of hose which will bring the water from the source to the beds and then we have approx 20ft of 3mm length of micro tubing, which will carry the water to the drippers, which come with the kit. There are also connectors, elbows, hose end stoppers, the water drippers and a rainwater barrel hose connector. Again I stress that this is a gravity flow irrigation system and we need to bear this fact in mind and also that we need to have the water supply above the level of the raised beds. Cost of this system is $140, which if implemented properly will definitely save time and money over the long term.

 

Soaker hose, ¼”  (500ft);

 

This is a different approach to our irrigation solutions and with this system, we will require a water source which can deliver at least 25 psi. in order to enable this method to operate successfully. There are extra little drippers which must be attached every 12, 18 or 24″, depending on how dry the soil is or how much watering we may require. The other factor that needs to be taken into account is, we need the water to be filtered so that any particles of dirt do not block up the drippers and if we are living in an area where hard water is prevalent or we have lime in the water, that also needs to be eliminated.  The drippers which are sold seperately cost approx. $6 per 50 and will have to be manually inserted into this water hose.  The coil of hose works out at $60, so we are looking at an outlay of $70 for this system. With 500 ft of hose, we can cover a lot of ground for sure, but we may require some extra fittings, which we can obtained at any hardware store.

 

 

Garden grid watering system;

 

As we can see from the above image, we have an entirely different irrigation method, one which can easily be implemented and will do the business as well.  This system is available for purchase over the internet, it costs $90 (inc. shipping) and comes with a set of instructions. No tools are required for this devise and the hoses are pre-drilled for the watering. How we divide up the hosing around the raised bed is up to ourselves, ie, we can have the grid pattern as above, or we can have the hoses going length ways along the raised beds, with spaces of 12″. The fittings work seamlessly and its very easy to install this system. There is also a flow-meter which will adjust the amount or pressure of water to be dispersed. All of this is connected to a standard ½” watering hose,  so therefore we can adjust the water flow at source also.

 

 

In the above image we can see how well this devise works and we can also monitor the amount of watering we may need for the different vegetables and crops that we are growing. So the choices are endlesss, as we have just looked at and the choice is also ours to make in deciding, do we make life easier for ourselves….or do we carry on watering the old ways with the good old watering canister.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this review and as always we are social, do drop us a line or leave some comments in the visitors section below, where we will promptly reply to all of your questions.

Happy gardening once again to all

Cheers……….Phil Browne.

 

“From plants that wake when others sleep,

from timid jasmine buds

that keep their odour to themselves all day,

but when the sunlight dies away

let the delicious secret out

to every breeze that roams about”.

—Thomas Moore

 

6 thoughts on “Irrigation Systems for Raised Garden Beds

  1. Irrigation is an interest of mine where I used to work as an engineer for one of the larger irrigation companies. I used to use 1/4″ soaker tubing and found that it clogged over time and left dry spots and then tried micro sprinklers which worked great until the garden grew taller than the sprinklers. I then moved to using 1/2 tubing that I punched holes in it with a nail which is what I have used since. The grid pattern that you demonstrate is of interest to me because it is much like what I made with the tubing with nail holes but looks much more thorough and rigid than what I came up with. Do you have additional thoughts on the grid system?

    1. Hi there,

      Many thanks for dropping by and offering comment feedback, very much appreciated. Yes I agree with you on the soaker hose, that it can cause diificulties, from time to time. With the holes on the spriklers being so small, it was evident that they would become clogged and cause problems. There is possibly a need for a filter at the source of this waterng syatem and that would eliminate a lot of the issues and reduce our stress levels also.

      The grid system looks very robust and will definitely be a better option. The great thing with this method is we could very easily make a system like this ourselves. if we had all the components and fittings, ( four way connectors, t junctions, elbows and stoppers ) we could construct this to whatever pattern dimensions we need and make the holes with a nail as you suggest, decide on how many we need and what space apart they need be.

      Thanks again for stopping by and happy gardening

      Cheers…..Phil Browne

  2. Being a fellow gardener i like the way that you have have devoted quite a lot of detail in the subject of raised beds. Irrigation is probably one of the neglected part of building a raised be.I myself have mainly shrubs, flower beds greenhouse etc. i am considering building a few raised beds in the future months ready for spring next year. Meanwhile carry on with the good work.

    1. Hi there Andrew,

      Thanks for stopping by and reading this post. I agree with you on the irrigation of the raised beds subject, its definitely neglected from time to time and an issue thats part and parcel of raised bed gardening, especially if we live in a hot climate. I am glad that you found this review informative and helpful and hopefully, it will be of some assistance, down the road sometime.

      Best wishes on your gardening adventures.

      Thanks again for dropping by,

      Cheers…….Phil Browne.

  3. Thanks Phil,for a really enlightening article.
    We have a small, very uneven garden with heavy clay soil. I think the raised beds would be a brilliant way to get some good soil on top of the clay and keep it irrigated but drained.
    There is a garage wall at the bottom end with a guttering and a down pipe which could be fed into a rain barrel.
    I was thinking about how to arrange it so that the upper level would get most of the water (from a large rain but,) and the water would leech through to the lower levels.
    Are the sides of the levels made of wood? They appear blue in the picture and very regular in shape. I wondered if they were some kind of weather proof plastic.
    The top-level could be used for plants needing deeper soil.
    This has really sparked off some ideas in my head.
    Great article. Thanks again.

    1. Hi there HappyB.

      Many thanks for stopping by and reading this post, its very much appreciated. I am glad that you got some inspiration from reading this and hopefully, the ideas will become useful to you some time later on. Definitely, the rainwater barrel is a great way of collecting and storing the rainwater and as if you suggest you can find a system of using it to irrigate your gardens, that would be great. That is the system that people used long ago to harvest the rainwater and it catered for most of their watering requirements over the course of the growing season.

      The other problem that you mentioned was how to manage your garden with a slope. Yes, raised beds would rightly be a solution to this issue, you could step them down along the garden every so often and that would take the slope out of the equation for you. The insides of these raised beds are lined with a waterproof membrane liner, so that the boards are not in contact with the plants and vegetables.

      Thanks again for taking the time to read this post and for offering some great feedback.

      Best wishes and happy gardening,

      Cheers…….Phil Browne.

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