I’ve had my share of dried out pots and non-thriving plants in my raised beds. This year was the year everything received lovely drip irrigation!
The load of the work is done upfront, generally once, and then you are set. We even took a long weekend away and I wasn’t worried one bit about having someone come out to water the gardens. That, itself, made installing the drip irrigation all worth it!
I started with a simple roll of 1/2″ black irrigation tubing. Don’t get confused by the fun colored water line you might see in the plumbing area. I had to ask and they directed me to the yard outside of the store.
I ordered a 15 PSI reducer from Nolts in Iowa. This is a special place ran by some nice Amish folks, so don’t be thinking that you will order this online. It was refreshing to call someone up on the ol’ telephone and order. The advantage is, that they carry a wide selection of greenhouse products for a very reasonable price! PSI stands for pounds per square inch. Simply put, you need to reduce the water pressure coming from your original hose spigot so the pressure doesn’t blow your ends off of your lines.
You will also want a filter. Just go ahead and ask the friendly guy on the other end of the line when you call Nolts. 😉
Keeping sediment out and away from your drip irrigation tubing is really important. This will save you from clogs, leaks, and other problems that sediment could cause.
I just grabbed a bunch of different barbed T’s and elbow fittings as I didn’t really have a plan and kept some on hand for other projects.
You will want to space your 1/4″ emitter tubing out every 12″ in your raised beds. This is emitter tubing is like a tiny little soaker hose. It connects to your 1/2″ irrigation tubing using emitter drippers.
You will also want some plugs for the ends of your emitter tubing to keep bugs and dirt out. I used these. In the end, they went on the easiest.
By using drip irrigation, you are directing the water where to go. I used some landscape staples and some c clamp staples (found those in the plumbing area of Menards) to hold all of my irrigation tubing and 1/4″ emitter tubing right where I wanted it.
A water monitor will help you gauge how much water you are giving your plants. I bought one that had two zones on it. This one is similar to mine.
Do yourself another favor and add a few 1/2″ hose clamps to the list. I did have to go back and add some 1/2″ hose clamps to some of the ends and where the connections were, due to leaks, but not just too many. These worked nicely. They are much easier than trying to find the right socket fitting for your drill, to fit the metal kind on.
Raised beds don’t have the same moisture advantage that the ground does and tend to dry out much quicker. Drip irrigation allows the soil to stay moist and your seeds to get all of the nutrients they need!
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