Friday, May 10, 2013

Drip Watering System for Lazy Vegetable Gardening

I am, what I call, a lazy gardener. I don't mind working hard in the spring but when it gets hot, I get lazy. Therefore, I try to do as much work as I am able in the spring to sit back and enjoy the garden through the summer.

In the mail this week, I received the drip irrigation system for my raised beds. Over the past 7-8 years I have been using a 1/2"/ 13mm soaker hose cut to the needed length and joined together with regular garden hose using plastic fittings. However, last year the 1/2"/ 13mm fittings I need were no longer available on the market. Neither in the brick and mortar stores or on the internet. All the available fittings were 5/8"/ 16mm. My old system was not repairable, it was finished, kaput, done. I needed to move on to a new system.

From Lowe's, I purchased a Mr. Landscaper Drip Irrigation Vegetable Garden Kit. This is not a item my local Lowe's stocks. I had to make the purchase online at Over a period of two weeks I experienced problems completing the purchase. Lowe's system just wouldn't complete the sale. I had to call their customer service number listed on the website. To make a long story short, the kit was purchased in Texas and sent via UPS. Way to go Lowe's.

The above tubing included in the kit is 1/4"/6mm inside diameter with one 1/2gal/1.9L per hour/ emitter spaced every 12"/30cm along the hose. This works perfectly with the square foot garden method I am using for these raised beds. How does it work perfectly, you ask? Let me explain.

Each raised bed in divided into 16 equal 1'/ 30cm squares.

Four 4' lengths of emitter tubing, each with four emitters spaced 12" apart are placed on the bed 12" apart. Thereby having one emitter for each sq ft space. On average over the growing season, each sq ft space will need 1gal of water per week. By isolating the water supply to this drip system for two hours per week, the plants will obtain their needed gal/wk.

I started by installing the emitter tubing, opposite of the manufacturer's installation instructions. I cut the end of the tube 6"/15cm from the first emitter. Starting at one side of the raised bed this measurement placed all the emitters in the center of each delineated sq ft area.

Since I had the plastic mulch already atop the raised bed, I needed to thread the tubing under the plastic. To keep out any foreign matter from the hose, which might stop the water flow, I placed a plug into the leading end of the tube.
If you look closely you can see the leading end on the left side of the photograph as I feed the tube under the plastic. If the end wasn't plugged there would undoubtable be some foreign matter in the tube.

Above you can see the tubing exiting at the next plant. Continue feeding the tubing through until you reach the other side of the bed.

I was able to uncover the surface of the bed to place this row of tubing rather than fishing it under the plastic. Much easier doing it that way.

The next step was to pierce the 1/2"/13mm supply tube. 

Insert a connector and push the end of the emitter tubing onto the connector. Do the same for all four of the emitter tubings.

You will notice in the above photograph, the supply tubing tends to keep its curved shape from all the time it spent coiled in the packaging. That needed to be addressed, next.

I found the above items in my garage. Plastic pipe strapping, hex washer headed sheet metal screws and a magnetic socket to drive the screws. I had both phillips headed and these hex headed screws. I chose the hex screws because I knew the screws would rust outdoors even thought they were coated. The hex headed screws would be easier to remove once the rust got to the screws.

I cut the strap so there were three holes to each length. I chose the length after conforming the strap over the black supply line. 

I placed one strap/clamp on each end of the raised bed frame which left some curve in the supply line near the center of the frame.

To take out that hump in the supply line I added another strap/clamp.

Some supply line needs to extent past the raised bed frame to use the double over clamp you see on the red plastic to the left of the pepper plant above. I am leaving the end of the supply line open until it is connected to the water supply. Just before installing the double over clamp on the end of the line water needs to be flushed through the tube to get out any foreign matter that might clog the tube.

Everything fit perfectly and I have more emitter tubing to extend the drip system to other parts of my garden. With the drip system, the plastic mulch and the raised beds, I am almost ready to a lazy season of vegetable gardening.


  1. I have purchased the same product from Lowes. I am using it in raised beds also. I cannot figure out if I can ignore the black vinyl small tube and just put the brown drip tubes directly into the larger hose. Concerned that if I ignore the black vinyl tube it will affect velocity of water flow.. Trying to determine best layout plan for drip lines if i use all three types of hoses. confused.... I see you do not appear to be using the small black vinyl tubes? how's that working?

  2. My use of the brown emmiting tubing is working well without any black 1/4" tubing. The pressure regulator at the faucet is doing its job of regulating the pressure.


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