Monday, April 5, 2010


With my raised beds done and in place, I have to now decide what to do about irrigation. There is no way I can be trusted to water things regularly, so have pretty much always used a timer to give everything 15-30 minutes of water a day. I use soaker hoses, and those have worked well for me.

I've heard of some people using a drip irrigation system, but that seems like more work to me. I'm OK with cutting old regular hose to the proper length, attaching fittings and then cutting soaker hose to fit on each bed. Is a drip system worth it? I'm also under the impression that having a drip system will limit my options a bit as far as where the driplines get pointed. I guess I just don't know all that much about a drip system. Any thoughts from readers would be welcome.

I had asked the other day what people thought of battery packs and drill bits and actually went to Home Depot last Friday to just buy a corded drill and a new, quality drill bit. I stood in the power tool aisle (with no one appearing to help me, which was unusual for 6 pm on a Friday night) for 15 minutes, but couldn't justify the purchase. I can't think of anything else I'd really use the thing for, so I'm going to search for new batteries online and see how much those cost. A new drill was only $40-$50, so if batteries are $30, then it's a wash and I'll either rent one for the day, or buy a corded one. Haven't checked rental prices yet.


  1. Hi, Jordan's sister here. I installed a drip system in our back yard - about 50 feet of linear beds that are four feet depth plus a dozen or so and two large planter boxes and about four trees. I've also added on some length through ground cover areas that I'm trying to get established. I opted to do it this way b/c although I had the drip hose thing going on one bed, it looked as if my water pressure would not support the large-diameter soaker hose throughout the whole expanse of beds. Plus, I had to figure out how to water the pots and planter boxes on the same system. (I didn't want to have 2+ systems to remember to turn on and off each day. I forgot to turn the system off one day and we got $150 water bill that month.) So, I wanted everything on one system that I could run off of one timer.

    I put in a system with the 3/4" diameter black plastic tubing around the perimeter of the yard, and then little 1/4" diameter tubing going closer to a group of plants, and then little 1/4" soaker/drip hose in a ring around each plant/through a small area of ground cover/into each pot/around each tree.

    Seemed like such a great idea. The more specific your watering is, the fewer weeds you get and, supposedly, lower water costs.

    However, it turns out that the 1/4 soaker/drip hose, apparently made out of recycled tires, degrades in sunlight. So year two, I had to re-do all the soaker/drip lengths with new tubing, and be sure to cover it all with mulch.

    Year three, the mulch really doesn't stay in place very well, so there are significant areas that have degraded enough that they need to be replaced yet again. Once you have parts of your system that are partially-degraded and parts that are new tubing, the pressure differential means that parts of your garden are getting over watered and parts are getting not enough water.

    I have also tried putting a couple of those little mini-sprinklers onto the system that are supposed to gently spray a small area. They've not worked for me.

    In sum: I'd stick with the way you're doing it. I don't think it's worth the effort to do anything fancier. From the pictures of your beds that I see, it looks like a relatively small/compact area to water, with a simple enough lay out that regular soaker hoses are plenty efficient enough.

  2. Hi Liz!
    Thank you so much for your thorough comment. What a pain to have to go back and re-do things. Looks like I will go the soaker hose route.

  3. Just wondering if you are knitting anything right now. I know once you head outside, knitting ideas kind of go out the window a bit, but with my odd taxtime schedule, I've been collecting some projects for 'when it is April 16th' Just wondering if you knit all year, or more seasonal and if you do all year, do you knit wool in the cold weather and cotton in the good or what your style is...

  4. Karen Sue - It's funny you should ask. Knitting is a really seasonal thing with me. Once it gets to be time to think about the garden, my desire to knit almost totally dries up. The exception is if I'm traveling, and then I always have something with me, usually socks. I have a cotton sweater I've been limping along with for the last year, and hopefully when I travel in June I can get a big chunk of it done.


Hi, sorry to make the humans do an extra step.