Monday, August 1, 2016

SNIP N DRIP RAISED BED GARDEN IRRIGATION

Many of you have emailed and/or commented asking us how we are watering and keeping up with a garden (albeit a small one) while not being there to water on a daily basis.

Well, we are using this pieced together system...and it's working!


It's the Snip-n-Drip soaker hose system.  We bought this package from Gardener's Supply but it's also sold through Amazon:


It's SO easy to set up.  Took me about 10 minutes to get all the raised beds hooked up.  The first thing I did was plan out how best to run it.  I drew out a plan of the four beds I wanted to do.  

How to lay out Snip n Drip Irrigation
It starts at the faucet, then goes to and through the first bed in a serpentine shape to go around the tomatoes and jalapeño.  Then it leaves there and heads to the herb bed, leaves that bed and finally to the okra bed where it dead ends.  A separate connection goes to the eggplant and will eventually connect into the other four beds on that side of the garden.

All the pieces included
The package came with enough to handle all this.  What you have to calculate is how many starts and stops you will have and then where it will end.  It works by having a few feet of regular hose, connected to a soaker hose through the bed, then to a regular hose between beds, then back to a soaker hose in the bed, and so forth, until the last bed where it will end and you cap off the soaker hose with an end cap.  It's kind of a closed loop of water.


Here is a closeup of how it all connects.  

The black connector in the middle is where the work is.  After you cut your hose pieces to the right length, you put a screw cap on the regular hose, then stick it into the connector.  You do the same on the other side with the soaker hose after you cut it to the length you need.  

Snip n Drip closeup
Then you screw each side toward the connector and this tightens it up so there are no leaks and they can't pull out.  By the way, all of these hoses are cut using regular scissors, making it quick and easy to adjust (if you mess up, don't cut off TOO much each time).


I put them in after planting the herbs and veggies to make sure I got the hose close to the base of the plants (plus it's much easier when plants are small).

Snip n Drip
This is a soaker hose, not a drip irrigation (though they do make that, but it seemed far too complicated for us, at least initially).  So you do NOT want this running for 30 or 40 minutes.  Another thing we've found is that the section closest to the faucet gets more water (due to pressure) than the end section, so plan accordingly.  

For example, tomatoes need lots of water, I made sure they were in the bed closest to the faucet.  Okra not so much, so it's at the end.  Again, not a huge difference but something to take into account.

Raised Bed Watering
After I got them positioned where I wanted them, I covered them with the straw that I had in the beds.  The straw keeps the raised beds moist too.  It's not the most attractive set up (maybe if I buried or covered the hoses between beds) but hey, it works and that's ALL that matters.

DIG Programmable Timer
So, you still might be asking, but how do you water?  Well, we're relying on technology.  This is the DIG Programmable Timer.  They've changed a bit since we bought ours a couple of seasons ago, but here is the newest version:  

DIG Corporation Model BO92A, Programmable 2-Dial Water Hose End Watering Timer

We put it on the main faucet where the water goes to the garden area.  This cuts the water on and off at whatever time you set it to.  So at the garden end, we leave the faucet on.  This will turn the source on and off.  We have it set to go on twice a day, early morning and late afternoon, for 10 mins each, and only on Monday/Wednesday/Friday.  So far so good, haven't watered by hand all season, have had several weeks now of zero rain, and things are growing well.


We will expand this after this season to one more bed. Our faucet in the garden has a four manifold outlet as above.  I couldn't find the one we have but I found this one on Amazon: 

Nelson Faucet Adaptor - High Flow 4-Outlet Manifold 50316  


This will let us create several beds with separate set ups.  Eventually, we'll expand this system to all the beds in the garden.


We bought all of these ourselves, this review is our own, not reimbursed for anything.  We just felt after a fairly successful season and finally finding a way to make it work, we wanted to share how we set ours up for those in similar situations.  Call it 'gardening by remote', ha.  Someday, I'll be standing out there with a hose every morning, but until then...

...so far, so good!


17 comments:

Dawn McHugh said...

great explanation of it, I had something similar set up at our other house being out working all day it meant I didnt spend all evening watering I could then get other jobs done, I brought it with me but dont use it here as I am here all the time. :-)

Dani said...

We love our soaker hose (porous pipe) and timer too - it's the only way to reliably water vegetables :)

Practical Parsimony said...

I need a timer on water hoses. Once, I wanted the grass lush for a party. We were in high drought. I turned on the sprinkler and looked out after a rare night of rain and the sprinkler was going in the rain. That was a $120 water bill. Sewage was the same cost. So, all these fancy doodads seem cheap. I didn't even know something like this was available.

jewlz said...

So appreciate the details you share on your projects & products!! This newbie finds them useful. I know I'm not the only one, either :)

Colleen said...

Nice set-up. A lot or work figuring it out, setting it up and having everything working the way it should by it's all worth the efferent. As healthy as your garden looks it's working very well for you. Great Job and great explanation on your system.
Thank You
I always figure, why plant a garden if you don't take good care of it.

Margaret said...

I finished installing a drip system in all of our beds just over a month ago and WHAT a godsend! For us, it's all about how much time & aggravation it saves vs. manual watering. It's one of those things that once you've done it, you wonder why on earth it took you so long :)

Becca said...

Necessity is the mother of invention nice job!

Kate Seidel said...

Well heck - I do not water my garden (thankfully, in Carolina I don't really need to), but you make this look so good I want to run out and put it in!!!

Colleen said...

I just noticed that you have your timer set to go off at 5:36PM.
You might want to consider changing that time to AM.
Setting it for PM you are more apt to get insects eating your plants more so than during your watering early in the early morning hours while it's still cool.
This will allow the water to run down into the soil and reach the roots of the plant without too much excess water lost to evaporation.
Watering in the early morning will also make the water available to the plants throughout the day so that the plants will be able to deal better with the heat of the sun.
One thing to be careful of if you water in the late afternoon is to make sure that the leaves have a little time to dry before night comes. This is because damp leaves at night encourage fungus problems, such as powdery mildew or sooty mold, which can harm your vegetable plants.
Water only when needed. Automatic timers are especially useful; just make sure to watch the weather, and reduce frequency when rainfall is abundant. Too much water can be just as damaging to plants as too little.
•Water deeply and thoroughly. Lawns and annuals concentrate their roots in the top 6" of soil; for perennials, shrubs and trees, it's the top 12". In heavy soil, it may take hours for water to percolate down 6-12". Use your finger or a shovel to check the progress.
Watering rules also applies to containers as well.

1st Man said...

Thank you. I never thought it from that aspect too, just as a help to be able to not spend all the time watering and doing other things done. I'll have to remember that. Thanks!!!

1st Man said...

Soaker hose is awesome huh? Thanks!! I hope ours lasts but at least we know it's easy to replace if necessary. :-)

1st Man said...

Oh no! that's not a fun lesson to learn, huh? Yikes! Yes, this can definitely help if used correctly. Of course, that's what we are hoping to learn, ha.

1st Man said...

Thank you very much for that. That's what we always wanted with the blog, to be able to share ankle what works (and doesn't) for us. Thanks again!!

1st Man said...

There you go, that's so true. It takes work and work to get it just right, ha.

FYI, the 5:36 on the timer was the actual time at the moment I took the photo. I do have it set for morning and afternoon. It's a soaker so it does get the leaves wet but I still think you are right, maybe we just water longer in the morning instead of splitting it in half. Thanks!!!!

1st Man said...

It's wonderful isn't it? Yep, I told 2nd Man once we are out there full time (someday), we might just need to leave this set up (or whatever it's evolved into, ha).

1st Man said...

You got that right!!! Thanks!!

1st Man said...

Aww, thanks for that!!