Monday, April 21, 2008

Garden Irrigation 101

On the eve of Earth Day we dusted off the soaker hoses, sorted connectors and reset the timers. Voila, irrigation. It seems early this year, but the raised beds were a looking dry so it was time.

We started using soaker hoses for irrigating our raised beds several years ago and still marvel at the elegant simplicity of this system. Most importantly we appreciate the extra time for riding bikes, lounging on the deck with a cocktail, or pulling weeds. The steps are simple, first sorting out various hoses and connectors is key.

We use a 15 ft. soaker hose in each raised bed. The soaker hoses are connected between beds with regular garden hose using two-way splitters. The hoses all connect back into a timer, which is discreetly housed in a custom wood box that keeps out the rain and UV and promotes timer longevity.
Early each morning and at dusk each evening the beds receive a good "soaking". This approach reduces loss to evaporation, run-off and promotes happy healthy plants. The 2-hours we spend each spring and each fall setting up and taking down is a small investment in time come mid-summer when we would otherwise be standing with a spray hose, or using an inefficient sprinkler.