Six Garden Bed Irrigation Options For Family Garden (II)
Whether you plant a vegetable garden on a garden bed or multiple garden beds, you want to have a plan to show how to water the growing plants. After growing on the garden bed for ten years, I tried a variety of garden bed irrigation technologies. Depending on your number of beds, budget and other factors, one may be better than the other. Let's look at the options:
- Manual watering
- Overhead watering (sprinkler)
- Soaking hose
- Drip line
- Drip hose
- Garden irrigation grid
A few years ago, I transformed the whole garden into a drip pipe, including a dozen garden beds. A drip tube is a small tube with a hole called a transmitter along the tube. The hole spacing of some pipes is 6 inches; Other spacing is 12 inches.
Although you may think that drip pipes are the most suitable for large underground gardens, I found that they are also effective in garden bed irrigation.
The durability, service life and price of drip irrigation pipes make them an excellent choice for garden beds and gardens of any size. They also offer accessory options to adjust your garden space as needed. For example, you can purchase a valve that can be opened and closed, depending on whether you need to water a particular bed. Dripper has strong adaptability.
My biggest problem with drip pipes is when I try to use them to irrigate the entire 3000 square feet area, including more than 20 garden beds. I found that the more lines I added, the less water the area seems to get, and the farther the garden space is from the irrigation source. In other words, gardens close to the water source get more water than gardens far away from the water source. This leads to uneven watering, and some plants cannot grow as well as other plants.
Nevertheless, the dropper is still a good choice, depending on your needs and space.
Benefits of drip irrigation pipes
- Economical for the amount of ground they cover
- Quite easy to repair
- Easy to customize and adapt to your space
- Many different options: drip irrigation pipe, spray, watering a plant, on/off valve for row or unused bed, etc.
Disadvantages of drip pipe
- Uneven humidity coverage in large space
- Easily cut with farming tools
- May be blocked by dirt and debris
Drip irrigation tape is the best choice for irrigating garden beds. Similar to drip irrigation pipes, drip irrigation tape is a 3/4-inch flat pipe that contains transmitters at specific intervals - usually about 10 inches. Unlike drip lines, drip tape can provide uniform watering throughout the system. As long as you stay below 600 feet below the drip line of each water source, the water will be evenly distributed throughout the garden.
Benefits of drip irrigation tape:
- Even watering - if you have multiple garden beds, this is a huge benefit
- Easier to use after installation
- Customizable according to your garden area
Disadvantages of drip tape:
- Set complexity for ordinary people
- May become expensive
- Purchase many parts: pressure regulator, polyethylene pipe, elbow, T, connector and cover
- Life expectancy varies, but is said to last only a few years
In the spring of 2022, after I set up almost all garden beds with drip irrigation tape, the garden contacted me within a few minutes and asked me to test their garden grid irrigation system. I haven't finished the transition of all garden beds to drip irrigation tape yet, and I'm happy to agree to test it.
Another great advantage is that it takes a few minutes, not hours, to assemble. The garden grid provides more consistent water in a system that I think is foolproof.
After installation, I use the garden grid to track the progress of the bed and compare it with the bed with a drip belt. The only difference between the two is that the broccoli on the bed was planted a week ago.
The difference is obvious in a week or two. The broccoli and garden on the bed grow faster and look healthier in a few minutes, and are faster and larger than the broccoli with only drip belt. Here, you can see the difference in the middle of the season.
To be fair, I do believe that since both systems provide the same water supply, the "garden" grid "occupies" more water that the drip belt could have provided in a few minutes. Nevertheless, the uniform coverage and water volume provided by the system have proved to be valuable for healthy plants.
Benefits of garden (minutes) Garden grid
- Water even in bed
- Easy setup
- Easily removed when refurbishing beds between crops
- The square is 11 inches apart, making it a ready-made plant spacing system
- Longevity: their prototype has existed since 2013
Disadvantages of garden grid in a few minutes
- If it is placed in a system with other irrigation (such as drip irrigation belt or drip irrigation pipe), it provides more water than other irrigation, making the bed water in a different way (that is why my long-term goal is to change all my beds on one water source to the garden grid).
The best irrigation for garden beds
After trying all six options in the past ten years, you can see that I found the advantages and disadvantages of each garden bed irrigation.