4x8 bed irrigation?

dirt_tracker(8A/B-AL)June 22, 2006

I'm still working on getting my vegetable beds put together. Going through a serious drought down here in the southeast I've decided to go ahead with a small irrigation system while I'm in the building process.

My beds will be 4'x8'x8" with some fairly good soil beneath it. I've been considering the 100' soaker system from Lee Valley, but...

I was thinking about running a header pipe at the end of each bed and then two 1/4" soaker hoses the length of the beds with each soaker hose one foot in from the sides of the bed. This would place a soaker hose between the two rows on each half of the bed. The LV soaker kit states the soaker hose emits 20 gph per 100'. With my rudimenatary math I'm figuring that's .2gph per foot. With 16 feet of total soaker hose I should only get 3.2gph flow. Needing to put an inch of water on each 4x8 bed will require right at 20 gallons of water....2" which might be better for raised beds would require 40 gallons.

After looking at this (if my math isn't in error and I'm correct in figuring on 1-2" of water needed) it doesn't seem the soaker hose would do the job. With the specs of 20gph per hundred feet I would need 50 feet of hose and need to irrigate for two hours to get 1" of water on each bed. Am I correct in this?

If this is correct and I'm right in thinking I need 1-2" of water on each bed (I'd rather water deep), then 50' of hose in a 4x8 bed seems too congested for me and I might need to look at a drip system rather than a soaker system.

My calculations is with watering for two hours, I guess I could run three lines down the bed and irrigate in two 2-hour cycles to get close to the 20 gallon goal. The soaker hoses do seem less problematical for a newbie.

Any feedback is appreciated by this newbie!



South Central (HOTTTT AND DRYYYY) Alabama

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sounds like a well thought out system. Not sure why you're concerned. soaker hoses are very simple to install and run. I'd put some type of controller on the system so it runs the same all the time. You didn't mention how many beds you have and you didn't mention if electricity is available in the area (they also make battery operated controllers). soaker hoses don't like long runs. I don't have experience with 1/4" but I've have installed a lot of hose size (5/8" and 3/4"). I'd buy the kit and lay out a run in the backyard. power it up and watch how uniform the water is. if it varies a lot from start to end, the hose is too long. soakers are nice but they have their limitations

    Bookmark   June 22, 2006 at 10:23PM
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Howdy garden guy. I apologize for not making myself very clear...I understand the soaker hose would be the easiest to install with less problems than an emitter system other than a possible variance of output along the length.

Yes, I'm figuring on including a battery operated controller in the system. I guess what I'm shooting for is the ability to put 40 gallons onto the each bed within 4-6 hours and with minimal lines running through the beds.

I'm working on two 4x8 beds presently with the possibility of adding two more next year.

After looking around some I'm also considering the DripWorks Heart System with the add-on close-spaced garden bed kit.


Here is a link that might be useful: DripWorks kits

    Bookmark   June 23, 2006 at 8:33AM
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Netafim hose. Its not really soaker hose, it is hose with emitters built in at intervals. You can get them with intervals of 12" 24" and others (I have only used the 12")
The more emitters (shorter intervals) the more water.

Look into it, call your local sprinkler supply house.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2006 at 1:39PM
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ralleia(z5 Omaha, NE)

Hi dirt tracker!

Definately go with the drip irrigation. It takes a bit more up-front effort, but it's so easy to expand and maintain. The soaker hoses are good for a short-term solution, but are problematic to maintain or expand. I keep a few soaker hoses for temporary solutions to new areas, but when I am ready for a permanent solution I go with the drip! I currently have 5 areas under drip irrigation and will add another in the next week (We live on an acreage.) It really doesn't rain here in the summer!

I buy pretty much all my drip stuff from the Drip Store (www.dripirrigation.com), supplemented by a few things from Menards. I started with one of their "Large Homeowner Drip Irrigation" kits to get my feet wet. I also bought a 500' roll of 1/2" drip tape with .6 GPH emitters spaced every 12" for my 4' x 6' raised garden beds. I ran the drip tape lengthwise, 3 tapes per 4' x 6' bed with a soilless mix (peat moss/compost/perlite/vermiculite). I might ultimately add one more line per box, but it works for now, so I won't get to it until I finish the new drip areas.

I've been doing the drip thing for over a year now, and I LOVE it. It sure beats hauling watering cans around in the sun under 100+ degrees F. If you have any questions about drip irrigation, please feel free to email me directly!

    Bookmark   July 4, 2006 at 8:39PM
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