Today, I am sharing the third and final post to our raised bed series. It details our methods with watering as well as my recommendations [and plans] for the 2014 garden.
General Lessons in Watering:
- Timers are worth the investment. We picked one up for under $20. Three of our beds were timed; one was not. The timed beds were always watered consistently. The untimed bed was not and production was low. A timer will save you hassle after busy workdays and make summer vacations much easier.
- Water at night. Because we’re in the desert, we planned for evening watering. Water begins to run a few hours after sunset and gives the plants plenty of time to absorb before sunrise.
- Watch closely. Just because you have an automated system doesn’t mean you don’t need to keep an eye on how your plants are being watered. Stay up a few times to see the set-up in action. We had to make several adjustments in the first few weeks.
Our Water Source in the Beds:
We used soaker hoses, rather than a drip system, for our water source in the beds because we thought they would save us time. We have two types of soakers, flat and round. Generally, the flat worked significantly better than the round. But neither were great.
Problems with the hose set-up:
- The Flat Hose. We have a flat hose in bed one. It was initially placed between the soil and mulch. We ended up finding spray spots where water would squirt out rather than gently soak out. We also found that this hose needs to be buried more. The hose permeates the water above and below relatively well and needs to get the best moisture distribution.
- The Round Hose. This one is awful! We used one it in bed two and three. It distributes water very unevenly and leaves our beds with dry spots. I ended up planting along the hose to guarantee the plants would receive the water they need.
- Laying the Hose. These hoses are difficult to maneuver to fit your bed. They require stakes and sometimes even additional reinforcement to keep them in place.
We wasted money on soaker hoses, rather than taking the time to set-up a drip system. Next year, we will be taking the time to set up a better system.
Now to figure out a winter watering system…