How-To Build Your Own Watering System – Without Leaving Any Plants Out To Dry

Watering System SprinklersHello, readers! Is your watering system having trouble watering your whole garden without getting frustrating dry spots, spending all day in the garden, or else paying a fortune? I’m back again today to give you my promised watering system and solve all those problems in one convenient post. First, I’ll be going over a lot of different things I have tried to use to water my garden, and why they don’t work. Next, I’ll discuss how I came up with my own system and modified it for both a vegetable garden and an orchard. Finally, I’ll give you the steps necessary to create this watering system for your own garden, no matter the size.

Why Everything Works – But Not Well Enough

It feels like I tried every sprinkler system that you can buy from the store, over the years. They all worked. Sort of. They all had major flaws that just weren’t ok for what I wanted them for. First, I tried a traditional pulsating sprinkler that just shoots out a jet of water. Next, I tried oscillating sprinklers. Finally, I tried soaker hoses.
Pulsating Sprinklers
This type of sprinkler worked “alright”, and they were pretty cheap. Actually, the cheaper ones worked just as well if not better than the more expensive ones. But, I’d go out and check on how the garden was being watered to find a huge puddle built up near the sprinkler head and only a few drops hitting the far end of the garden. We worked around that problem by changing where the sprinklers were placed every half hour or so. This swiftly began to feel like a full-time job! Also, sometimes I would forget.. With this system, the walkways between my rows of vegetables were also watered – sometimes better than the vegetables! I hate wasting water (and watering weeds). When we went through a drought it became very obvious – this watering method just wasn’t going to cut it for this homestead.
Oscillating Sprinklers
This sprinkler shoots several streams of water straight up out of an arched bar and the whole bar rotates from front to back. This system watered a 25-30 foot square pretty evenly. Success! Right? There were two main problems with this. First, my garden space was about 50’x50′, and I could only run one oscillating sprinkler at a time. Once again, I’m stuck rotating the sprinklers multiple times per watering. Like pulsating sprinklers, the second main problem was that this system watered the walkways just as much as the rows of vegetables. Did I mention I don’t like wasting water? So, this method wasn’t going to cut it for this homestead, either.
Soaker Hoses
Finally, we tried soaker hoses. I was excited about this change because each row was going to have its own hose and only the vegetables were going to get watered. Take that water waste! Well, my excitement didn’t last long. We could only run one line of hoses at a time, and we had 21 of them! Another big issue was that the water pressure was terribly inconsistent from the beginning of the hose to the end. At the beginning of the hose you would turn the pressure down to have a nice trickle, but the water wouldn’t even be coming out halfway down the hose. So you turn up the water pressure until there’s a nice trickle at the end – and at the beginning of the hose the stream would be so strong that it would be boring a hole in the ground – wiping out your seeds!

Something Better This Way Comes

Sun on the Watering SystemDrip irrigation as a watering system sounded appealing to me because it involves watering the ground slowly so as to not out-pace the grounds ability to absorb the water. Plants would get only as much water as they needed and exactly where they needed it. I began my search for drip irrigation equipment. I found button drippers that would emit 1/2 gallon per hour, which I thought would be great for my orchard. But I would need 1-4 of those emitters per square foot box in my garden and each row was going to have 200 square foot boxes… That was going to be entirely too much equipment for one row.
Nothing was coming up in my search for emitters that I thought would be adequate for my needs. I was looking for a fine spray that would cover a 4’x4′ area. Finally, the thought of searching for mist emitters came to my mind. When I searched for mist emitters though, the only ones that came up were for cooling systems for outdoor spaces like gazebos. I decided to take a chance and buy a few from Home Depot, enough to water one row, and see how they worked. They did wonderfully!!! I was so pleased that it worked. The fine mist covered a 4’x4′ area and thoroughly watered every inch without over watering any area or spraying significantly onto my walkway. Now, I could water up to 600 square feet of garden space at one time! This system fit my needs precisely.

How To Plan Supplies For Your Watering System

90 Degree Bend for Watering SystemMy watering system is a looped system, so water pressure comes from both sides of the line. By designing it this way if there is ever a blockage in one part of the hose, the water will still get to where it needs to go. Also, having a looped system helps with achieving consistent pressure across the entire garden area. In order to work out what I needed to buy, I measured around the entire area that I thought I would eventually want my garden to encompass, not just the area I was going to use this year, plus about a foot extra on each side. This added foot is so you have space to garden and dig without worrying about hitting your watering system. This was about 380 feet for me.

Shut Off For Watering System

I decided that 1/2 inch hose would be sufficient for my needs, and that would be used for the circumference of the garden area and for across the garden where the rows would be. For each row going across you would need a 1/2 inch tee-fitting and a shut-off valve, in case you need to not water a row, for each side. Then, of course, the mist emitters for each 4’x4′ section of your garden. I also discovered that sometimes a hose might pop off the tee-fitting – a hose clamp was my simple remedy. Also, if you’re making raised beds you may want to have 90-degree fittings at the bottom and top of each side of your box; I would definitely trip over a hose that stuck out at an angle from my box, but that may just be me.

The Orchard Watering System

I used the same measuring system for my orchard as I did for my garden. The only difference? I used 1/4 inch hose to connect across the rows using 1/4″ Barbed Coupling Fittings, and a 1/4 inch Tee Fitting for each tree with a half-gallon per hour button dripper at each tree. The smaller hose helped to ensure a more even pressure across the much larger area required.

Where to Buy It All?

That’s really all there is to it. Super simple, super effective. Here’s a list of supplies you need, all of which, except for the emitters, I purchased from Rain Bird through Amazon; the mist emitters I purchased from the irrigation section at Home Depot. (Please note, some of the links in this post are affiliate links and we are given a small commission for sales through those links, at no extra cost to you. I only ever link products I love.)

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Assembly Instructions

Watering System Mist Emitter

Assembly is easy. Unravel your 1/2 inch tubing as you walk it around the outside of your entire garden area, starting where you’re going to have your water hookup and ending in the same place. Remember to keep the hose about 1 foot away on every side from your planting area. Once you have it in place, cut the tubing where it can reach the water source. Press both ends of the tubing on the Garden Hose Adapter Tee Fitting. That completes your looped system.

Now, all that’s left is to add in your lines across the garden where you want your rows. To do this, just cut the line on one side of the row and insert a 1/2 inch Tee Fitting and secure it with hose clamps if desired. Then, attach tubing to the part of the tee fitting that points down your row, and cut the hose on the other side where it meets your main circuit. Insert another Tee Fitting on that side and cut and attach the hose that now runs the length of your row.

If you choose to use a shut-off valve for each row like me, then you would cut the hose running across your row, in the one-foot extra space you left, on both sides of your row and insert the shut-off valve there. Use hose clamps if desired. Repeat as necessary for as many rows as you desire to have!

After you have attached the line for your row, use your hole punching tool to make a hole on the top of the hose for every 4’x4′ section of your garden.

Finally

There you have it. This watering system has worked perfectly for my garden. If you’ve been looking for a better way to water your garden, look no further; this simple design will do great things for you and your vegetables. Enjoy. Until next time…
Handyman is on the job!

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