Watering Raised Bed Vegetable Garden – Although the kitchen garden structures provide the foundation and architecture for your space, there really is nothing more important than the soil and water. These are the elements that will fill your garden with life and ensure that you don’t just have a bunch of boxes and trellises, you have sprouts and plants and, of course, delicious fresh harvests.
The truth is, you could skip those boxes and the paths and the trellises. But, if you cheat on the soil and water, you might as well forget the whole thing.
Watering Raised Bed Vegetable Garden
Water is the key to your gardening success. Rainwater is the best, but tends to be unpredictable or, in some places, a far too rare resource. Vegetables and fruit plants thrive on regular and reliable watering schedules, so if you don’t get exactly 1 to 2 inches of rainfall each week, read on to find the best way to add water to your raised bed vegetable garden.
Raised Bed Gardening
When I first started my Houston-based gardening consulting business, Rooted Garden, I spoke with a raised garden provider about creating DIY raised bed kits for my clients. He told me:
“You will do your clients a huge favor if you can plan a water solution for them from the start. You rarely think about water in the beginning, but then, somewhere in the middle, the presence or absence of a consistent water plan is something the garden makes or breaks.”
For my first few clients I provided a raised garden box, bags of soil, plants and seeds. However, the watering was all on her, and it only took a few short months for me to notice that her plants were struggling. I knew then that I would need a forward plan for how to supply H2O to the plants for each of my clients. Every garden design since then has included a plan for irrigation, as automated as possible, even if the client did not have a formal irrigation system in place.
If you are still setting up your kitchen garden, I recommend making a plan for water installation now, even if nothing needs to be watered at this time. If you already have your garden space installed, keep reading for some easy watering techniques you can add to your raised beds.
This Is Why Raised Garden Beds Are Worth The Trouble
There are a few different ways you can provide consistent water to your kitchen garden to supplement when you don’t get rain. Your watering options include:
There are benefits and challenges to each method, so choose the one that works best for you and your lifestyle. Even when you’ve made your choice, it’s important to stay flexible and jump in to change your system as needed.
Watering by hand is one of the best ways to save water…because it’s a bit of a chore, and you’re less likely to do it unless it’s necessary. You may have once had visions of yourself smiling and running plant to plant with watering can in hand. It’s a nice image, but going outside every morning and lugging a can back and forth to your garden can get old fast.
Hand watering tends to be less consistent than other forms of supplying water to your plants, which means your plants are liable to get stressed if you forget to water or delay watering for a few days due to travel or living in ‘ e way comes.
Gardening: Sustainable Water Use Helps Landscape
As it is said, I hand water my own garden. I live in an area where I can typically expect some rain, and I supplement with a water can or a hose if necessary. In dry seasons I spend a long time watering each of my raised beds.
This option works best if you have your yard installed near a spigot or rain barrel. If you have a spigot nearby, connecting a timer and drip hose to that spigot is the closest you can get to automation without actually having a formal irrigation system. It’s also a great way to provide consistent water to your plants (meaning on a watering schedule).
Drip irrigation kits are available at most hardware stores. I also recommend grabbing a Y connector to attach to the spigot so you can still use the water line for other things.
A garden olla (pronounced “oya”, like the well-known brand) is a porous terracotta pot that slowly seeps moisture inside to water the surrounding plants directly at their roots. Because it delivers water exactly where plants need it, a little water goes a long way. This is old plant irrigation technology that still works great in a modern garden.
Best Way To Water Raised Bed Gardens
If you are someone who travels often or who doesn’t have much time to check the garden during a busy work week, then ollas are a great watering method for you. You can go up to 7 to 10 days without refilling your jar. This little vessel really takes the guesswork out of how often you water your raised garden beds because you just refill it when it’s close to empty.
Plus, you don’t have to worry about being too heavy-handed with water because plants only take what they need.
Using a formal irrigation system is a foolproof way to ensure that water reaches all parts of your garden consistently. All lines are tied to your home’s vacuum breaker to prevent water from backing up into the drinking water supply, and a timer turns the water on and off at specific times during the week.
In terms of ease once installed, this is the best way to water raised bed gardens. However, this convenience comes at a price.
New Addition To Raised Bed Vegetable Garden
While it is possible to attach a formal irrigation system yourself, I recommend hiring an irrigator or landscaper to do this work for you. We work with certified irrigation specialists for all of our Rooted Garden installations because we’d rather be safe than sorry when it comes to digging trenches in clients’ gardens and connecting them to their water systems.
Many formal irrigation systems use drip irrigation lines that return the water to ground level. You also have the option of doing an empty spray head.
Picture this: The sun is high overhead, and you’re looking out your kitchen window to admire your garden when you discover that the leaves of your cucumber plant are wilting in the heat. While it may be tempting to rush outside and pull out the hose, watering your plants in the middle of the day can cause more harm than good.
Every drop of water left on your plants acts like a miniature magnifying glass, meaning the sun can burn your wet leaves. Therefore, the middle of the day is actually the worst time to water your plants.
Watering Vegetable Gardens
The best thing to do would be to wait and then water your garden well the next morning. Your plants are resilient and will make a comeback when their thirst is quenched.
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The best time to water your garden is almost always early morning when your plants are nice and quiet. Overnight they restore their energy and grab nutrients from the soil, and the morning is when they prepare for their day of growth ahead. By getting water to them at breakfast, you can help them take full advantage of sunlight.
I wake up early and use a watering can or hose to soak the bottom of my raised beds. If you have installed drip irrigation or sprinkler heads with low nozzles, you can set your timer to water before you even wake up, at 4 or 5 am.
Raised Garden Bed Kits
While you can water at dusk, when the sun is no longer so strong, you don’t want your garden to be wet at night, when most shadows appear to attack your plants.
If you have a plant that shows stress, you can always come out in the evening and just water around that plant, not the whole garden.
The general rule of thumb is that most gardens need an inch of water per week. If you haven’t received an inch of rain, that means it’s up to you, the gardener, to supply more water. Even if you
Had an inch of rain, you should still check your soil daily to determine if your garden needs extra water.
Vegetable Gardens From Old Water Tank
I wish I could give you an easy answer to how much water a garden needs, but ultimately both how much
How often you need to water raised garden beds depends on a number of factors unique to your setting and can even vary from day to day.
One factor is how quickly water evaporates in your atmosphere. The rate of evaporation varies from climate to climate. My garden in muggy Houston stayed moist much longer between waterings than my garden in Chicago, where the air was often dry. In drier climates you may find that you
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