A drip system is the most convenient and efficient way to water plants and care for a garden. A drip system is also very easy to install.
I love drip systems because I am a very inconsistent gardener. One week, I may spend hours every day lovingly tending my plants, pulling weeds, and testing to see if they have the right amount of water. The next week (or two) I may not have time to even step outside. If my plants had to rely on me to hand-water them, they would all be dead. But with a drip system, they flourish.
Also, a drip system is very water-efficient, which is really important in California right now. It delivers water right to the dirt around the root system, where the plant needs it, and very little water is lost to evaporation. Drip system emitters measure water in gallons per hour, where a single sprinkler head can use between 1-5 gallons per MINUTE.
Our last yard was watered almost entirely with drip emitters, including shrubs, a vegetable garden, herbs, and trees.
We are starting in this yard with a single vegetable box, but it will be really easy to continue to add more and more to the drip system, until it waters all of the plants in our yard. You can see here where we added a T connector so that part of the water will flow to our garden box, and part will later continue on the other plants. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
First, connect to your water. We installed an irrigation valves system which has valves that give water to the sprinkler system and two separate drip zones. You can read about how we installed it in my post on irrigation valves.
But, if you don’t want to install valves and all of that, you can easily just add an adapter to your hose bib. You can even add a timer to it too, like this one from Amazon.
A drip system starts with a flexible 1/2 inch tube that connects to the water valve, or adapter. Because the tube is flexible, you just push it onto the connector. You don’t even need any glue, and you can cut it with scissors. This works because a drip system is low pressure, unlike a sprinkler system.
Our 1/2 inch tube went under the garden box and up to the top of the soil. (side note: You don’t want to bury the tubes much, because the pressure of the dirt could make them collapse.) Here’s the tube coming out of the dirt. We later added a elbow connector to make it lay flat.
This tube already had 4 emitters in it (and some duct tape marks, sorry!) because we had used it to water some potted plants during our last vacation. Luckily, a drip system is flexible in more than one sense of the word. You can make holes and then plug them up, then add emitters and remove them, and add more tubing then cut it down. It’s all a matter of pulling things apart and pushing them back together.
We pulled the four emitters our of the tube and attached a 1/4 inch soaker tube to each hole. A soaker tube is kind of like a sponge because water just seeps out of it. Perfect for watering seeds and plants that are close together.
We staked down the tube to keep it in place. Those are actually 1/2 inch stakes and this is a 1/4 inch tube, but use what you have, right? You can also see the water seeping out of the tube here.
Before adding the ends, we flushed the whole system, since it might still have had some dirt in it from when we put in the valves and valve box. Even small particles can clog up the tiny holes in a drip system. Luckily, if they ever do get clogged, you can pull the emitter off, rinse it out, and stick it back on.
We added the four emitters (each 1 GPH = gallon per hour) onto the ends of the soaker tube.
We closed off the end of the larger, 1/2 inch tube with an end closure fitting. It’s basically a figure eight that creates a kink to block the water. Again, no glue and no mess.
And now the drip system waters the garden! No waiting for pipes and glue to dry, no wasted water, and I can change it all easily any time I want. Now it just needs a timer so I can set it and forget it. Check out my post next week about adding the timer.
This post was shared at some of my favorite link parties.