Drip Systems in Vegetable Gardens

Drip irrigation is easily adaptable, so don’t hesitate to use your ingenuity to find easy and practical solutions. Vegetable gardens are a good example, because their needs differ from those of other gardens in many respects. But don’t throw away your hand sprinkler; newly seeded sections require hand watering until the seedlings are well established.

Vegetable gardens should be on a separate circuit where possible, because they need frequent, often daily, watering. Municipal regulations restricting watering usually allow you to water food plants as necessary.

For a garden divided into several beds, it might be worthwhile to install a separate shutoff valve at the head of each bed. Then you can open and close sections as their watering needs change — when one bed has sprouting vegetables while others lie fallow, for example.

Vegetable gardens need frequent cultivation, which can damage irrigation lines. To get around this, use PVC pipe buried 18 inches deep as the supply line. Bring it aboveground with an elbow in a secure spot, and stake it heavily so it is solid. Then set up the header and lateral lines using a quick-clip hose-fitting system, the kind used for changing rapidly from one hand sprinkler to another. This will require several adapters, but the result is a system that can be pulled out quickly whenever cultivation is required. In cold climates, bring aboveground sections indoors for the winter.