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Irrigation for vegetable beds

I am planning to set up an automated irrigation system for my raised veg beds. I have 5 1m x 3m raised beds. I have looked at soaker hoses, drip fed or mini sprinkler systems but i'm not sure what is best.

I also have a number of pots and a mini greenhouse that I want to water from the same network so is it possible to mix the three different outlet types on one system?

All suggestions welcome!


  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen SpainPosts: 3,823
    Hello and welcome to the forum, ears-101.

    I would steer clear of sprinkler systems as many veg don’t like getting their leaves wet (rain seems to be the exception to this rule, which is one of life’s mysteries) and you waste a lot of water to boot.

    If I didn't have really hard water that blocks the pores, I would go for soaker hose on raised beds as it can evenly water direct-sown seeds as well as larger things, and you can easily top up the larger/thirstier plants by hose or watering can once or twice a week. I have a drip system but there never seems to be enough holes in the tubing or they always just miss the roots in terms of plant spacing, so I am forever punching new ones in it, then you rotate your crop and you have too many for the next thing in that bed.

    Pots are better on a drip system. I have combined the two in the past, but there was a lot of fiddling around with washers, connectors etc. and I can’t remember how I did it in the end. Its quite possible there are easier, more modern combination systems than the one I have, which is more of a DIY (i.e. bodge) job.

    I assume you have access to tap water with reasonable pressure, rather than just water butts? The latter are trickier to get enough pressure to feed an automatic system as you need the assistance of gravity to make it function.

    Hope that helps.
  • ears_101ears_101 LeedsPosts: 5
    yes I was planning to use a tap rather than the water butt. 

    Having spent most of today planning this I've now managed buy everything I think I need!
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 7,189
    Amazon (boo hiss) have a half price deal currently on Hozelock universal watering system. (Under £40). I bought one yesterday. I avoid Amazon but couldn't resist this time. You can add various Hozelock systems together (in modular style). They also come with timers, solar detection sensors and a range of other nifty gadgets. They get good reviews.
  • ears_101ears_101 LeedsPosts: 5
    Ok so I have had a good day installing my irrigation system, I have managed to get 3 of the raised beds installed with the soaker hoses and the pots have their drip feeds in.

    However I am struggling with the mini greenhouse where I've installed a microjet at the top, but no water wants to come out of it. I'm thinking it is probably because the pipe is having to go to the top of the greenhouse after travelling the length of the garden.

    I've added a few pictures of the set-up and problematic greenhouse, any suggestions welcome!

  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen SpainPosts: 3,823
    Looking good! The longer the run the more the pressure drops off toward the end, so, yes if your mini greenhouse is the last thing... any run longer than around 25m will struggle.

    You could try splitting the system with one of those multi hose connectors at the tap and run a line direct to your MG, bypassing the raised beds.
  • purplerallimpurplerallim LincolnshirePosts: 3,224
    I know it's no help, but I think it's the height that's the problem,  trying to run the water uphill. The only way I can think of to help is to reduce hose size down at ground level and connect drip feeders for each shelf, it might help the pressure get to them.
  • ears_101ears_101 LeedsPosts: 5
    There is actually
    quite a lot of main pipe running on past the greenhouse so I might cut that off in a hope it increases the pressure!
  • ears_101ears_101 LeedsPosts: 5
    I am really new to this but is it possible to put a feed through the irrigation system?
  • purplerallimpurplerallim LincolnshirePosts: 3,224
    Not that I know of, still do it by hand.
  • With my system I don’t get much flow out of the small sized dripper hose especially if it’s a long run, so that coupled with the height might be part of the problem. Can you use large sized piping to get the water to the mini green house then fit the smaller drippers/ spray?
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