Search

The "Veg Garden" upgrade...

It always amazes me how time flies in our gardens. We are now in our fourth year for this garden. It has morphed and evolved from long, in-ground, market style beds (functional but not attractive) to shorter more decorative semi-raised beds (more attractive but not was functional) to what it is now...a perfect blend of form and function (we hope!).





We have 12 raised beds, each 4' x 16' in the center of the garden. We have an additional four beds on each end that measure 2' x 16' and four beds on the perimeter, each measuring 18" x 18'. In the center of the garden we have four more beds at the base of the arch, each measuring 1' x 16'.




This past month has been spent upgrading the beds from in-ground/semi raised to fully raised, self contained beds. We built each raised bed in place and installed drip irrigation to it. This allows us to control when and how much water each bed receives. We have three, solar timers used to control the watering overnight which will save us several hours each day during the heat of the summer. While some may not find this exciting, we are thrilled with the amount of control this will give us over watering and how much time we will save each day.


If you are interested in how we did it, please keep reading.



We ordered all of our parts and pieces for the irrigation system from dripdepot.com and zoro.com. We purchased the corrugated metal sheets and pipe from a local box store.


Step One: Measure and cut corrugated metal sheets to size. We used a total of six pieces per bed, two on each side and one on each end.



Step Two: Connect pieces. They were connected using 4x4 posts at each junction point and metal screws. This way we can easily move the beds if we decide to change the layout of the inner garden.


Step Three: Secure corrugated metal in place with 1/2" conduit pipe, placed every 36" or so. This provides additional structure and allows us to place hoop houses over each bed (blog post on that soon!)


Step Four: Fill beds 1/2 to 3/4 full with a mixture of soil and compost. If you have any well rotted manure or goat/chicken bedding, mix a bit of that in as well.





Step Five: Lay out ground irrigation. Be sure that each piece lines up with the in-bed placement of fixtures. Once everything is in place, dig a trench and lay pipe in but do not cover yet.


Step Six: Assemble drip irrigation pieces and lay in place. Ensure all pieces fit in each bed before attaching to ground irrigation line. Once in place, secure with metal securing straps.



Step Seven: Once all irrigation pieces are connected (and glued) you can bury the ground irritation pipes.



Step Eight: Cover paths with landscaping cloth and approximately 6" of hardwood mulch. You can choose a different substrate but be sure to lay landscaping cloth first to control the growth of weeds and any errant plants that escape from their beds!



Step Nine: Connect any additional drip irrigation tape/hose to fixtures.



Step Ten: Connect in-ground irrigation pipe with water source and attach timers as needed.



This project took us about 3 full days to complete and was accomplished over the course of a couple weeks, mostly due to supply issues and inclement weather. It is much easier to dig up our hard clay after a good rain and that dictated when we could place the in-ground pipe. We are already planning to expand the in-ground pipe to the outlying beds (cut flowers, squash, potatoes, etc) as soon as possible! We also plan to install a smaller version of this in the "Kitchen Garden" outback. We don't need it for every bed but definitely want it for the tomatoes, basil and cut flowers. I cannot wait to see how much this aids in production this season. A constant source of water, at the roots, should boost growth and productivity.



The additional of bonus of not having to hand water all these beds, especially during the heat/humidity of the summer around here, is immeasurable. I had often found myself procrastinating about watering the garden because of the heat (I have a very low heat tolerance). I'm so thankful now I won't have to water....the drip irrigation system will do it for me.



A garden is a journey, ever changing and ever evolving. Looking back at ours from just a few years ago it is amazing what can be accomplished with time, energy and a little elbow grease.


Happy Gardening!


The Pirate Chicken









21 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All