Set Up a Soaker System for Next Year’s Successful CO Garden [Video]
I know what you're thinking: Dude, it's September. Get a job. But, think about it. With our temperamental climate and soil conditions, you want to plant next year's garden as soon as that last freeze is over. It's a big hurry-up-and-wait game that, if you have a busy life, can become so stressful that it's really not even worth it. And that's no fun.
Also, soakers waste next to no water, as opposed to using a sprinkler, which causes a great deal of water to evaporate before it even reaches your plants. Also, it's the roots that need the water, not so much the leaves.
With this soaker system, you can install it now, and when it's time to till your soil in the Spring, you can simply flip the whole thing out into the yard, then put it back after you plant, and you're off to the races.
Here's my system at work earlier in the season. Read below for the quick how-to!
Budget: $100 max.
- Two garden hoses: 1 to run from your water spigot to your garden, another to run from one end of your garden to the other.
- A splitter for your water spigot, so you can connect your soaker plus another hose for general use, like it probably is right now.
- A watering timer, like the one pictured. It'll be the most expensive part of the project, running about $40. But, when you're away for days at a time, or just busy during the week, it's a lifesaver!
- Enough soaker hose to run front to back of your garden in each row where you're growing food.
- A copper metal cap to fit at the end of each hose (be it 1/2" or 5/8", depending on the hose diameter,) and some plumber's glue to keep them securely on the ends of the hoses. The glue comes with a brush that makes it easy to put on.
- A 5/8" plastic 'T' fitting for each row. You can get these at Bath Landscape Supply for $.59 each.
- Three hose clamps for each row.
- A pressure-reducing disk. Ask Bath about that as well, as it should cost next to nothing.
- A spade or shovel.
- A razor knife or pair of cutters.
- A flat-head screwdriver.
- Electrical tape.
First, the real work: You really should bury the hose that runs from the spigot to wherever you want it to come up in your garden. Don't worry, you can blow it out in the fall, along with your sprinklers! (I suppose if you're super die-hard, you could run longer-lasting PVC pipe. I chose not to mess with the fittings and measurements.) And yes, your grass will grow back where you dug.
Slip the pressure-reducing disk into the end of the second hose. Attach the second hose to the first one, running it along the front of the garden, from one end to the other.
Cut the second hose at every row. Reconnect it using your plastic T's, but secure them with the hose clamps.
Cut a piece of soaker hose to run front to back of each row. Attach the hose to the T's you just put into the main hose line. I like to wrap the end of the soakers with electrical tape to keep them from splitting when you attach them. Tighten them down with hose clamps as well.
Attach the caps at the opposite ends of the soaker hoses using your plumber's glue.
Set your timer. These are typically super easy to figure out. During Colorado's peak summer heat, you'll want to run it about 60 minutes every other day. It's best to run it anytime before 10am or after 6. I run mine in the evenings, because I like to watch it in action sometimes. Here's a bit more info to help you along!
Bonus: You're now only watering where your plants are growing, which means WAY less weeds to pull in between rows!
You'll feel like a pro when you've installed this self-watering system, and you'll notice gardening is now a ton easier.