Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Garden irrigation desperately needed but no idea where to begin! please help!  (Read 1744 times)


  • Joined Mar 2009

We have just completed our first proper year of attempting a self-sufficient-ish life and by the end of it found watering to be a very time-consuming chore.

We have 31 raised beds in our garden, plus a sort of greenhouse attached to the house that is 31ft by 6 ft, which we grow chillis, peppers, tomatoes and aubergines in.   We also grow potatoes in old compost bags and car tyres, and have other veggies growing in the garden borders, plus 8 fruit trees and a fruit cage with another large raised bed that contains a variety of soft fruits.

Can anyone suggest the best (and hopefully cheapest) way that we should look to irrigate the above.  We have 2 outside taps, a 20m hozelock hose and a 50m hozelock hose, which i would love to make redundant as in my ideal world we would not have to water anything manually this year.  It would be nice to be able to have a few weekends away, and only need to ask the neighbours to collect eggs in our absence rather than spend about 90 minutes each day watering!

Any help or tips anyone can give would be great.  Likewise if anyone has any opinion on which companies are cheapest to use?

(we grow all manner of veggies - carrots, parsnips, beetroot, beans, tomatoes, garlic, lettuce, peas, mange tout, spinach, onions, broccoli, radish, cabbages, sprouts, cauliflowers, asparagus and not sure what would be the best things to use - have seen drip pipes, sprinklers, drippers and other things and want to make sure whatever we invest money into, it will ensure that they get the right amount of water, so that the tomato skins don't end up splitting, so that we don't encourage blight etc!)

thanks in anticipation!



  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Clackmannanshire
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Don't really know how you'd work out the logisitcs of it but these irrigation systems are just hose pipes with tiny seepage holes in them aren't they?  Can you maybe use the hoses you've got, attach them to the taps with them turned on but seals on the end to stop the water draining away at the pointy end?
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age


  • Joined Nov 2009
Sometimes its better with gardening to properly use the water than always try to get more.
With raised bed you can add water retaining material, take off the top 6 or 7 inches of soil and add a thick layer of scrunched up wetted newspaper, then a layer of wet straw put the soil back then add something such as pebbles or woodchips ( I use chopped up and soaked straw as a mulch on top) to cut down on evaporation. This way you wouldnt need to water your raised beds for up to a week dependant on crops and temperature.
You can of course buy water retaining crystals.

In my polytunnel Im planning to do exactly what Annie has suggested plus a timer on the tap. OR you could dig a channel down the side of the planting area fill it with pebbles and water then use the material that soaks up water dipped both into the water channel and the soil. All you will need to do then is fill the channel when empty which is usually every few days.
These systems of watering have the added advantage of not sprinkling the plants with water, as you know tomatoes prefer to be watered (and fed) at the base, as do many the polytunnel plants cos of stem rot and leaf scorch. Plus the air is always moist whiich prevents attacks of the red spider mite.

BTW blight isnt caused by over or underwatering or tomato skins splitting. Its an air bourne fugal infection that is usually passed on from one plant to another because last years spud or tomato hasnt been properly removed from the soil. The fungus survives cos of bad husbandry.

Hope this helps  ;D

« Last Edit: January 24, 2010, 06:01:48 am by Jackie »


  • Guest
It is also possible to set up a seep hose system to run from a water butt if this is something that's of interest (I'm always wary of leaving my taps switched on with the kids - and it's not like we don't get enough rain in this country  ;))
I'm sure it's Harrod Horticultural that I saw all the stuff, will try and find it and post a link. Depending on where your water butt is and the distance you might need a pump on a timer, but as far as I know you can connect as much pipe as you need to so it should go round all your beds without any problem.
Good luck and do let us know what you choose and how successful (or otherwise) it is - I'll hopefully have a similar set up soon (ish) so am very interested to see how you get on.


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