How To Install And Use A Soaker Hose On A Raised Bed Garden

The best-kept secret for vegetable gardens is soaker hoses. They outperform watering cans and sprinklers. They are less expensive than drip irrigation systems, and once they are set up, they require relatively little upkeep because they deliver water directly to the roots without getting it on the foliage. 

These hoses are often composed of porous rubber and are intended to allow water to slowly seep into your plants over time. By doing this, deep irrigation rather than shallow surface watering is ensured.

The material utilized is properly sanitized before being recycled and used to create something sustainable. When you purchase soaker hoses, you frequently contribute to recycling efforts and practice environmental responsibility.

Soaker hose garden irrigation is favored compared to other irrigation methods given that soaker hoses are simple to install and offer little water loss.

Of course, using a sprinkler is perfectly OK; many people actually do, but it’s much safer to choose a soaker hose over other types of irrigation if you have a plant that is vulnerable to illnesses like powdery mildew or other fungal diseases that spread quickly in moist settings.

You will have the best chances of success with your vegetable garden if you use a high-quality soaker hose.

Benefits Of Using A Soaker Hose

Soaker hoses allow the user to use less water because they don’t spray. Since the water flows directly from the hose into your garden, there is no waste involved. Additionally, the hose’s gradual leaking stops runoff and damage in the garden.

The use of soaker hoses also helps stop weeds from spreading. Weeds outside the range of the moisture pattern will experience a lack of water since water is concentrated along the hose. This can at least partially prevent weed growth.

A soaker hose also keeps foliage dry, which is another of its many wonderful advantages. Usually, you don’t want to water your plant’s foliage. Long-term standing of water increases the growth of pests and diseases that need moist habitats to thrive. It’s acceptable to occasionally spray plants with water to remove dust or bugs, but this should not be done frequently. Make sure to do this in the morning if you’re going to do it so that the sun can dry it throughout the day.

Additionally, it is time-saving. Your garden will efficiently water itself if you set it and forget it because you won’t need to fill watering cans or wield a hose sprayer. It’s really simple to turn on the faucet and return later even if you don’t have a timer.

How To Set Up A Soaker Hose System

It is easy to use a soaker hose irrigation system. Instead of messing with the system and the plants in between waterings, most gardeners who use soaker hoses will lay them out along the rows of plants they want to water and leave them in place for the growing season. If you enjoy mulch gardening, you could cover your soaker hose with mulch.

How To Increase The Hose’s Flexibility

The soaker hose will be firmly twisted in a circle when it is first removed from the packaging. It will also be somewhat rigid. It will be a little challenging to work with it right out of the box because of both of these factors.

You can put the hose outside in the sun for about an hour to help with this issue. Also, you can start unraveling it in the yard since this will eliminate the majority of the turns and make it simpler to direct it into your flower bed.

How To Run The Soaker Hoses Through Your Garden

It works really well to place a single soaker down the middle of a small, raised bed or in the space between two quite near rows of plants. You might want to coil the soaker hose around the base of the plant for more even irrigation when watering larger, high-demand plants like indeterminate tomatoes.

If you have a sizable garden and use numerous soaker hoses, you can either create a manifold with a separate valve for each connection or you can simply join an ordinary garden hose to the hose you wish to feed and move it to each soaker in turn.

Do I Need Special Equipment To Use Soaker Hoses In My Garden?

Since soaker hoses function best at pressures of about 10 pounds per square inch, your home system should be able to handle numerous soaker hoses simultaneously.

While some gardeners simply turn the main faucet back to restrict the water flow, others employ an external pressure control. However, you won’t need to lower your line pressure if you invest in good soaker hoses with restrictor washers.

Simple disks called restrictor washers are located in the female end of the soaker hose. They have a tiny hole that, by limiting the amount of water that can flow through the hose at any given time, naturally lowers the water pressure to the desired flow rate.

How Long Should You Run Your Soaker Hose?

There are two opposing schools of thinking on this, but neither one provides a genuine solution to the query. The succinct response is “your mileage may vary.” Let’s take a closer look at what it actually implies in terms of how long a soaker hose should be run in order to properly water your vegetable garden.

Watering In Inches

There are two techniques to determine whether your garden is receiving enough water in theory. The first step is to gauge how many inches of water your garden is receiving. In general, it is known that the typical vegetable garden requires one and a half to two inches of water each week in the summer and roughly one inch in the spring.

According to the “watering in inches” method, you need to know two factors in order to determine how long to run your soaker hose in the garden: When does my soaker hose release an inch of water? And how much rain has fallen in my area?

You can figure out how much additional water you need to add once you know how much rain fell. Use a shallow container, like a tuna can, positioned under your soaker hose to time how long it takes to transport an inch of water via the hose so you can estimate how long it will take to distribute the additional water you need through the hose. This will enable you to calculate how long it will take your soaker hose to apply the water you require.

Depth Of Moisture Method

Many gardeners find this strategy to be quite effective, especially those who use deep-bed intensive gardening techniques. You just need to start watering and check the depth of the water frequently by digging up a spade of dirt. With some fluctuation depending on the soil type, most gardeners prefer a depth of 8 to 12 inches. To determine how long to let your soaker hose run, you can typically assume that an irrigation depth will require an irrigation time that is similar.

Is A Timer Necessary?

Even though the settings for soaker hose timers differ from manufacturer to manufacturer, you might benefit from a high-quality hose timer from any company. If you’re taking a weeklong vacation, you wouldn’t want your garden to go without water while you’re away.

It is possible to divide your watering, especially when using more sophisticated hose timers. You can water one bed for 30 minutes, then turn off the water and water the next bed for the following 30 minutes. 

Buy a timer without a doubt if you want your soaker hose system to operate while you are at work. A timer is also required if you don’t like getting up early yet want to water your plants early in the day. The money will be definitely well spent.

Other Considerations

Soaker Hose Not Watering Evenly

When this occurs, the most frequent issue is pressure loss near the end of an excessively long line. Choose a hose with a narrower diameter that fills more quickly, such as 1/4 inch rather than 1/2 inch, if you want a longer hose.

Even then, it’s crucial to avoid using a soaker hose that is longer than 50 feet, some gardeners even steer clear of those that are longer than 25 feet. You can choose various extensions off of a solid hose instead, and limit the length of the soaker hose to 25 feet per connection.

 Your Beds Are Too Dry

Your soaker hoses being exposed could be the cause of your excessive evaporation, which is a regular problem. Put mulch on top of your soaker hoses to prevent that. 2 inches of mulch will aid in reducing excessive evaporation.

One Of Your Hoses Stop Working

It might be clogged, which frequently occurs in hard water areas. To stop calcified deposits from washing into your hoses, use filters. To prevent hose clogging, flush the hoses in the spring and fall.

If your soaker hose becomes seriously clogged, it may be challenging to remove calcified buildup from its porous surface. The soaker hose can then have any necessary sections replaced at that time. It’s preferable though, to avoid those at first and to be proactive with hose maintenance.

Final Thoughts

The best approach to watering plants in a raised bed is with a soaker hose. You don’t have to spend time and energy physically watering plants. Installing a soaker hose is simple, and once it is done, all you need is the right watering schedule for your plants to get everything going.