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JennieMig
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advice needed...raised bed gardeners...drip irrigation

Is it necessary to rotate what I plant in my boxes from season to season? I am installing drip irrigation in my beds and I'm wondering if I can grow the same things in my boxes, so my layout will stay the same from season to season. Or if I have to rotate will I have to change it every time I re-plant?

Thanks in advance for any input :wink:

DoubleDogFarm
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Jennie,

I would set up the irrigation to water the whole box, not individual plants. We usually install emitters in a grid pattern about 12" apart in all directions. A 3ft wide bed would have 3 runs across it. Usually one right down the middle and two more. Soil does make a difference. Sand more emitters and clay less.

I think rotation is always a good idea in a large garden. With good soil and sanitation, it may not be as necessary.

Eric

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JennieMig
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Thanks Eric, I watched a few videos on YouTube and most showed what you suggested, watering the whole box rather than individual plants. I have 1/2 inch hose that I will run down the length of the bed, then I have 1/4 inch soaker drip line with the emitters spaced at 6 inches, that I will snake through the bed 12 inches apart making sure that the lengths of soaker drip line don't exceed 20 ft. I also have herbs in individual pots so I will run some solid 1/4 inch line to those with individual emitters.

Another question...The video that seemed the most informative suggested watering for 10-15 minutes twice a day. I have heard some others that water for 30 minutes to an hour a few times a week. Which do you think is better and more efficent?

DoubleDogFarm
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We like to aim for about 1" off water per week.

If you are using 1/2gph emitter tubing, match the individual pots the same. Just makes life easier.

Eric

JaredTGS
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With a raised bed you will need to amend the soil probably annually and that will address the issues typically associated with the need for crop rotation.

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JennieMig
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Eric, I installed the drip line and it is doing well so far. I placed the drip lines 12 inches apart with the idea of, like you said, watering the whole bed rather than each plant. I have run into a problem with the pressure reducer. It was suggested that I get a 30psi, but I still can only turn the water faucet about 1/2 an inch otherwise the water pressure will blow my system apart. Now, I am not able to keep track of what rate the water is dripping at. I'm going to try and find a 10psi and see if that works. I have to mention that I have very strong water pressure at my outside spigots. I can fill a one gallon container in under 5 seconds.

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JennieMig
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Sorry for the double post.
Jared, I was thinking of adding a couple of wheel barrows of compost in between plantings. Just to put back what the previous plants took away. Thanks for the info :wink:

DoubleDogFarm
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Sounds like your faucet flows at about 12 gallons per minute. This is volume not pressure.

Have you mention in another post what parts you are using, brand and what order they are assembled?

Most filters and regulators are installed after the timer, so they are not always under pressure. We have gone exclusively to Arkal disc filters and Senninger Regulating Limit Valve Regulators. These two parts can operate under constant pressure. The filter is always installed above the regulator so it works with clean water.

Also, If you are using 1/4" soaker dripline, connect both ends to the mainline. You can double the length by doing this. 28ft max becomes 56ft.

A 1/2" mainline can handle about (480) 1/2gph emitters.

Eric

tedln
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Jennie,

25' of 1/2" soaker hose has always worked well in my 4' X 8' raised beds. It delivers about two gallons of water per foot of hose per hour. I use a single timer on a main line which goes to each bed. We have experienced a severe drought since November so I have the timer set to water six minutes in the morning and six minutes in the evening. Since we have a water well, I prefer to keep my beds moist (not wet). I've found that by watering only around the individual plants, earth worm activity and fungus growth is restricted in the beds. The soaker hoses encourage both in the entire beds. I also have almost no bare ground in my raised beds so it would be difficult to install emmiters for each plant.

I am using 1/4" drip emmiters in some containers. At this time, I am using single, 1/2 gallon per hour emmiters for each container. As the plants grow, I may need to add additional emmiters to each pot. The drip system operates on the same timer as the soaker hoses. With the current timing sequence and duration, each pot gets about one pint of water per day.

Ted
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