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Raised garden beds have different watering requirements compared to in-ground garden beds. This article covers the best way to water raised garden beds, as well as the many options available.
What are Raised Garden Beds?
Also known as garden boxes, raised bed gardens are a creative way of farming whereby small and well-structured garden beds are raised above the ground. This can be done by using either containment units or by simply raising the soil above the soil surrounding the bed.
The containment units can be made of concrete, wood, or rock, and the plants are planted geometrically and spaced much closer than in normal gardens.
Raised bed gardens are preferred by gardeners who want to plant flowers, fruits, and vegetables on a small scale without paying much heed to planting seasons. They are also loved for their capacity to keep away weeds and pests and their ability to provide good drainage whilst preventing soil erosion.
Additionally, raising a garden bed provides a reprieve to gardeners of advanced age, with a physical disability, or those with back problems.
How to Water Raised Bed Gardens
With raised bed gardens, the thriving capability of plants is highly determined by the method and frequency with which they are watered.
Firstly, it’s important to choose the water carefully to avoid water with lots of chemicals or water that is too salty.
Secondly, it’s vital to avoid both overwatering and under watering of raised bed gardens. Overwatering will lead to plant rot while under watering will deny the plants the ability to absorb important nutrients, and increase soil salinity, two factors that will ultimately lead to drying up of the plants. There are different ways of watering raised bed gardens.
You can choose a method to water your raised garden based on its noted advantages and disadvantages.
1. Drip Irrigation
Drip irrigation is a form of irrigation that allows water to slowly and gradually drip to the base of the plant.
This may be created by setting up hoses that have holes or by inserting into the root covering soil, bottles with holes drilled into the cap.
If you choose to use bottles, the bottles are filled periodically and placed at the base of every plant so the water can drip over time. In the case that you use a hose, it is important to ensure that the holes are spaced based on the needs of the plants.
The major disadvantage of drip irrigation is that the holes can get clogged with time. Installation of drip irrigation is relatively expensive and can be quite time-consuming, mainly because the dispensing holes have to be aligned to the base of every plant.
However, the method greatly reduces irrigation labor, aids in preventing diseases, and is precise and water-saving because only the soil covering the plant roots is watered.
2. Soaker Hose Irrigation
Just like in drip irrigation, a soaker hose also looks like a normal garden hose and delivers water slowly and gradually straight to the base of the plants.
The difference is that the latter is made of porous material that sort of ‘sweats’ or ‘weeps’ water continuously along its complete length and at low pressure.
Compared to the drip, the installation of a soaker hose is less expensive and less time-consuming. This method helps prevent diseases and saves on water.
3. Sprinkler Irrigation
A sprinkler is usually attached to the end of a hose pipe and has holes that spray water when turned on. Sprinklers are way more common than their counterparts because they are not expensive to purchase and install and require one to put in no work during irrigation.
However, since water is sprayed via the air, sprinklers waste a lot of water because they cover the entire area, including parts that don’t need watering.
4. Hand Watering
Hand watering can be done using a nozzle, a sprayer, a hosepipe or a watering can. This method works well with small gardens because it can be very time-consuming. It is however inexpensive to purchase and watering targets only the required areas.
5. Wicking Irrigation
Wicking irrigation makes use of capillary motion to absorb water either from an underground reservoir made of a porous material or an absorbent wick is used to connect the garden to the reservoir.
The wick that can either be made of cloth or soil constantly provides the bed with water as long as the reservoir has water. The reservoir can be filled with water through the side. With the wicking method, the raised bed garden is basically self-watering.
Wicking may be expensive to set up but is very precise and saves time and work involved in watering.
- Since they have a fast drainage system and a dense plant population, raised bed gardens require more water than other garden types. Generally, it’s advisable to do deep watering a few times than shallow watering frequently.
- It is advisable to water your raised bed garden either early in the morning or late in the evening to minimize evaporation and maximize water intake by the plants.
- Automating the watering system can be helpful in watering during the desired time to save time.
- Mulching your garden also helps minimize water evaporation.
- The garden should occasionally be maintained by checking the hoses to ensure that they aren’t clogged and that there are no leaks.
- It’s good to check how deep the dry soil is to determine how much water to add to the garden.
Raised bed gardens are easy to maintain and are ideal if you don’t have a lot of psace. They can be a creative outlet as well as a hobby and a way to cultivate your own fresh produce. If watered correctly, raised bed gardens are capable of producing healthy crops all year round.