How to Irrigate Food Plots

Overview

Busy weekend gardeners can take advantage of two similar methods to keep their vegetable plots well-watered. Both methods save a lot of valuable time. Because some vegetables can develop rotten fruit or flowers when you water them with an overhead sprinkler, drip irrigation systems and soaker hoses solve that problem. Both methods water plants where they need it, at their roots, and also save on water because it’s not wasted watering weeds and sidewalks.

Step 1

Measure your vegetable plot to calculate the number of drip irrigation hoses or soaker hoses you will need and map it on paper. If your veggies are in straight rows, measure the length of each row, allowing for one hose between each row. If your plants are scattered randomly, measure the length that your hose or hose will need to travel.

Step 2

Purchase either individual parts to construct a drip system or simply buy a kit that includes all of the parts you will need for the size of your plot. If you choose to purchase individual parts, the basic ingredients must include enough ½-inch black poly hose to run between your plot’s rows, ½-gallon-per-hour emitters, hose connector, a hole punch, end caps, ¼-inch connector line and straight connectors. It’s easier to purchase a kit and follow the included directions.

Step 3

Install soaker hoses if you prefer. Purchase 50-foot black soaker hoses to total the number of feet you need to cover in your food plot or plots. You can snake the hoses around your plants to ensure that the hose runs near the base of each plant.

Step 4

Connect either your traditional drip system or your soaker hoses to a nearby faucet with a standard garden hose of appropriate length. If you purchase a drip irrigation kit, it will probably contain parts that are helpful, such as a pressure regulator, flow restrictor, hose connector and vacuum breaker. If you don’t want to purchase these parts individually, you can control the amount of water that flows through your drip system by not turning on the faucet all the way.

Tips and Warnings

  • Typically, 150 feet (usually three soaker hose) is the maximum length that will allow water to seep from the hose at the end of the line. If you need more length, set up a second or third three-hose system.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape Drip irrigation components or kit Soaker hose(s) Garden hose(s)

References

  • This Old House: How To Install Drip Irrigation
  • Irrigation Tutorials: Landscape Sprinkler and Drip Irrigation
  • Saving Water: Soaker Hoses

Who Can Help

  • RainDrip Systems: Save Water the Quick and Easy Way
Keywords: watering methods, vegetable gardens, drip irrigation soaker

About this Author

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi'iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Fahs wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens," and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to Big Island Weekly, Ke Ola magazine, GardenGuides and eHow. She earned her B.A. at UCSB and her M.A. from San Jose State University.