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Irrigation,  Plan - Design - DIY,  Raised Garden Beds

How to Install Drip Irrigation in Raised Garden Beds (Drip Tape)

One of our top priorities when building our new garden was to install drip irrigation for all the raised garden beds. When it comes to keeping plants healthy and happy, providing deep, even, regular water is just as important as high-quality soil, compost, and sunshine! Yet good irrigation practices often go overlooked. Hand-watering is time consuming, and it’s difficult to be consistent. Plus, setting up automated drip irrigation systems can often feel intimidating… until now!

Follow along and learn how to set up drip irrigation for multiple raised garden beds. Our new raised bed drip irrigation system utilizes drip tape, but the skills you’ll learn today can easily be applied to other types of drip emitters too. This article and accompanying video will walk you through everything you need to know – from supplies to the step-by-step process – to feel confident to set up a similar drip system of your own. 

2023 Update: We also have a new easy raised bed drip irrigation tutorial here – one that connects right to a nearby hose spigot.

In this article you will find:

  • A brief introduction to drip tape irrigation, including frequently asked questions and best practices about spacing, timing, pressure, and winterizing.

  • A list of supplies needed to set up drip irrigation to raised garden beds. Nearly everything on this list was purchased through Drip Depot. We’ve been long-time Drip Depot customers, and I recently signed up as an affiliate with them as well. So, we’ll receive a small commission if you shop through our links – which is greatly appreciated and supports our work!

  • A YouTube video. I will walk you through the supplies and process of installing drip irrigation for raised garden beds using drip tape. I also show a quick demo of how to glue PVC pipe, and a few other styles of raised bed drip irrigation systems too. If irrigation feels intimidating or confusing to you, it may be best to start by watching the video and then come back to digest everything else!

  • A written summary of the steps shown in the video, with plenty of photos of our drip system install.

  • Notes for alternative options for installing drip irrigation to raised garden beds (such as using standard ½” irrigation tubing and emitters rather than drip tape). 

Jump straight to the video here.

Drip Irrigation Saves!

Did you know that automatic drip irrigation systems not only save you time and energy, but also save water? Studies show that drip irrigation can save up to 70% more water than overhead sprinkler systems. Rather than spraying everything down willy-nilly, drip irrigation delivers targeted water right at the base of plants and soil. This reduces waste, runoff, and evaporation. 

Not to mention, drip irrigation is more efficient and effective at watering plants deeply, rather than only wetting the top few inches of the soil. Deep water means deeper roots, and more resilient, drought-tolerant, and robust plants. All in all, drip irrigation is a win-win – for you, your wallet, plants, and the planet.

Drip tape running along the soil next to a bok choy seedling. The raised bed contains many small seedlings in the background.

What is drip tape?

Drip tape is essentially a flattened version of drip tubing. It lays flat on the soil surface but puffs up once it’s pressurized and full of water. Drip tape comes with drip emitters pre-installed at a set spacing, such as every 6, 9, 12, 18, or 24 inches apart. Each individual emitter will emit a set quantity of water – from 0.25 gallons per hour (GPH) up to 1 GPH depending on the type of drip tape you choose. Drip tape operates at a lower water pressure (8-15 psi) than standard drip irrigation (20-40 psi). 

It’s important to note that not all drip tape is created equal. In fact, drip tape often gets a bad rap as being short-lived or even “disposable” because of the way it’s commonly used in big ag. Yet the lifespan of drip tape depends on the quality and thickness of the tape used. We chose the thickest commercial-quality drip tape we could find (15 mil), rated to last up to 10 years when taken care of! 

DeannaCat is holding a strip of drip tape showing the emitter within the line. In the background there are various other irrigation supplies such as valves, connectors, drip tape as well as a pair of scissors and measuring tape.

Why we chose drip tape

We chose to use drip tape in our raised bed drip irrigation system for a number of reasons:

  1. I love the convenience of pre-installed emitters, rather than punching holes and adding emitters to solid ½” irrigation tubing as we’ve done in the past. 

  2. I also like the close emitter spacing that drip tape offers. Our drip tape has emitters every 6 inches. There is another style of round drip tubing with pre-installed emitters (like this one). But from what I saw, 9 inches was the closest emitter spacing available in that type. We’ll talk more about spacing below.

  3. Drip tape has the reputation of being less prone to clogging than other types of emitter tubing. Drip tape is well-designed not to clog, even when buried below soil or mulch! It was highly recommended by a friend of mine who does professional garden installation and maintenance.

Can you cover or bury drip tape irrigation?

Yes! Drip tape can be installed on the soil surface, buried up to a foot below the soil, or covered with mulch without clogging. Even better, covering drip tape (or other drip irrigation components) can offer protection from sun damage and temperature extremes, thereby extending its lifespan. 

In order to keep the very top of our soil well-irrigated, we plan to keep our drip tape fairly close to the soil surface but will cover it with a little soil and mulch. No matter how you choose to install your drip tape lines, be sure that the emitters face upwards.

Spacing drip irrigation in raised garden beds

I recommend spacing drip irrigation in raised garden beds in a way that evenly saturates the whole bed, with the rows no wider than 12” apart. After all, one of the many benefits of growing in raised beds is that you don’t have to follow rigid row planting, unlike traditional field row crops. Plus, the more damp soil there is around, the more the worms, nematodes, and beneficial microbes will thrive! Last but not least, watering in a wide swath around plants (as opposed to directly at their base only) encourages roots to explore, growing larger and wider. That leads to bigger, healthier plants!

In our 4×8’ raised garden beds, we installed the drip lines about 9 inches apart evenly across the bed – or four lines total per bed. Each row of drip tape has .25 gph emitters every 6 inches. This spacing will provide a nice even distribution of water across the entire bed, allowing us to plant along the drip lines or in between. It will be especially great for closely-spaced plantings like root veggies.

It’s best to position the header in one short end of your raised garden bed. Then attach the drip tape (or other drip tubing and emitters) from the header down the length of the garden bed.

A birds eye view of a raised garden bed outfitted with drip tape irrigation. There are four lines, evenly spaced, young tender seedlings are growing throughout the raised bed.
Drip tape in our 4×8′ raised beds, spaced every 9 inches. With 15 emitters per 8 ft row of drip tape, each providing 0.25 gallons per hour, and four total rows of tape, that means that this bed will receive 15 gallons of water in one hour. We definitely could have gone with .5 gph drip tape too – and then run the bed for less time as needed!

How long should I run drip irrigation in raised garden beds?

It depends! Every garden will have different water demands based on the unique climate, season, temperatures and rainfall patterns. It also depends on your mulching practices, and how thirsty your plants are. Larger, mature plants generally “drink” more water than smaller ones. Soil protected with a nice 2 to 4″ layer of mulch will stay damp much longer than bare soil, greatly reducing water needs.

In general, it best to provide less frequent, deep, long watering as opposed to short shallow bouts of water every day. This will encourage deep healthy roots and stronger, more resilient plants. Try to water enough to keep the soil evenly moist at all times, but allow it to dry out ever-so-slightly between watering. Of course, you never want the soil to be totally dry! But remember that plants breathe through their roots – so the soil shouldn’t be constantly sopping wet either.

In our climate, we typically run our raised bed drip irrigation system for about an hour twice per week. The time you run your system will also vary depending on the type of emitters used. For instance, if we were using drip tape with .5 gph emitters (instead of .25 gph), we could run the system for half the amount of time.

When direct-sowing seeds, plan to provide additional overhead or hand-watering during the first few weeks. That will help keep the top of the soil nice and damp during germination and early root development.

Tender young radish seedlings have emerged from the soil amongst drip tape spaced evenly throughout.
Once these baby radishes get a little bigger, the drip irrigation system will give them plenty of water on its own. However, just after planting the seeds, I made sure to also hand-water to keep the top soil nice and damp (especially between the rows of drip tape where it’s more prone to drying out).

Winterizing a raised bed drip irrigation system

As with all types of irrigation, it’s best to winterize your raised bed drip irrigation system before freezing conditions arise. At minimum, thoroughly drain the system and protect it with a nice deep layer of mulch. Leaving standing water in pipes or valves can cause them to crack when the water freezes and expands.

Or, to further reduce the risk of damage, folks in extremely cold climates may want to remove the drip irrigation components completely – storing them in a protected location over winter. There is no need to take the whole system apart however! Use a threaded adapter at the point of connection in each raised bed. Then you can simply unscrew it, remove the entire header and attached drip lines together in one piece, and hang it in the garage (or something similar). 

Understanding water pressure in drip irrigation systems

Average household water pressure is around 40 to 60 pounds per square inch, also known as PSI. That is an ideal pressure for sinks, showers and outdoor hose bibs. Yet drip irrigation systems cannot handle such high water pressure. Too much pressure can cause “blowouts” or damage. Therefore, you’ll likely need to add a pressure reducer to your raised bed drip irrigation system. 

The best operating pressure for standard drip irrigation tubing and emitters is between 20 to 40 psi. Most times, one pressure reducer at the start of the system is adequate (e.g. where it connects to a faucet or control valve). Our main irrigation valves already had 40 psi pressure reducers installed at the head assembly. Note that lengths of over 100 feet of standard ½” irrigation tubing may start to lose pressure at the farthest end. 

Yet drip tape needs even lower pressure, from 8 to 15 psi, depending on the thickness and specifications of the chosen drip tape. ***In order to maintain good water pressure throughout our large garden space, we kept our main PVC lines at 40 psi but then added a 15 psi pressure regulator inside each raised bed before connecting drip tape.*** 

A close of of an irrigation valve assembly with a 40 psi pressure regulator.
The first pressure regulator in our system reduces the water pressure down to 40 PSI in the main water supply lines that feed each garden bed.
A birds eye view of a raised bed with drip tape irrigation, words have been superimposed over the top of the image, labeling each section. From drip tape lines, 1/2 inch poly tubing for headers, PVC connection to mainline, 15 psi regulator, and adapter to drip with on/off valve.
Then in each bed, we added an additional pressure regulator to reduce down to 15 psi, ideal for drip tape.

Supplies Needed for a Raised Bed Drip Irrigation System

Below is a list of the supplies needed to create a drip irrigation system for raised garden beds using drip tape. At the end, I also noted a few alternative supplies and adjustments if you prefer to use standard ½” drip tubing instead of drip tape. 

A birds eye view of the irrigation supplies needed for raised bed drip irrigation. A number has been superimposed over the top of each item so it corresponds with the list and description of each item in the section to follow. Drip tape, elbows, valves, connectors, hole punch, pressure reducer, figure 8 end clamps, drip tape end clamps, as well as scissors and measuring tape.

  1. A main water supply. We ran PVC to each raised bed, and then converted to drip tubing within each bed. However, you can easily run the same type of drip tape irrigation system from a regular faucet or hose bib. This article and video will show you how to attach drip to a hose bib with an automated timer.
  1. Standard ½” irrigation tubing, which you can buy here in 50 to 1,000-foot rolls. This will be used to create the main “header” that the drip tape lines will attach to. 
  1. An adapter to connect the ½” drip tubing to your main water supply. We used this adapter to convert from threaded ¾” PVC pipe to ½” irrigation tubing (which has an option for ½” threaded pipe size under the same link). On the other hand, this 4-in-1 adapter is ideal to attach drip to a regular faucet or hose bib instead. It includes a pressure reducer, backflow device, filter, and drip tubing connector. 
  1. Optional but recommended: a valve to control or turn off each raised bed individually. Our PVC-to-drip adapter (described just above) has a valve already included. However, you can buy these separate valves to install within your ½” tubing too. 
  1. Pressure reducers. Standard drip systems should be reduced between 20 to 40 psi, which can occur at the main connection (such as at a hose bibb or irrigation valve). Our main irrigation valves already had 40 psi pressure reducers installed. Systems using drip tape must be further reduced to 8 to 15 psi (check your drip tape specifications) so we added an additional 15 psi pressure regulator at each bed. Note that our regulator is made to connect to ¾” pipe thread, but other sizes are available. 
  1. Elbows and/or tee connectors to create the header. We prefer these Perma-loc connectors that screw on over the tubing. They can easily be disconnected as needed for repairs or changes. Rather, these common compression-style connectors are more permanent; things need to be cut apart to make changes.
  1. Drip tape of choice. We used this heavy-duty 15 mil drip tape with 0.25 gph emitters every 6 inches. The 0.5 gph would be ideal for raised beds too! Drip tape comes in rolls of 100, 500, 1000 feet or more. Run some quick math to determine how much you need. For example, we installed (4) 8-foot rows per 4×8’ bed. So that’s 32 feet per bed X 16 beds (plus a few smaller beds) = about 600 feet. See above for more info on spacing.
  1. Barbed adapters. We used these 3.6 mm barb adapters to connect the ⅝” drip tape to the ½” header tubing. 
  1. End caps or clamps. We use figure 8 clamps to end the ½” irrigation tubing header. These closure clips are what we used to end each line of drip tape.

  2. A punch tool. Used to add holes to the ½” irrigation tubing and then connect various adapters or drip emitters to. Here is a simple hand punch, or this option is similar to what we use.

  3. Stakes, pins or galvanized landscape staples to hold everything in place. 
  1. If you’re working with PVC, you’ll need PVC primer, glue, and a good set of ratchet-style pipe cutters.

  2. Optional: a timer or controller to automate the system. Our orchard, existing garden, and new raised bed drip irrigation systems are connected to a solar-powered Hunter 6-station controller. The other drip systems we run from hose bibs have this simple faucet timer.

  3. A backflow preventer and filter. It’s best practice to have a backflow prevention device to stop soil or other contaminants from getting back into your household water supply. Similarly, a filter will prevent debris from entering and clogging your drip irrigation system. There are a few backflow preventer options, depending on your main water supply connection. Hard-piped systems like ours usually have a filter and backflow preventer within the mainline head assembly. Or if you are connecting to a hose bib, use a 4-in-1 faucet adapter – which has a backflow device, filter, pressure reducer and drip connection. You can add a timer too! See photos of both below.

Six irrigation header valves are shown with a few raised garden beds beyond.
Two of these standard sprinkler head assemblies supply the main PVC lines to our raised beds, which already include a filter, backflow device, and pressure reducer.
A hose end timer is shown connected to a faucet spigot. It contains two spigots for two stations with 1/2 inch drip tubing connected to each.
If you aren’t up for using PVC, you can connect drip irrigation right to a hose bibb – then run the lines to your raised garden bed! I go over exactly how to do that in this article. We also added a timer to automate the system, which can supply two different zones!

A graphic showing each piece of a drip irrigation faucet adapter and the order in which it is put together. From the water source to backflow preventer, mesh filter, 25 psi regulator, adapter, to 1/2 inch drip tubing.

This all-in-one adapter makes it a breeze to attach your drip irrigation to a hose bib or faucet!

Alternate drip supplies: 

If you’d rather use ½” irrigation tubing to create rows instead of drip tape, there are a few adjustments you’ll need to make. One, you can create the main header (just like ours) but use 3/4” poly tubing instead of half-inch tubing for the header. Then, use these barbed adapters to connect ½” tubing to it. Keep in mind you’ll need to purchase 3/4” connectors, elbows, and other adapters for your header assembly in this case.

Another option is to still use ½” tubing in your header, but cut it and install tees every 8-12 inches to attach the lateral lines to. From there, you can connect either pre-perforated ½” drip tubing like this, or regular solid ½” tubing with your own emitters added, such as  1 GPH or 2 GPH drip emitters, or connect micro-sprinklers or bubblers with ¼” micro-tubing. Or, you could even connect 1/4″ drip tubing to a 1/2″ header, shown below.

An image graphic showing various raised bed drip irrigation assemblies using a variety of different parts for different purposes.
There are a lot of variations of this system out there. He is another example from Drip Depot, utilizing 1/2″ tubing as the main lines and 1/4″ drip tubing for the lateral drip lines, plus a variety of Perma-loc connectors and other drip components. Once you understand the basics, the options are endless!

Installing Drip Irrigation In Raised Garden Beds (video)

Now, please enjoy this video demonstration that will walk you through the installation process. Then, keep scrolling for a written summary and additional photos of our system. Before getting started creating your own raised bed drip irrigation system, draw it all out! That will help you visualize the system as well as develop a list of the parts you need.

Steps to Set Up Drip Irrigation in Raised Garden Beds (written summary)

1) Run water supply lines to each raised garden bed

The main water supply lines may be PVC, other hard piping, or ½” black drip tubing itself. One option is to add water lines and risers concealed under/inside every raised bed, either before the garden beds are installed or trenched under existing beds after-the-fact. Or, simply run the water lines up the outside of the bed wall.

After construction or modifications, flush the main water lines to remove any debris before connecting drip irrigation components or valves. Simply turn them on and let the water run for a few minutes. Keep the lines elevated or otherwise protected from anything getting back in during the process. 

A trench is exposed showing the PVC main line coming out of the valve header assembly.
Our existing irrigation system on the property had two extra valves and lines (capped, not in use) that were previously installed by a sprinkler specialist. We simply removed the caps then built onto the system from there. You can find a video on how to install this type of head assembly here, or contact a local landscape irrigation plumber to help get it set up – then install the rest of the system yourself!
Irrigation header valves are shown next to a Hunter controller, beyond lies a large space containing many raised beds.
A view of the header valves from the other side, along with the solar-powered Hunter controller that automates it all. Only two of these supply the raised beds. The remainder supply drip irrigation to our existing garden, orchard, and other parts of the property.
DeannaCat is holding a PVC riser with  an elbow on each end to connect to the main line to supply drip irrigation for raised beds.
We added PVC risers to each bed before filing them with soil, but installed the rest of the external supply line pipes after filling them with soil – only because we were driving all over this area with a UTV to add gravel and soil. (I show a quick demo of how to glue PVC pipe at minute 6 in the video if needed!)
The riser is flushing water to make sure there is no debris in the lines before proceeding to connect the drip irrigation for raised garden beds.
Flushing all the PVC lines before attaching any drip components.

Notes on our water line installation:

You’ll see in the photos that we installed our PVC lines on top landscape fabric, under several inches of gravel. However, please keep in mind we live in a mild climate that doesn’t freeze over winter. It also doesn’t get all that hot in summer! Otherwise, it’s best practice in most places to trench and bury pipes at least 6 inches minimum (usually 12″ to 18”) to protect them from freezing or temperature extremes. Therefore, please look into the best practices for irrigation water line installation in your climate. 

To offset how shallowly we installed the supply lines, we used schedule 80 PVC (grey) rather than schedule 40 (white). Schedule 80 is thicker, more resilient to temperature swings, and UV-resistant. Unlike white PVC, it won’t get brittle and crack from sun damage. Therefore, schedule 80 is recommended for above-ground installations (or in situations similar to ours). It is more expensive than schedule 40, so only use it if you have to.

The main supply line for the garden irrigation shows PVC trenched into the gravel coming from the supply line, one line is trenched next to the raised beds while the other travels along the edging to connect to the other side of the garden.
One zone feeds the 9 closer raised beds, while the other zone supplies the 10 beds on the far side of the garden.
PVC lines trenched into gravel traveling next to raised garden beds for irrigation.
The supply lines run just outside the bed, teeing up each row and then teeing into the bottom of each bed – connecting to the riser that we put inside before adding soil. In a few spots, we left short dead-ends (capped) that will be easy to add on to in the future if needed.
PVC lines trenched into gravel following along the sides of raised beds for drip irrigation.
All of this eventually got backfilled with gravel, covering the lines.

2) Convert from the main water supply lines to drip

Next, use an appropriate adapter for your system to connect the main water supply lines to ½” drip irrigation tubing. (That is, unless you’re already using 1/2″ irrigation tubing for your supply lines). The right adapter will depend on your particular supply lines (various sizes of PVC, other hard-piping, a hose bib, etc) as discussed above and in the video. To use the same adapter we used, you’ll want your PVC point-of-connection to have a threaded female fitting. The adapter is available for either 1/2″ or 3/4″ threaded PVC connections, but be sure to choose the 1/2″ Perma-loc size!

A riser and pressure reducer heading is poking out just above the soil line for the start of drip irrigation for raised beds.
From top to bottom: PVC riser from the main water supply lines, pressure regulator, adapter to 1/2″ tubing.

3) Assemble the header and drip tape lines

If you’re installing drip irrigation in multiple raised garden beds of the same size, I recommend making one header in/near the garden bed to be sure everything fits and is spaced the way you like it. Then, use that header as your guide or prototype and assemble the remaining headers in a clean work space. (Such as a concrete patio. We even put some together on our dining table.) That way, there is less risk of getting soil inside the parts as you work – which can clog your emitters!

  • Measure and cut the solid 1/2″ poly tubing to fit inside one short end of your raised bed. If you’re using figure 8 end clamps like us, leave a couple inches extra to fold over.
  • Measure and cut the smaller/side section of the header that will connect to the main water supply/adapter.
  • Connect the pieces of header tubing with elbow connectors.
  • Measure and mark where you want each row of drip tape to attach, spaced evenly in the bed (between 6 to 12 inches apart).
  • Use a punch tool to create holes in the main header tubing. Be sure the holes are oriented in a way that will have the drip tape laying flat on the soil surface.
  • Insert barbed adapters into the holes.
  • Attach drip tape. Completely loosen the perma-loc nut (exposing as much of the barb as possible), slip the drip tubing over the barb, then hold it in place while you tighten the nut down over it. Remember, keep the emitters facing UP!
  • Add end caps/clips to both the main header line and drip tape lines.

All the parts for drip irrigation for raised beds header assembly and drip tape.
An elbow with perma-lock fittings connecting to a piece of half inch tubing.
Some parts of the header assembly for drip irrigation in raised beds. Half inch tubing, connectors, drip tape, and elbows.
Before punching holes, I measured and marked where I wanted to attach each adapter/drip tape line.
A four way image collage on punching holes into tubing, adding the connectors, and adding drip tape to the connector.
Adding the drip tape adapters to the header tubing.
A four way image collage on folding the end of a drip tape line over itself a couple times and fitting the end piece into a clip which seals the end of the line.
To end drip tape lines, insert the drip tape into the smaller opening of the clip first, fold it over itself a couple of times, and then pull it back into the larger opening in the clip.
The end of a line of tubing is bent over itself by a couple of inches with a figure 8 clamp attached to the end to stop the flow of water.
An irrigation header that is shown with drip tubing, drip tape, barb connectors, and elbows.

4) Install the drip system – and enjoy!

Finally, install your new drip irrigation in the raised garden beds. Pin everything in place with landscape staples. Connect your header to the main water supply, and turn on the system to test it. Tighten or adjust any leaky connections as needed. Cover the drip components with a little soil or mulch if desired to protect it from sun. Now you can sit back, relax, and enjoy your brand new easy, efficient, time-saving raised bed drip irrigation system!

Drip irrigation in raised beds watering fresh seedlings from 4 rows of drip tape.

And that concludes this lesson on how to set up drip irrigation in raised beds!

Well folks, I realize I just shared quite a bit of information to digest. Who knew irrigation could be so dry? 😂 But now your garden beds should be the opposite of dry! I hope this article took some of the mystery out irrigation for you. I also hope you now feel prepared and comfortable to install drip irrigation in raised garden beds of your own! Please feel free to ask any questions in the comments below. If you found this information to be valuable, please spread the love by pinning or sharing this post. Thank you so much for tuning in, and happy watering!

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  • Elizabeth

    Hello, I installed my own raised bed drip system based on all these amazing details above and your recommended supplies. It’s a little over a year later and I’m noticing that water pressure through the drip tape is very low and slow and takes much much longer to even barely soak the soil. Any hints or suggestions on what to check or maintence? I really don’t know how to take care of this after setting it up or what may need flushing/upkeep etc. Do I simply take off the pressure regulators? I have a 25PSI on my main hose line which is just hooked up to a spicket and 12PSI at each raised bed. Any sugestions or insights are welcomed. It’s no longer an efficient system since it’s not really emitting enough water (although I have increase the time to try for a greater soak) and i’m having to hand water more often to reach the roots. Thank you so much ! Elizabeth

    • Aaron (Mr. DeannaCat)

      Hi Elizabeth, do you have an actual hose hooked up to your spigot or is it the 1/2 inch drip tubing? You also need to take into account how far your initial line travels before it hits your garden beds as there may be a pressure loss before it reaches your raised beds. If you are using a garden hose, the 25 PSI pressure regulator may be reducing your flow too much before traveling to your garden beds depending on how much water pressure is coming out of your spigot.

      If you have a filter at the beginning of your system, it is recommended to clean out the filter a few times a year, some even recommend monthly as there may be debris blocking the outflow of water. If you got the exact drip tape we used and recommended, I don’t think the emitters would be clogged or have a decreased output as they are made to be buried in the soil without worry of debris entering the emitters.

      How are is your garden looking in general? Do your plants seem stressed or in need of water or is everything growing well, you just notice the soil being more dry? As plants get bigger, they will also use more water which may make the top layer of soil more dry, be sure you have your raised beds mulched to help retain moisture. You may also want to dig down further in your beds to see how the moist the soil is further down, you will likely want to do this more in the middle of the beds as the sides can be more dry compared to the middle. Also, the people at Drip Depot are also quite helpful when it comes to irrigation questions so I would reach out to them either by phone or via email and see if they have any suggestions. Hope that helps and let us know how it turns out when you find what works best, good luck!

      • Elizabeth

        Thank you so much for your reply. I am just using my system hooked up to a water spigot so I guess I may not need the 25 PSI pressure regulator? Do I completely remove it? I still have a 12 PSI pressure regulator for each bed – do I remove those too or keep those in place? I did use the exact same drip tape you recommended so the emitters are still good there it just seems to be a presssure problem. I have cleared out the filters so I know those aren’t the problem. Thanks for more suggestions and I will also reach out to Drip Depot.

        Yes I prob need to mulch even more. Do you have a recommended mulch product?

        Thank you for all the great info you share!!!

        • Aaron (Mr. DeannaCat)

          Hi Elizabeth, you want to keep the 12 PSI regulators at each raised bed as that exact drip tape needs 15 PSI or less to operate or else the drip tape would likely blow out with too much pressure. We have a 40 PSI regulator at the start of our system and 15 PSI regulators at each bed while also using PVC to connect the main water supply to each bed which does help with maintaining better pressure compared to 1/2 inch drip tubing, but even at the end of our system there is a slight reduction in water output.

          If you are using a garden hose attached to your spigot to feed your drip system, you may be able to remove the 25 PSI regulator but if you have 1/2 inch drip tubing hooked up to the spigot with an adapter, your dip components leading up to your raised beds may not be able to handle the extra pressure if you fully remove the regulator. This kind of all depends on what the pressure is that comes out of your spigot. You can use one of these or something similar from your local hardware store if you want to know the pressure you are working with or you could try and switch out the 25 PSI regulator for a 40 PSI regulator which would give your drip system more pressure leading up to the raised beds.

          As far as mulch goes, it depends on where you are located in the US, here in CA we like to use Gardner and Bloome Soil Building Conditioner which is a barky type compost and we usually add an inch or two to the top of each raised beds during spring and fall plantings. However, the bags come in a compressed 3 cubic foot bag and can be quite heavy but we can usually mulch two of our 8×4 foot raised beds with 1 bag. Hope that helps and reach out with any other questions you may have.

  • Rachel

    Would this set up work with a rain barrel as the water source (assuming it’s on a platform to generate some pressure via gravity)?

    • Aaron (Mr. DeannaCat)

      Hi Rachel, unfortunately a rain barrel wouldn’t work for this instance as you wouldn’t have enough pressure to use the system properly. You would likely need a much larger barrel or tank, like 5,000 gallons and hook up to a pump to get enough pressure for drip irrigation. For our rain barrels in the past, we would just fill up 5 gallon buckets at a time to use as needed, hope that helps and good luck!

  • Annalee

    What a tremendous amount of work and a wealth of knowledge that you have been so generous to share with us! Thank you SO MUCH for putting videos and articles like this together.

  • Mads

    Hi Deanna and Aaron! I’ve been following you for many, many years always aspiring to have to space to homestead and chill in and the day has finally come- I’m closing on my first home this week 🙂 I want to make sure everything is set up the right way and am so grateful to all the information you’ve shared over the years as a resource. By far, irrigation is what I’m most intimidated by. There is tons of river stones everywhere so I am planning on using that to create some organically shaped cobble stone walled raised beds. Do you think drip tape will work in a curved space or do I need to go with tubing? Thank you!!!

    • Aaron (Mr. DeannaCat)

      Hi Mads, congratulations on your first home, that is so exciting and it will be so rewarding for you to transform your new space over time! Using river stone that is already on your property sounds like a great idea to add dimension to your space, drip tape is best used in straight lines so you are better off using drip tubing for your project, we are excited to hear how it turns out for you so please keep us posted on your progress. Again, congratulations on this new chapter in your life and thank you so much for your support over the years!

  • TD

    Great information. Wish I had this when I set up my first drip system years ago. What emiter spacing do you use for tomatoes?

    I’m revising my drip system and switching from shrubblers attached to 1/2″ tubing to 1/4″ drip tubing. I trim my tomatoes to 2 leaders and plant 18″ on center. I was thinking of running a drip line on each side of the plant. What emiter spacing do you think is appropriate? I thought maybe 9″ staggered spacing although maybe I could get by with 12″? I have existing 1/4″ drip tubing with emiters 6″ on the each edge of the bed for marigold/zinnia/basil. Thanks

    • Aaron (Mr. DeannaCat)

      Hi TD, sounds like you have a great system for growing tomatoes! Our drip tape has 6 inch spacing and each emitter provides .25 GPH of water, your spacing will likely depend on how many GPH each dripper emits. We use the 6 inch spacing because we can grow any number of crops in our various garden beds from direct sown carrots, beets, or radishes to bok choy, cabbage, kale to our summer crops of tomato, squash, basil and eggplant. Yet, if you have a designated space for tomatoes, you can fine tune your drip system specifically for the tomatoes. I think the 9″ spacing sounds good since you space your tomatoes 18″ apart. Hope that helps and good luck on adjusting your new drip system.

  • Ingo Rampre

    What a great tutorial! I only have a small greenhouse and three boxes but thanks to you I got all my questions answered. Thanks-again. By the way, I live in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbis, Canada. Hot dry summers and short relatively bearable winters.

    • Aaron (Mr. DeannaCat)

      Hi Ingo, so great to hear that you found the article so helpful and it will surely make watering much easier during your hot, dry summer months. BC is absolutely beautiful and I am sure you can grow all types of plants up there, enjoy your time in the garden and have fun growing!

  • Stumpy

    Drip irrigation such a mind f*ck. .5 GPH or 1GPH? 3 rows or 2 rows? 12″ or 9″ spacing? It is the worst math word problem ever. I live in Sacramento and have a 100ft long west facing raised bed/retaining wall. It gets a lot of hot hot sun most of the day. I need help deciding if .5 GPH or 1 GPH would be better, I am leaning towrds 12″ .5GPH for a slow deep watering. Any advice on chosing between .5 or 1GPH? PS Thanks for a great article.

    • Aaron (Mr. DeannaCat)

      Hi Stumpy, we would go with the .5 gallon per hour emitters and just water for a longer period of time if necessary to keep the soil moist, low and slow will work best. Plus be sure to mulch the top of your raised bed to help the soil retain moisture and protect your drip supplies from the scorching sun. Hope that helps and have fun growing!

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