Suggestions on drip irrigation plan for vegetable garden

Asked May 24, 2019, 9:45 AM EDT

Hello-Thanks for this service; it's been very helpful! I was wondering if you would mind looking at the plans I made for a drip irrigation system for my 22x21 vegetable garden. I sheet mulched the area and made rows/squares with 3"compost and another few inches of a compost/topsoil mixture. I've been using a sprinkler to water and everything has germinated but some plants, like the lettuce and broccoli/cauliflower (sown directly April 20), don't seem to be flourishing. Some of the cauliflower leaves are not looking great either. I want to install drip irrigation for efficiency, but I've never done it and have no idea if it can be done the way I planned. I was hoping you could take a look at the diagram I created with the Mother Earth News garden planner and give me some feedback. Thanks in advance!

Howard County Maryland

1 Response

Hi- drip irrigation is an excellent way to water your garden an increase plant growth and yields.
The plan looks fine. Generally, herb plants, other than basil, should require less water than your vegetable plants. For any beds that are 3 ft. or wider and packed with plants you'll want to have more than one run of drip tape. If the bed is 3-4 ft. wide and there is just a single row of a vegetable crop then one run of drip tape will be adequate.

There are a lot of factors to consider in determining how long and how frequently to run your system, including number of lines of emitters or drip tape, emitter plant spacing, and type of crops. We suggest that you try irrigating twice per week for 4-6 hours, check soil moisture, and adjust accordingly. The general recommendation is for 1 inch of water per week. This equals about 62 gallons per 100 sq, ft. of garden space.

Here are some web pages that provide more detailed information:
https://extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/yard-garden/drip-irrigation-home-gardens-4-702/
https://agrilifeextension.tamu.edu/library/gardening/watering-your-vegetables/
https://extension.psu.edu/determining-how-long-to-run-drip-irrigation-systems-for-vegetables

http://www2.ca.uky.edu/agcomm/pubs/HO/HO122/HO122.pdf

Jon