Every day, somebody somewhere starts a garden for the very first time. They plant a row of vegetable seeds, or perhaps a series of young fruit trees. Then they sit and wait hopefully for their new garden to grow and prosper.
But all too often, bugs, rodents or the family dog discovers their garden long before the new seedlings really have a chance. In many cases, the weather simply refuses to cooperate, soaking freshly watered plants until they rot or leaving them bone dry to scorch in the sun.
In this post, learn some do-it-yourself irrigation techniques to take the guesswork (and hard work) out of keeping your garden moist and verdant so it can produce the fresh produce you crave.
Different Approaches to DIY Garden Irrigation
The type of irrigation system you employ can depend greatly on how much space your garden consumes, the moisture needs of the plants you have chosen and the resources you have in place.
Here are some of the most economical and least labor-intensive DIY options to consider:
Self-watering plant globes
Stores sell these plant globes for several dollars apiece, but you can make them yourself for the cost of a few empty water bottles. This system is particularly great for potted plants of any size, since they are often overlooked by other types of irrigation systems.
What you need: Several plastic capped bottles plus one candle and one awl. Heat the awl with the candle. Use the hot awl to poke a series of small holes just under the cap area. Fill the bottles with water.
What to do: You will use one bottle per potted plant. Turn the filled capped water bottle upside down and bury it in the dirt near the plant until all of the holes are covered up. The bottle will release water as the plant needs it. When the bottle is empty, you can just refill it with water and repeat.
If you have a larger garden space without the budget to match, you can modify the self-watering plant globes to your larger space.
What you need: Several large (1 or 2 liters works best) plastic water bottles plus one box cutter and one small shovel or trowel.
What to do: Remove any labels from the bottles. Use the box cutter to make two small vertical slits in the lower half of the bottle, each parallel to the other on opposite sides. Now make a series of small slits in the base of the bottle. Use the shovel or trowel to bury the empty bottles (cap side up) deep enough into the soil so only the top third of each bottle shows. Bury them at regular intervals in your garden. Fill each bottle three-quarters of the way full with water. Refill in the evenings as needed.
A soaker hose is a fabulous DIY irrigation option for a large garden plot. If you have a plot that is both long and wide, you may want to use more than one hose to be sure your plot is watered evenly.
What you need: One or more long garden hoses plus one sharp awl or box cutter. Poke holes at regular intervals along the length of each soaker hose with the awl or box cutter tip.
What to do: Attach your new soaker hose to the spigot, and then lay it out flat in between the rows of plants. Turn the spigot on low for one hour in the early morning and one hour in the later evening to give the soil the best chance of taking in all the moisture.
As an aid to any type of DIY irrigation system you decide to implement, you can recycle rainwater to keep your garden watering bills low.
What you need: A cheap barrel or garbage bin, plus one small manual or electric drill, one spigot and one sheet of fine mesh fabric.
What to do: Set up the rain barrel underneath a runoff point or gutter exit point along the outside of your house. Cut a hole in the top of the barrel lid to trap the rainwater. Place the mesh across the top of the barrel so it covers the opening completely and then place the lid over it (this keeps bugs out and rainwater in). Use the drill to make a small hole and insert the spigot. Now you can just open the spigot into a bucket whenever you need water for your growing garden.
With these easy, cheap DIY home garden irrigation ideas, you can look forward to a lush, green garden that costs you nothing but your time and attention!
Philip Piletic – When I’m not traveling, blogging and doing freelance work, I like to wind down by tending to my garden. I have a strong interest in ecology and sustainable lifestyle, and enjoy connecting with others who feel the same. I’d like to thank Valves Online for helping me with this article.