Understand and follow correct watering principles, and find the best way to water raised-bed gardens to have a productive and healthy garden.

The best way to water a raised-bed garden will provide consistent and even watering, be easy to use and maintain, and ideally be simple to install as well.

Raised-bed gardens are a productive and simple way to grow herbs, fruits, flowers, and vegetables in your backyard. However, how you water the raised beds can mean the difference between a healthy, thriving garden or plants that struggle with under-watering, over-watering, and everything in between.

The best way to water square foot gardens and raised bed gardens #squarefootgarden #gardening #watering #driplineirrigation

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Spend time in your garden each day while watering

Whichever method you choose for watering, it’s important to pay attention to the system while it is operating. If you have an automatic watering system, program it to run when you are normally in the garden. 

When you are in your garden while it is being watered, you can spot problems (such as a dead battery in the timer, a leak in a line, over-watering, or under-watering) before the health of your plants is affected or water is wasted from flooding, etc. 

Pay attention to the weather

Plants require more water when it is dry, windy, or in the summer heat. During the summer in hot areas like Arizona, raised-bed gardens often need watering every day. Other times of the year, the raised beds may only need to be watered 1-2 times per week. Adjust the frequency of the timer for seasonal conditions.

The best way to water raised bed gardens #gardening #watering #driplineirrigation

Be aware of the watering needs of your plants

Monitor plants for signs of under-watering stress (such as brown dry-leaf edges, slow growth, leaf curl, wilted or dropped leaves, or branch dieback) to help determine how often to water. Plants that wilt in the afternoon but recover by morning are suffering heat stress, not water stress. 

Allow plants to develop some heat tolerance by not over-watering. Signs of over-watering include soft rotten roots, constantly wet soil, light green or yellow new growth, leaf curl and drop. Inconsistent watering causes problems. 

The best way to water raised bed gardens #gardening #watering #driplineirrigation

Water less frequently but more deeply

Water deep enough to moisten the plant’s entire root system. Shallow watering that does not water the entire root system discourages healthy root growth.

Use a soil probe (any kind of long metal object such as a long screwdriver) after watering to check watering depth. If the probe moves easily through the soil, it is moist. If not, the soil is dry and you need to water longer. 

You can also check the moisture level with a moisture meter. Let the top inch of soil dry out before you water again. It is a good idea to occasionally water twice as long to flush the salts out of the root zone and soil.

The best way to water square foot gardens and raised bed gardens #squarefootgarden #gardening #watering #driplineirrigation

Water in the morning

Plants absorb moisture more effectively in the morning. Watering early in the day hydrates plants before the daytime heat. Morning waterings also help prevent waterborne diseases and pests that can occur if you water at night.

The best way to water raised bed gardens #gardening #watering #driplineirrigation

Water raised-bed gardens evenly and consistently

Some type of automatic watering system is the best way to water raised beds. Timers can be adjusted to water every day during the warmest months of the year, or less often depending on rain and other weather conditions.

Inconsistent watering causes seeds and seedlings to dry out and die, and it stresses established plants which invites pests and diseases. 

Watering can be an expensive part of gardening. Finding the best way to water raised beds will help conserve water and not waste it. 

The best way to water raised bed gardens #gardening #watering #driplineirrigation
The best way to water raised bed gardens #gardening #watering #driplineirrigation

Which automatic watering system is best?

Types of automatic watering systems include soaker hoses, sprinklers, and drip lines attached to a timer. I’ve used all three of these methods in my garden and have found drip-line irrigation is the most effective way to water raised-bed gardens.

  • Soaker hoses often get clogged, crack, and don’t always water evenly.
  • Sprinklers in the garden can encourage and spread disease by getting the leaves wet. Spraying water results in excess evaporation and doesn’t always reach the soil and evenly moisten the root zone.
  • Drip lines water the soil, not the plant. Drip lines also provide water at an even rate, allowing the soil to absorb the moisture with minimal waste or evaporation. 
The best way to water square foot gardens and raised bed gardens #squarefootgarden #gardening #watering #driplineirrigation

Which type of drip-line irrigation system is best for watering raised beds?

My favorite drip-line irrigation system is the Garden Grid from Garden In Minutes. I’ve added them one or two at a time to the raised beds in my garden, and the beds that have them benefit from this type of even watering. 

Full disclosure: Garden In Minutes provided me with some of these grids in exchange for my honest review of them, but I like them so much I also purchase them for my garden beds that don’t have them.

Here are a few reasons why I think the Garden In Minute's grid is the best way to water raised-bed gardens

This system efficiently waters all parts of your raised beds evenly. 

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It is simple to connect the system to an automatic timer.

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The grids come preassembled and can be installed in minutes (really!) with no tools.

The Garden Grids are the best way to water square-foot gardens

An additional benefit of the the Garden Grid system is that it divides your garden into evenly-spaced square planting sections for square-foot gardening.

Having a grid is a crucial part of square-foot gardening.

At the end of each season, it’s easy to lift the grid off the bed to add compost to the raised bed.

These garden grids are definitely the best way to water square-foot gardens and other raised bed gardens.  

The best way to water square foot gardens and raised bed gardens #squarefootgarden #gardening #watering #driplineirrigation
The best way to water square foot gardens and raised bed gardens #squarefootgarden #gardening #watering #driplineirrigation

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The best way to water square foot gardens and raised bed gardens #squarefootgarden #gardening #watering #driplineirrigation
The best way to water square foot gardens and raised bed gardens #squarefootgarden #gardening #watering #driplineirrigation

11 comments on “Best Way to Water Raised-Bed Gardens”

    • I ordered 4×8 grids, if they aren’t listed on the website, I would email them and ask about ordering that size.

  1. Is it made from 1/2 inch tubing or micro tubing? Hard to tell from pics. Also, how small are the holes? With all the holes spraying at once it would seem like you would lose water pressure. Thanks!

    • It is made from 1/2 tubing. The holes for water are very small. Losing water pressure hasn’t been a problem the way I have them set up in the garden, usually no more than 2-3 grids connected at one time.

  2. Raised bed built land filled but now the soaker hose seems to provide too much water…runs out almost as soon as it’s turned on. Upset wire reinforced with narrow boards… cardboard before soil added. What to do.

    • You could try to reduce the water pressure so the water comes out more slowly and can penetrate the soil rather than running out.

  3. Thanks so much for your post! How long have you had the Garden Grids? Have they had any issues? I have drip irrigation in my raised beds, and I’m thinking about using the garden grids in my new raised beds for improved water coverage. I’m not sure they will be worth the investment though if they don’t hold up to our desert sun. 🙂

    • I got my first grids about 4 years ago and have added them slowly since that time. I haven’t had any issues with them deteriorating.

    • I retro fitted mine around trellises by cutting through the tubing and using connectors. You could try that. When they come in the mail they are not completely assembled, you may be able to put them around the plant before you push the ends together.

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