Instead of running the PVC pipe to each bed, each time, I have instead run a large bore PVC pipe down each side of my entire garden area. Then at the end of each planting bed I have added a T-junction and a short pipe off to a PVC valve. When I set up a bed for watering I grab a length of the mid sized PVC pipe, attach it to the valve, stake it down so it doesn't move too much, attach all the sprinklers or heads that I need and turn on the valve.
When the bed is no longer active I can turn off the valve and disconnect the sprinkler line. The sprinkler lines get stored over some racks, out of the way, until I need it again. The next time I set up a garden bed, before I make a new sprinkler line, I check what I have stored away. Most of the time, these days, it is a simple mater of connecting an existing sprinkler line and the newly planted bed is being irrigated within 5 minutes.
The advantages of this set up are:
- I am not watering beds that don't have plants in them, or more likely only have weeds in them. This saves me water.
- It takes minutes to set up water for new plants, so they are less likely to suffer due to lack of time to water.
- It is easy to get the irrigation system out of the way for the entire garden at the start of a season so that I can hoe or slash without damaging equipment.
- The reuse of PVC pipe keeps the cost of irrigation equipment to a minimum.
Step 1: Vetetable Garden Layout
The result is a fairly chaotic layout that changes size, location and orientation from season to season. So having a flexible irrigation system is necessary if I am to make the best use of my land.
In the diagram shown the beds were established in order of numbering. The larger bed has seasonal vegetables in the top section and herbs in the bottom section. The other two beds tend be planted out to large crops like potatoes, corn and pumpkin.