Introduction: Square Foot Gardening Waterer

About: Steward to about 20,000 trees on 40 acres.

We found ourselves without access to running water for our garden but had water in rain barrels. The garden consists of eight 4' x 4' raised beds in which we do Square Foot Gardening. With the beds only 4' square the theory is to irrigate in a 2' x 2' square so no part of the bed is much more than a foot from the water supply line. Using readily available supplies almost anyone can assemble a waterer using simple tools. There is no gluing required so (almost) all connections are a simple slip fit.


1- 4 or 5 gallon plastic bucket

2- sections 1/2" x 5' schedule 40 PVC pipe

1- 1/2" PVC adapter

1- 1/2" x 1/2" x 1/2" PVC tee

3- 1/2" x 1/2" PVC 90 degree elbows


Electric drill

Hand saw or table saw


3/4" hole saw or spade bit

1/8" drill bit

Sharpie marker

Tape measure

A vise (very handy but not necessary)

Step 1: Cutting, Marking and Assembly

From the PVC pipes, cut three pieces 21-1/2" long, two pieces 10-1/2" long and one piece 5-1/2" long. If there are PVC burrs on the cut ends, remove them with a file. Assemble the cut sections using the tee and the elbows as shown in the first and next to last pictures. ASSEMBLE WITH THE PIPE MANUFACTURER'S PRINTING UP. Tap the assembly on the floor vertically on each side to seat the connections. Turn the assembly over and use the Sharpie to mark a line along the length, on the top, of the pipe sections. On the 5-1/2" section mark a T closest to the tee connector and a O about 1-1/2" from the other end. Turn the assembly over again and mark the perimeter pipes every 4-5" and the 5-1/2" section about 1" from the tee. Drill a 1/8" hole at every mark...only through the marked side. The irrigation line is complete. Now on to the water supply.

Determine the lowest place on the side of the bucket where you can drill a 3/4" hole and drill it. Thread the connector into it as shown in picture 6. Assemble the irrigation assembly to the bucket as shown in the last bucket. The piping can be disassembled from the bucket for transporting to the bed.

Position the bucket in the center of the 4" x 4" bed with the adapter towards a side. Assemble the irrigation assembly to the bucket. The holes in the pipe should be to the bottom. Fill the bucket with a bucket of water to water your bed. Repeat every few days, as needed.

In the bed photo you will notice the fencing to keep rabbits out, and the cucumbers at the back climb up the trellis along the north side. Other beds have tomatoes growing in the corners of the north side.