Jim’s Garden Adventure 2017 Chapter 3 “Soaker Hose Irrigation”


Soaker Hose Irrigation Is Essential For A Successful Garden Plan.

After putting together a backyard garden plan, it is necessary to design a successful soaker hose layout.  Using soaker hose irrigation puts water at the base of the plants and keeps their leaves dry.  Wet leaves are a major cause of plant disease. 

For small plot vegetable gardens…no more than several hundred square feet…a simple soaker hose kit, or two, will work just fine.  But, planning a soaker hose blueprint using these kits for a larger garden can prove to get a bit pricey.

Since my backyard garden is almost 2,500 square feet, I lay out almost 1,000 linear feet of soaker hose.  Now, that’s a lot of soaker hose!

My soaker hoses are supplied with water from my 55 gallon rainwater barrels.  Six water barrels service the left side of the garden and six service the right side.  That’s a total of 12 rainwater barrels which, at roughly 80% efficiency, will hold about 600 total gallons of water when completely full.


Problems Encountered

Soaker hoses that traverse the space between rows were easily stepped on and very prone to damage.

Water is gravity-fed from the rain barrels to the soaker hoses so, water pressure is dependent upon the amount of water in the barrels.  In other words, less water equals less pressure.

Even at full-level capacity, the water pressure is not sufficient to service the entire left or right side of the garden.  Before the water can reach the backend of soaker hoses, it is already drained through the soaker hoses by the time it gets halfway through the hose network.


What to Do?

I had to get creative to protect my soaker hoses and ensure ALL my veggies would get water from the rain barrels.  So, off I went to the home improvement store to get a few things to improve my gardening efficiency.


First Things First!

Using 1-inch PVC pipe, I cut sections to fit between the rows, ran my soaker hoses through them, and buried them just deep enough to keep me from tripping on them every time I walked through my garden.  Then, I mulched over the PVC sections to hide them and discourage weed growth in these transition areas.


Now, On to the Water Issue…

I split up my soaker hose network into 6 sections in the garden…three on the left…three on the right.

Jim's Garden Left Side

The left side of the garden became Sections A (front), B (back), and C (left side fence perimeter; front, back, and side).

Jim's Garden Right Side

The right side of the garden became Sections D (front), E (back), and F (right side fence perimeter; front, back, and side).

Jim's garden soaker hose setup.

Using Y-splitters with shut-off valves, I separated each section so that I could irrigate each sector individually. The right side of my garden is setup as a mirror image of the left side.

Jim's garden left side soaker hose routing.

In the picture above, the shut-off valves are positioned for water to flow directly from the rain barrels to Section A soaker hoses only.

NOTE:  As you can also see in the above picture, I use short sections of regular garden hose to reach the back sections of both the left and right halves of the garden.  I want to connect to the soaker hoses in the back sections without watering ground where nothing has been planted.

And, there you have it…in a nutshell!

Take a look at Jim’s Garden Adventure 2017 Chapter 4 “Mulch Ado About Nothing”

Return to Jim’s Garden Adventure’s main page


My Neighbor Jed

One of my neighbors, Jed, is an elderly farmer who loves to tell stories.  One day, he told me a story about the day his wife, Millie, died years ago.

“She was quite a complainer!” he said.

Jed went on…

“She was always nagging and criticizing me about something…all day long…all night long.  It was pretty much non-stop.  Then, one day she brought me lunch while I was out plowing the field with my old mule…which was the only time I could get relief from her constant barrage of negativity.

As I stopped to eat, she started nagging again…on…and on…and on it went.  Then…all of a sudden, my mule reared up and kicked her in the back of the head with both legs…killing her instantly.

At the funeral, the minister noticed that every time a woman mourner came to console me, I nodded my head “yes” in agreement…and, every time a male mourner spoke to me, I shook my head “no” in disagreement…

Well, after the funeral, that minister, being more than a bit curious, came over and asked me about it.  He wanted to know why I agreed with all the women and disagreed with all the men.

And, I told him…

Preacher…I said…all the women came over to me and said how nice my wife looked, how well she was dressed, and how sorry they were about her passing…and I agreed with them wholeheartedly.

Jed's mule




And, the men…well…they all wanted to know if my old mule was for sale!”


Old Jed is jam-packed full of farmer stories…more Farmer Jed stories can be found on other pages of The Perfect Vegetable Garden!


What do you think of ole’ Jed?  Have you used other soaker hose configurations successfully?  Reach out to me through the comments section or by email: jim@perfect-vegetable-garden.com.


Jim, the Lifelong Gardener

2 thoughts on “Jim’s Garden Adventure 2017 Chapter 3 “Soaker Hose Irrigation”

  1. Marsha Reply

    Thank you for your thorough explanation. I too have found soaker hoses to be very effective for gardens. I like you idea of how to take the hose between rows. It definitely beats the opposite – which is soggy soil that soaks your shoes. Doing only one section at a time seems like a great solution to get all of the sections watered evenly.

    • Jim Reply

      Glad you liked the soaker hose article, Marsha!  In a larger garden, doing one section at a time is the only way to ensure that all the veggie plants get some water.  Stay tuned for the next installment in Jim’s Garden Adventure!


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