DIY Automatic Garden Watering System

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Gardening isn’t always inexpensive or cheap, in fact, it can be quite a costly endeavor, particularly if all your plants die halfway through the season due to lack of water or because they are choked out by weeds you didn’t have time to pluck. Here’s how we installed our own homemade automatic self- watering & weed free, no maintenance vegetable garden . . .
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While the initial set-up does take a few dollars, this system can be used year after year without any issues what-so-ever.

You’ll need:
PVC Pipe (the lengths are completely dependent on your garden size)
1 Metal Stake Fence post per Sprinkler head
pvc T’s
PVC 90 corner (1for each sprinkler head)
PVC Threaded Reducer (Female)
sprinkler heads
PVC Primer & Glue (Purple & Orange Stuff)
Automatic Timer (such as orbit)
Spigot (aka Faucet) for lowest corner, drainage

The Layout:

diy-automatic-garden-watering-system

The orange star in the image above represents the timer connected to the hose/water source. The solid lines are PVC pipes, the stars are sprinkler heads and the circled star is a spigot at the bottom of the pvc pipe. This is placed at the lowest point in your watering system for easy drainage during the fall and winter months.

How we did it:

Till the garden area. Once it’s completely tilled and fairly level, layout the pvc pipes. Dig trenches about a foot deep to bury the pvc pipes in the layout you created. We used 2 (two)- 16′ PVC (below ground) & 1- 8′ pvc (cut in half) below ground as well as 6- 8′ PVC (Above Ground). 3/4″ PVC Pipes run about $2.25 each

Attach the sprinkler heads to each of the 8′ PVC pipes using the primer and glue, in our case we used 6 sprinkler heads. You May need More or less depending on the overall size of your own garden.

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As you can see from the photo above, we added pvc “corners” to the sprinkler head. This is so you can add a threaded reducer to screw the sprinkler head into.

Glue the pipes together and place them in the trenches. Secure the sprinkler head above ground pipes with a fence post or stake. (Zip ties work great!) Be sure to include a Spigot at the lowest corner of the garden, this will make it much easier to drain the pipes in the winter and prevent broken/frozen pipes. Fill in the trenches, burying the water pipes 12″-18″ inches in the ground. We buried them this deep so that we can till the garden later on without worrying about hitting the pipes.

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Gently mound up the soil over in rows with an area of 18-24″ across. Mounding the soil is great for drought stricken areas as it allows the garden to catch as much water as possible, the water gets to the roots of the plants quickly, ensuring deeper root growth & heartier plants.

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Cover each mound with landscaping fabric, newspaper layers (place a layer of black & white newsprint only, spritz it with water, add a second layer, spritz with water, Repeat), or an old sheet that you no longer want. Basically, use what you have available! Your goal is to block out weeds and help keep the ground moist so that your seedlings will grow well. As you can see here, this is an old dust-ruffle that was no longer needed or useful.

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Generously cover the mounds with wheat straw. Again- this helps keep the moisture in the plants and ground and prevent seedlings from drying out and dying. It also works well to help spot snakes so you can avoid stepping on them! This also helps the fruit of the plant from dragging on the ground and rotting before you have a chance to harvest it.

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Cut a small “X” into the fabric on the mound to plant your seedlings at their recommending spacings. Above is a row of Jalapeno pepper seedlings we started indoors a couple weeks ago.

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Plant the seedling, fill in the hole, and spread the straw around it to protect it.

Set the timer for however long you need the garden watered daily! Now, walk away, you’ve just created a hands free, weed free, no hassle garden that will produce all summer long.

diy-automatic-garden-watering-system

We’ll add more photos as the year progresses, but feel free to check out our previous mound gardens:

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / Smileus

THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. SEE OUR DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFO.

About Liss 1841 Articles
Melissa Burnell, known to her friends and fans as "Liss," grew up in Southern Maine, now residing in sunny South Carolina. As a busy Wife, Mother of two sons, an avid photographer, and self-employed entrepreneur, Liss understands the value of both time and money.

10 Comments

  1. i was watching a you tube video on urban homesteading and they were using clay pots burried up to the neck then filled with water. the water seaps out of the clay pot throught the day and keeps the plants watered. the homestead was just outside of los angeles in california.

    here in ny it rains a lot but i have two flowerbeds in the front of my home that are covered by the roof and noting seems to grow there because i forget to water. i might try the clay pot idea there.

    • The clay pots seem to be simple enough, but not worthwhile in a dry area. I live in Ohio, where we seem to be either flooded or desert dry… It’s feast or famine, so I have set up rain barrels to fill my pots on the days (weeks) that there is no rain.

      I was watching a You Tube Video on Urban Homesteading and they were using clay pots burried up to the neck then filled with water. The water seaps out of the clay pot throught the day and keeps the plants watered. The homestead was just outside of Los Angeles in California.

      Here in ny it rains a lot but i have two flowerbeds in the front of my home that are covered by the roof and noting seems to grow there because i forget to water. i might try the clay pot idea there.

  2. last year i tripled the size of my garden and have been having trouble keeping it watered .. i think i will try this. thank you

  3. love this idea. my husband did something like this a few years agao but he did not bury the pvc. i tried to tell him not to do that…and the povc gets dried out by the hot sun and he has them break now.

    am i right that the pvc does not take the hot sun too well and that taking the short cut of not burying it wille ventually cause more work? yes i’m asking someone to take sides here! 😛

    • Love this idea. My husband did something like this a few years agao but he did not bury the PVC. I tried to tell him not to do that…and the POVC gets dried out by the hot sun and he has them break now. Am I right that the PVC does not take the hot sun too well and that taking the short cut of not burying it wille ventually cause more work? Yes I’m asking someone to take sides here! 😛

      Yes, you’re 100% right, PVC is meant to be buried and will last for YEARS if buried. The sun deteriorates PVC very quickly. It also makes a difference what schedule of PVC you purchase (which is essentially the thickness of the pvc itself).

      If you purchase the landscaping PVC it holds up better to the weather and can be left above ground, but again, it will last longer if it’s buried.

  4. how do you till the garden the next year without cutting up the pvc pipes? I know that you can till around them, is this the method used?:dontknow:

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