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The Best Soaker Hose for a Raised Garden

Soaker hoses are ideal in raised beds. They seep water into the soil from tiny pores in the hose rather than spraying water onto foliage where it can cause disease. This saves water because soakers are designed to water more deeply into the soil than a sprinkler system can, and this means you don't have to water as often. There is no one best soaker hose for a raised bed, other than the one that meets the needs of your raised bed garden setup. This can be achieved through various setups and attachments. Soakers may be used individually or strung together to make a single watering system for multiple beds; and they are preferred over drip irrigation for plants spaced very close together, because drip irrigation waters plants separately, making it more efficient for plants spaced farther apart than they are planted in a raised bed.
  1. Water Beds, Not Between Them

    • The ideal soaker hose for a series of raised beds is one that delivers water to the plant roots and doesn’t water the ground between the raised beds. You can achieve this by using soaker hoses in the beds and connecting them to regular garden hose. Some manufacturers sell kits containing soaker and garden hoses that can be cut to the desired lengths, and then joined together with couplers. Or if you already have a regular garden hose, simply coil it up between the beds.

    Pressure Rating of the Soakers

    • A soaker hose is rated with a "psi," the pounds of water it delivers per square inch. They weep best between 10 to 25 psi, but the average pressure coming from an outdoor spigot ranges from 30 to 50 psi. Whether you have a series of raised beds, or just one, you can prevent your soaker hose from bursting under too much pressure. Choosing one equipped with an internal pressure regulator will help. For those without a regulator, you can buy an inexpensive pressure regulator and attach it between the hose and the spigot, making sure it has the same rating as your hose. Or you can control the pressure coming from the spigot by turning it on low. If you choose this method, open the spigot valve to the point where water from the soaker hose is weeping onto the ground, and not squirting onto your plants.

    Hose Specs

    • If you grow vegetables or shallow rooted plants in your raised bed, choose a 1/2-inch-diameter soaker hose. For beds with perennials that have longer roots, use a 5/8-inch diameter soaker to get the water down to the roots. Regardless of size, to keep pores in your hose from clogging, buy a hose with a removable end cap so you can flush debris from it a couple of times each growing season. Because soaker hoses are designed to work at a low psi, choose the shortest hose that will cover your bed so pressure is maintained throughout the hose. Coiling extra hose in the bed can lead to overwatering some plants. To maintain pressure and provide even watering, each soaker hose or collection of connected soaker hoses should not run more than 100 feet long.

    Soaker Attachments

    • Whether you are growing vegetables or perennials, for a soaker hose to work properly you may need to install a couple other attachments . Many states mandate that a backflow preventer be installed on a soaker hose system. This prevents debris in the hose from flowing back into the faucet. Install this by screwing it onto the spigot and then attaching the hose. If you want to automate your system, time how long it takes the water to soak into the root zone of the soil; then install a timer onto the backflow preventer and set it for the amount of time it took the water to reach the root zone. Attach the hose to the timer.