Soaker hose or drip line?

May do some type of drip irrigation this year. Rather than an elaborate, semi permanent system, I’m leaning towards soaker hose that I can more easily move around and adapt.

I don’t need constant, timed irrigation. Just something easy to use if we are in a dry spell.

  1. Good source of inexpensive bulk hose and fittings?
  2. How do you REALLY know how much water you are putting down? I don’t really want to let my soil get dry enough to do a full on test to see how deep the water penetrates.

How far are the runs going to be? Drip tape can water a much longer row. It is cheaper on a length basis but you will need a pressure regulator, filter and some other stuff depending on what you want to do.

I’ve only bought a few things from here but they have a calculator. If you want a big roll of drip tape try and find a produce supply place near you.

Longest individual runs maybe about 50’. Most will be shorter.

Is there a difference between a single 50’ run or two 25’ off the same “circuit?”

I’m assuming from the word “hoosier” in your name you’re in Indiana?

I’m in Maryland. Like anything in the eastern half of the US, our climates both probably fall into the same basic category:

On paper, our average rainfall is sufficient, but during any given growing season, we can have a deluge, or a drought, sometimes/often both in the same season!

It’s also really hard to predict what’s going to happen. In any given summer, I can look at the forecast for the week ahead, and see a lightning bolt on four out of the next seven days. In some cases, that next week will bring 3 inches of rain. In other cases, we get 0.03”.

The ends of longer runs deliver less water. But 50’ isn’t that long, I’ve never used soaker hose though.

I live near the border of DE and PA, hoosier banana is just a folk name for pawpaw. The weather is really unpredictable, having irrigation can make a big difference, especially right after you transplant and might have to give them just a little water a few times a week in the summer.

1 Like

We use drip tape and would never go back to soaker hose (used it some in the past). Pretty much get all of our drip tape from Dripworks.

1 Like

The problem with using drip tape, it is my understanding of the way you set it up, you can’t just run a 200 foot garden hose and plug it in.

My garden is 200’ from the nearest hose spigot or water line. Right now, I connect two 100’ hoses when I water.

I would actually have to have a plumber come and trench out a line from the house down to the garden, lay PVC, and actually have a spigot available down there. It would be over $3000.

If its downhill i think soaker hoses would work for you. My question is do soaker hoses break down pretty fast and do they leach any toxic chemicals, they smell worse than china tires.

You can hook it up to a hose, or run 1/2" orchard tubing on top of the ground (or a few inches deep) for that 200’. 1/2" Poly Mainline Drip Tubing (0.6" ID x 0.7" ID) —

Then a pressure regulator Senninger Lawn & Garden Regulators (Hose Thread) — (and filter if you have hard water) connect 1/2" Easy Loc Female Hose Start — another length of orchard tubing that you punch holes in Miracle Punch Tips — and connect 1/4" barbed drip tape valves. Tape x 1/4" Barb with Valve — Close the orchard tubing with one of these 1/2” Easy Loc End Cap for Drip Irrigation Systems —

Pretty simple, and since the tape is so much cheaper you can put out a line for each row and not have to move a soaker hose around and beat up plants in the process. Get a bunch of couplers to make repairs as well.Tape Loc Coupler —

You can get little plastic pieces to close the drip tape ends, but you can also just tie them in a knot at the end or fold it in half and feed the fold into the open end to pinch it off.

Half inch orchard tubing should have no trouble supplying several 50’ runs of 5/8" drip tape. I was running 4 200’ lines at a time on 1/2" tubing last year.

1 Like

Ok. Thanks. I am on a well that runs about 55 psi and 7 gpm. Hardness is around 12 gh.


OK, so I guess the filter is just for particulates, probably a good idea. The water here is soft so I’ve never had an issue, but they recommend drip tape with a high flow rate to reduce clogging with hard water.

1 Like

Ok. High flow rate is good since my soil has high permeability anyway.

Are the pressure regulators self adjusting?

I don’t know if I’m using the right terminology, but here’s what I mean:

If you have a 10 psi regulator, does it produce 10 psi regardless of the PSI of the source?

So if my “native” water pressure is lower than yours, do I get a lower net water pressure out of the end of the 10 psi regulator?

How hard is “hard” water? Our water is naturally acidic and soft, but we have a neutralizer (it uses calcite) which raises the ph, but I believe also increases the hardness. Yet we don’t have a water softener, and we don’t get typical “hard water” issues with our bath and kitchen fixtures.

I did precisely that at my previous place. I rented a trencher and ran a regular line (350 ft to the garden). The trench was done quickly at the lowest depth for the trencher, about 8 inches or so. I had two gardens, one only 50 ft from the house, so there was a branch-out at 50 ft. At both gardens I had drip lines. I did not want soaker hoses because my tomatoes would get wet and die of disease. I still used it the way you describe, water only when needed. Voles heavily tunneled in the trench every year but they did not chew the line. One thing I want to say, drip lines have become much easier to assemble and disassemble from 18 years ago.

For large plants like tomatoes, is a “ring” of line around the plant better than a row of drip line or tape?

How do you determine how much to water?

The 10 psi one I linked to says it can handle 90 psi at the inlet. You will gain some pressure in the hose going down hill too, roughly 1 psi per foot elevation. It will produce 10 psi as long as the pressure is above 10 and below 90 as far as I know.

How hard is it to create “zones” with shutoff valves?

Two reasons:

  1. Different plants = different water needs
  2. My well yield is insufficient to water the entire thing at once. I’d have to break it into at least three zones, preferably four if I include the orchard.

Each line of drip tape will have its own valve, so it is just a matter of opening or closing them. You should walk through when you turn them on regularly to check for leaks and make sure the ends are getting enough pressure.