How to Set Up a Drip Irrigation System: Part 2

How to set up a drip irrigation system for a vegetable garden. 

I love having a big vegetable garden, but I also love going away on vacation in the summer.  When I am away, it is nice to know that I don’t have to worry about my tomatoes, cucumbers, and other vegetables getting enough water.  I have designed a SIS(simple is smart) method to insure that each plant in my garden gets just the right amount of water.

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garden with drip irrigation
Raised beds with 2 drip lines. (Image A)
drip irrigation components
Pepper plant with a dripper next to its roots.

I start with water conservation.  My garden is covered with a weed block fabric that also prevents moisture loss.  I cut a square hole in the weed block fabric for each plant in my garden.   The holes are spaced 18 inches center to center.  The holes may be spaced every 12 inches if you purchased a dripline with drippers spaced every 12 inches.   Position the dripline so the dripper is in the center of the hole.

Watering a plant at it’s base keeps it healthy by delivering water to its roots and not to the leaves.  This method of drip irrigation helps prevent molds, fungus and disease.  The drip line is attached to a timer, which determines when and for how long each plant row is watered. 

The exception is the raised beds.  I run 2 drip-lines over a raised bed.

drip irrigation components
Image 1 - Water Supply Hose with T connector and hose clamps
drip irrigation components
Image 2 - Water supply hose with male hose thread connector.
watering timer
Image 3 - Timer
2 way manifold
Image 4 - 2 way hose splitter.
drip irrigation components
Image 5 - Distribution tubing to faucet adapter
drip irrigation components distribution tubing
Image 6 - 1/2 inch distribution tubing.
drip irrigation components
Image 7 - 1/2 inch dripline tubing.
drip irrigation components
Image 8 - Compression coupler
drip irrigation components
Image 9 - Inside diameter of compression coupler.
drip irrigation components end cap
Image 10 - End cap
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Image 11 - Alternate end cap
landscape fabric staple
Image 12 - garden staples

Rx for How to set up a drip irrigation system for your vegetable garden.


1. Water supply line with T connector and hose clamps. (image 1)

2.  Water supply line with male hose thread connector. (image 2

3.  Timer (image 3

4.  2 way hose splitter (image 4)

5.  Distribution tubing to faucet adapter (image 5

6.   1/2 inch Distribution tubing (image 6

7.   1/2 inch Drip-line tubing with inline dripper that delivers 0.9 gph. (image7)   

8.  Compression coupling (image 8)

9.   End cap (image 10)

10.   End clamp, alternate to end cap (image 11)

11.   Garden staples for securing tubing (image 12 )












garden with drip irrigation
drip irrigation components timer
Step 1
drip irrigation components timer and y manifold
Step 2
drip irrigation components
Step 3
drip irrigation components compression fitting
Step 4
drip irrigation components
Step 5
drip irrigation components
Step 6
drip irrigation components
Step 7
drip irrigation components end cap
Step 7
pressure regulator for drip irrigation
Step 1 backflow preventer valve
backflow valve
Step 1 pressure reducer valve
drip irrigation components
Step 1 if you are on municipal water

 SIS drip irrigation system–vegetable garden.

  1.  Connect the timer to the water supply line.  Note if you are on a municipal water system you will need a backflow preventer valve and pressure regulator valve between the timer and the faucet. (step 1)
  2.  Connect the 2 way hose splitter to the timer. ( step 2)
  3.  Determine how long the distribution tubing needs to be and cut it to the correct length.*  Connect the distribution tubing to the faucet adapter and screw the faucet adapter to one side of the 2 way hose splitter. (step 3)
  4.  Connect the drip-line tubing** to the distribution tubing with a compression coupler. (step 4)
  5.  Place the drip-line over the row of plant holes with the dripper positioned in the center of the hole. (step 5)
  6.  Secure the drip-line in place with plant staples. (step 6)
  7.  Place an end cap on the drip-line tubing at the end of the plant row. (step 7 or 8)
  8.  The process is the same for the drip lines in the rest of the garden.  
  9. For raised beds run the drip lines over the raised beds. Image A,B,C and D.


drip irrigation components
Image B
drip irrigation components
Image C
drip irrigation components
Image D

 *to determine the length of the distribution tubing measure the distance from the timer to the start of the plant row.                         

**to determine the length of the drip-line measure the length of the plant row.  Use one drip-line for each row in the garden.

Set the timers for how often and how long you want to water each set of rows.  Go on vacation, take a day trip, sit in the shade and revel that your garden will be watered just the way you want it. 

A bonus is that I don’t take the lines in for the winter – just the timers.  I open the lines and leave them all in place for the winter. 

When you follow these steps for how to set up a drip irrigation system for your vegetable garden you will never have to come home to wilted or dead plants again.  Your plants will reward you with a bumper crop of produce.   If you want to set up a drip system for patio pots and hanging baskets click here.

vegetable garden

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Impressive. Your plants look like they are thriving with this perfect water system technique.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for this! Needed to set up a watering system for when we are away (and also for our forgetfulness) for both a set of pots and 3 gardens. I used your guide to figure out how to do it! Thank you so much- Liz Fernandez

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