The Q&A Archives: How deep to place a soaker hose

Question: I'm changing my vegetable garden watering strategy and want to set up a soaker hose watering system. A neighbor does the same by covering his with an inch of mulch and watering every other day for 2 hrs. and usually ends up with a nice crop. I want to make a raised bed, however, so what is the recommended method and depth for my new soaker hose plan? I also want to put a soaker hose system in my front flower garden where I have many perenials and a smattering of annuals throughout. What's the best soaker method for that arrangement?

Answer: Your neighbor is on the right track; soaker hoses are typically placed on the soil surface and covered with an inch or two of organic matter - more to hide the hose than anything else. You don't want to bury the soaker hose in the soil - soil particles will clog the holes. Try setting the hose on the soil surface and placing just an inch or two of mulch over it. Then run the hose for an hour and then carefully dig a hole, to see how deep the water has gone. This will give you some idea of how deeply the water penetrates, depending upon how long you leave the water on. Ideally, you'll want the entire root zone moistened each time you water so aim for 8-12" of penetration, depending upon the plants you're growing. Eight inches should be fine for annuals and most veggies.

Best wishes with your garden!

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