2021 - Volume #BFS, Issue #21, Page #23
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“SIP Beds” Keep Garden Watered
Jason Diehl’s sub-irrigated planting (SIP) beds guarantee that vegetables get all the water they need. No more and no less. The 16-in. deep wood planting beds have hidden “reservoirs” that allow him to go a week or more between watering, even during hot Oklahoma summers.
“I water the surface until plants get established, but once the roots set, they access the water that wicks up through the soil from below,” he says.
Several lengths of 4-in. dia. perforated drain tile run across the bottom of each bed, acting as the reservoirs. An inlet pipe at one end of the bed fills the drain pipes with water. An overflow pipe positioned just above the pipes drains away excess water.
“I attach a hose to the inlet pipe and let it run until water drains out the overflow,” says Diehl. “Even in the summer, I only add water once a week. I use the SIP beds for plants like peppers and spinach that love unlimited water, but not deep-rooted plants like tomatoes.”
He uses 15 to 20 mil, pond liner plastic across the bottom and up the sides of the beds to contain the water. There’s about 12 in. of soil above the drain tiles.
Diehl has used 1/2-in. black plastic pipe for the overflow, but advises using 1-in. “The 1/2-in. doesn’t drain fast enough,” he says.
The SIP beds can be made any size with any type of sides. Diehl built his with 2 by 4’s.
“I’ve done a couple for myself on the ground and one on legs for my mother-in-law,” says Diehl. “They all work great.”
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Jason Diehl, 10201 Banner Rd., Lexington, Okla. 73051 (ph 405 255-1249; www.reddirtoasis.com).

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2021 - Volume #BFS, Issue #21