ECHOcommunity Conversations

Raised Beds & Bucket Drip System - Gardening

Who uses the above method

I do. I’ve used the Chapan bucket/drip system, both in Kenya and in Michigan. I Kenya there were months in which it was hard to have 10 gallons of water for filling each bucket twice a day. In Michigan that is not a problem. We just experienced a very dry end of June and 2/3s of July and the drip bucket system kept up pretty well with the water needs of the tomato beds.
Tom Post

Raised bed can certainly be nice if you are using good soil. I’ve used the bucket drip systems but it seem most of the water comes out within a short distance of the bucket, and little reaches the end. Thus, the watering is very uneven. That was especially true of the larger drip irrigation systems.

Hi Floyd,

Just out of curiosity, do you know the brand of drip tape you’re using?

We have found at ECHO and from other network members that if the Chapin drip bucket system is designed correctly, you can achieve amazingly high distribution uniformity. A couple of things to consider when setting up a system like this:

  1. Make sure your bucket is elevated at least 1 meter above the drip tape.

  2. At 1 meter of head, you can’t run more than 100ft (30 meters) of drip tape. After that your uniformity will decrease.

  3. Make sure you are using low pressure drip tape. Most drip tape and drip tubing is meant to run on 10 psi or more, low pressure drip tape (like in the Chapin system) can achieve uniform distribution at 1.5 psi.

  4. Make sure you have a filter on the bottom of your bucket or eventually the emitter holes in the drip tape will plug.

I hope this helps!

After meeting Dick Chapin at an ECHO Conference about 40 years ago, I have used raised beds and the Chapin system in multiple projects in North Carolina, the Philippines, Mexico, and Michigan. Properly installed and maintained, this system has never failed to meet/exceed expectations. During the next few months I will be installing the system in projects in Guatemala and Texas. Just follow Chapin’s instructions, which you should be able to find here at the ECHO Community, and it will work for you, too!