One of Farmer D’s “to do projects” has finally been implemented here on the urban homestead.  A couple years ago he drew out plans to irrigate the raised beds by watering below ground.

There’s always ways to improve things here on the urban homestead and we’ve learned it’s all in the little steps that sometimes get overlooked especially when one gets so busy with other things.

With Pasadena now under a Stage One Water Shortage we finally had some spare time this summer to get back on the water conservation track and to “water projects” we had talked about or even started years ago.  Life has a funny way of derailing your path sometimes.

Anyhow, back to the new  project!

Over the next few months they hope to covert all 50 of the raised beds and see how well this experiment with bottom watering works.  Using ollas and now with the newly installed subsurface irrigation method we hope to see our water use drastically reduced.

Going up and under.  Farmer D and J add a new level to the raised beds complete with a subsurface irrigation system.

Adding more dirt (that we keep in barrels that come from the compost pile and animal enclosure)

Installing the bottom irrigation tubing system

Someone’s been working hard!   Note the “farmer bandage” aka duct tape!  That’s some man hands for ya.


  1. Darren (Green Change) says:

    Do you have details on what they’re actually doing to those beds? Inquiring minds want to know!

  2. Joey says:

    Can you discuss the specs on your subsoil irrigation in a little more detail please? Thank you for your site and everything you do, you provide a wonderful contribution to our society.

  3. Janice says:

    yes, we’d love to know!!! and where are you getting the extra soil from?

  4. Charles La Motta says:

    Same here. Going to be adding additional raised beds for next spring. Would love to know how subsoil irrigation is done.

    Thanks for the interesting day-to-day look at your homestead, by the way!

  5. Robbyn says:

    I’d love to see a diagram cutaway of how you’re setting these up and the components used so we can try to adapt some of it to our own drought-affected area. As always, we love you guys and what you’re doing! 🙂


  6. Julie says:

    I understand the concept, and saw the black irrigation tube. But I’m at a lost as to how/where the water will get underground and from where. I use the ollas so am familar with that. Are you planning on hooking up rain barrels? If so, do you have enough rain to support the system? Or will you be using graywater? Thanks for all the great info you provide!

  7. DuaneD says:

    Is that a “wicking worm bed” your making? I’m doing a smaller version for practice. Keep us posted.


  8. Stacy says:

    Glad I’m not the only one wanting more details!!!

  9. John Taylor says:

    Yes, could we please have more details on the subsoil irrigation.


  10. Dr. John Dwyer says:

    Did you ever post a response to all these questions from 2009? I’d really like to do something effective for our 25 raised beds during our dry season. My monthly water bill is over $200. That’s not counting the distilled water we drink and the well water our electric pump spreads around.

    Do you know anyone in South Florida who’s a source for Pumpkins?

    • deb parker says:

      No saving rainwater -city water is used – 175,000 gallons per their own website statement.
      I guess nothing special with the dirt either, since no one responded.
      Too bad

  11. Chris says:

    Hi There all-

    Just read through this post with some enthusiasm hoping to learn more about what they did myself. As others posted above I was hoping to glean some more details so maybe I could do something similar.

    I did a basic search on google for wicking worm beds and wicking planter beds or something like that and I found a youtube video and an page that detailed how others have done this. I do not know if it is the same process used here but sounded pretty interesting. Those looking for more details might try a google search if they haven’t found what they are looking for yet.

  12. star says:

    Another way to conserve water is when it is raining and water is running off your roof stick your head out and wash your hair with pure rain water !

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