Vegetable beds with no water access?

armisteadgardensJanuary 21, 2008


My rowhouse doesn't have a spigot in the back and dragging a hose or dripping water cans through the house isn't something I want to do.

But I'd like to put a vegetable bed with tomatoes, peppers, basil, strawberries, and zucchini in the backyard.

Is this worth trying or will they just die with no water but rainfall?

I'm thinking about a rain barrel, but I have no way of getting water from the roof (drains are in front of the house).

Any recommendations?


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crabjoe(z7 MD)

Because of not knowing exactly what your situation looks, like I can't really comment. I know where when I lived in a townhome, I never needed to water anything in my backyard because the way all the water use to drain. The back yard was always damp, even during droughts. Also, if you have a basement and it's not finished, it might be pretty easy to put a spigot in the back of your home...

Without knowing, other then what you typed, your exact situation, I'd still give it a shot. Seeds are cheap and I know home grown veggies and fruits always taste better then store bought.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2008 at 8:56AM
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Why not call a plumber and have a faucet placed in the back? You'll do it at some point - probably after a droughty summer of lugging water- so do it now and spare yourself the lesson :)

    Bookmark   January 21, 2008 at 9:16AM
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The house is concrete block on a slab, so plumbing the back would be expensive, and the house isn't worth that type of investment -- plus, I'm halfway through renovating the entire interior, so I have to watch expenditures.

I've been over in the square foot gardening forum, and that looks like it might work. Plus, as Crabjoe pointed out, seeds are cheap. I'll give it a try.


    Bookmark   January 21, 2008 at 11:56AM
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crabjoe(z7 MD)

Like I said before, I don't know your exact situation, but here's another idea. If you're kitchen is located in the back of your home and you have an entry way (door, slider, whatever) you can connect a hose to your kitchen faucet, when needed. I'd use a short hose (You can make a hose any length you want, they sell ends at your local garden/home centers) to reach from the faucet to just outside the entry way. Then have a hose that goes from there to your garden. Use a quick connect and it'll be super easy.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2008 at 12:34PM
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Dave in NoVA • 7a • Northern VA

Go for it! Make the bed small to begin with...and mulch, mulch, mulch. Make sure it's far away from thirsty tree roots. You'll have some good years and some bad years depending on rainfall (last year would have been a bad one!). If the soil is good, rich, and deep, the plants will send roots far down to get moisture.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2008 at 8:44AM
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avoirgold(z7 MD)

If you have a downspout in the back, you can use a rain barrel or two to accumulate water to use for watering your veggies. See the link below for instructions on how to make your own. You can also buy them from a number of places online.


    Bookmark   January 24, 2008 at 9:28AM
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It might cost a lot less than you think. It would take a handy person with the right tools less than an hour to run a faucet through the wall for you (provided that there is easy access to any other cold water line on that side of the house). If you have copper pipes it will be a tad more difficult, but just a tad. It would be worth it even if just for one summer. Water is HEAVY.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2008 at 10:37PM
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Are you saying there are no gutters or downspouts on the back of your house? If that's true, could you add them to the back of your house so you could have a rainbarrel in the back?

    Bookmark   January 26, 2008 at 2:09AM
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That's right, there's no gutter in the back (it's in the front), the walls are concrete block so it's not possible to run pipes through them and the house is on a slab so I can't go under the floors. The house is part of a co-op, so I don't want to mess with the roof since anything I change, I am then responsible for fixing, and the roof is shared by five houses.

These rowhouses were originally built as temporary housing for steel workers in WWII, so they're basically bunkers. The plumbing is all in the front of the house (which is tiny) because the sewer mains are under the street and it was cheaper to build the kitchens and baths closest to the main.

I like the idea of a rain barrel. There's a shed out back and maybe I could find a way to collect water off its roof.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2008 at 9:50PM
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