Monday, June 27, 2011

Gravity Drip Bucket Irrigation System

Big Picture Agriculture Blogspot, who sourced from double in Kenya

With growing water challenges and a changing climate, one simple technology that is gaining a foothold for subsistence farmers in Africa, India, and at least 150 other nations, is that of drip irrigation. According to Ezemvelo Eco Campus Blog, "Studies in Kenya have shown that two of these kits can provide the water needed to produce enough vegetables to feed a family of seven during the dry season."

The following instructions for setting up a bucket garden in Africa, are from chapin living waters.

Location of Bucket
  • Make a stand with two posts and crossbar.
  • The bottom of the bucket must be at least 1m (3.3 feet) above the ground. Place crossbar higher if bucket is suspended.
  • Set up bucket at one end of the garden; if not level, place bucket at the high end.
source: bucket detail from chaplin living waters

Preparing Garden
Make raised beds of soil 1m (3.3 ft) wide, 15cm (6 in) high, and 15m (50 ft) long for 2 rows; 7.5m (25 ft) long for 4 rows; or 5m (16.5 ft) long for 6 rows. If the garden extends into the rainy season, raised beds allow for water runoff.

  • Dig a 30cm-deep (12 in) trench down the middle of the area where the bed will be.
  • Place organic matter (banana leaves, grass, maize stalks) in trench.
  • Cover organic matter with manure (80 liters (20 gal) per 15m (50 ft) row).
  • Pour several buckets of water (80 liters per 15m row) over manure.
  • Fill trench with soil and level off, making bed 15cm (6 in) high, straight, and flat.
  • Break up large clods of soil so that drip tape lies flat.
  • Proceed with setting up bucket drip system which should last 5-7 years, if taken care of.

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I've put together some photos to illustrate how bucket drip irrigation works.

source Kenya: green empire farms

source Kenya: green empire farms

Also, see Drip Bucket Irrigation for additional simple, inexpensive and innovative ideas for setting up a gravity drip irrigation system.


  1. Great system! This is very ideal to use. For sure this will provide good and healthy crops.


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