How to Build a Self-Watering Vegetable Garden | Ask This Old House

How to Build a Self-Watering Vegetable Garden | Ask This Old House

Ask This Old House landscape contractor Jenn Nawada travels to Raleigh, North Carolina to help a couple build and plant a self-watering vegetable garden

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Time: 2-3 hours

Cost: $350

Skill Level: Moderate

Drill driver []
Level []
Rake []
Garden hose []

Shopping List:
2×8” cedar boards []
Corner bracket watering system []
Soaker hose []
Screws []
Landscape fabric []
Organic raised garden bed soil []
Landscape staples []
Irrigation timer []
Fruit and vegetable seedlings []

Steps for building a self-watering garden:
1. Start by cutting the cedar boards to the desired dimension. Jenn recommends starting off with a smaller garden until you can get comfortable caring for that amount of plants.
2. Insert the boards into the corner brackets. Secure them with outdoor rated screws.
3. Put the frame of the bed in place and check it for level. Fill in any low spots with soil until the bed is level.
4. Put a layer of landscape fabric along the bottom of the inside of the garden bed to keep out weeds.
5. Pour the soil into the garden bed on top of the landscape fabric. Even it out with a rake.
6. Stage all the fruits and vegetables being planted. Jenn likes to keep taller plants, like tomatoes, in the back, and shorter plants in the front so everything can be easily reached and tended to.
7. Plant everything in the garden bed. Dig small holes by hand that are as deep and twice as wide as the root ball of the plant. Tease the roots as necessary and back fill the holes once the plants are in place.
8. Connect the soaker hose to the spigot on the corner bracket.
9. Weave the soaker hose in between all the rows of plants. Jenn recommends using landscape staples to hold the hose in place. Be sure to cap off the other end of the soaker hose.
10. Connect the irrigation timer to the hose spigot. Then, connect a regular garden hose to irrigation timer on one end, and the bottom end of the corner bracket on the raised garden bed on the other end.
11. Program the timer to soak the garden bed twice a day: early in the morning, and then in the evening, both for roughly 15 minutes.

Jenn built a heftier raised garden bed using cedar 2x lumber [], which she got from Western Red Cedar Lumber Association ( The corner brackets that held the lumber together and contained the hose connection are the Aquacorner Raised Bed Soaker System [], which is available through online retailers. The timer Jenn connected to the spigot was a 1-port single dial irrigation timer [], which can be found at home centers.

Because the homeowners wanted to grow vegetables in the garden, Jenn selected an organic raised bed/potting soil mix. She also selected strawberries, tomatoes, basil, oregano, thyme, Thai basil, and lettuce for the vegetable garden. These can all be found at home centers and nurseries.

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Homeowners have a virtual truckload of questions for us on smaller projects, and we’re ready to answer. Ask This Old House solves the steady stream of home improvement problems faced by our viewers—and we make house calls! Ask This Old House features some familiar faces from This Old House, including Kevin O’Connor, general contractor Tom Silva, plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey, and landscape contractor Jenn Nawada.

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How to Build a Self-Watering Vegetable Garden | Ask This Old House


  1. Tim B on June 4, 2022 at 8:26 pm

    4:16 that’s what she said

  2. Djamel Hamdia on June 4, 2022 at 8:33 pm

    Wow!Tiger Woods is into gardening now!?

  3. John Salazar on June 4, 2022 at 8:33 pm

    Not what I expected. From the title I thought it was going to be one of those systems that held water under the plants in tubes or similar.

  4. SS on June 4, 2022 at 8:35 pm

    Dude is absolutely worthless. The chick he’s with isn’t either but least she can be "slow" & somehow make it in life. I would have enjoyed this better without the fake planting couple "actors".

  5. Myron Ward on June 4, 2022 at 8:38 pm

    Where my hood people at? @2:55 tomato sandwiches

  6. John from Jersey on June 4, 2022 at 8:38 pm

    Drip is so much better than a soaker hose.

  7. Mustang7120 on June 4, 2022 at 8:38 pm

    I’ve never trusted an outdoor spigot and hose enough to leave running while on vacation.

  8. Codi Anderson on June 4, 2022 at 8:39 pm

    Can you please identify the hardware supplier for the corner braces and the corner plumbing? Thanks

  9. jej3451 on June 4, 2022 at 8:39 pm

    4:16 "It’s harder than I expected it to be!"

  10. super fun browser on June 4, 2022 at 8:40 pm

    There’s maybe 4 inches of soil on top of that landscape fabric. That means all your new plants and vegetables aren’t going to go send roots deeper than 4 inches. They’re not going to be healthy.

  11. canmore0001 on June 4, 2022 at 8:41 pm

    could they have buried the soaker hose? i figure that may help with evaporation.

  12. Carl Clark on June 4, 2022 at 8:42 pm

    The drip irrigation system is fine. Weed barrier is terrible, the watering frequency is too high even for my arid climate, and the plant spacing and grouping is going to cause headaches later.

    Seeds and seedlings get daily watering. Everything else only even sees every other day at the height of the summer heat. Right now I’m only watering every third day in my raised beds.

  13. Jovan Singh on June 4, 2022 at 8:42 pm

    5:25 she’s breaking her back for a camera shot lol

  14. * Pavana * on June 4, 2022 at 8:44 pm

    Organic soil goes great with fabric made of petroleum chemicals and soaker hose from recycled tires which are full of toxins and lead. Use drinking water grade hose and organic mulch instead.

  15. SuperStruct on June 4, 2022 at 8:44 pm

    It’s all about a solenoid valve-controlled gravity irrigation system. A giant rain barrel that has a solenoid valve that goes from spigot to polyhose. The stuff can pump water to any garden bed below the height of the water in the barrel! 50 gallon tank is like $100 on amazon, arduino, soil moisture sensor, some drip tube, good to go!

  16. Steve Bueche on June 4, 2022 at 8:46 pm

    I always bury my soaker because the sun deteriorates then in no time.

  17. Svela Nikolova on June 4, 2022 at 8:46 pm

    Put leaf mulch down and save water. The mulch prevents water evaporation and welcomes worms

  18. Josey Wilds on June 4, 2022 at 8:46 pm

    Either don’t go on vacation or don’t grow a garden pretty easy, entitled poss

  19. Tom Arnold on June 4, 2022 at 8:49 pm

    Does any one notice the “this old house” you tube comments are the most brutal? Like they show a new product and it brings everyone out of the wood work bashing on it. Remember you don’t have to buy it. But it’s information and new techniques and technology that keep this show running. 40yrs

  20. thousand points of light on June 4, 2022 at 8:52 pm


  21. Parallel Burrito on June 4, 2022 at 8:53 pm

    There needs to be some type of float device on that timer to prevent it from operating if they get a lot of rain. It would be unfortunate to use technology to drown your plants.

  22. crazymuthaphukr on June 4, 2022 at 8:53 pm

    Bring Rodger back.

  23. cmonster6 on June 4, 2022 at 8:55 pm

    You could buy a pickup truck load of veggies 🍅 for what that setup costs

  24. august on June 4, 2022 at 8:58 pm

    Call a neighbor, relative or even a local lawn care guy. Not that hard to figure out, SMH.

  25. mary D'souza on June 4, 2022 at 8:59 pm

    From where do we get assesories

  26. ArtiCat on June 4, 2022 at 9:00 pm

    Thumbs down because there was no thicc Jersey accent😂

  27. acorn sucks on June 4, 2022 at 9:00 pm

    Tiger Woods.

  28. Nathan Kane on June 4, 2022 at 9:01 pm

    i like how "pilot holes" were drilled and he still skipped the drill. Yikes.

  29. SIE44TAR on June 4, 2022 at 9:01 pm

    Please, just say no to landscape fabric.

  30. buddy77587 on June 4, 2022 at 9:02 pm

    I love it. But raise those beds. Easier on the back

  31. Patrick on June 4, 2022 at 9:02 pm

    Isn’t Jen the best?

  32. Reza Marandian on June 4, 2022 at 9:03 pm

    What happened to her British accent?? Anyone else noticed?

  33. Joy Glass on June 4, 2022 at 9:04 pm

    How do I use the land where an old drain field is located. I want to have a vegetable garden in this space. Ideas? Thank you. Joy

  34. Lukas n Colin on June 4, 2022 at 9:04 pm

    You are going to need to thin out those strawberries every one or two years. I started out with six strawberries and within 1 or 2 years those six plants turn into about 26 feet of densely packed 1 inch between each part of the strawberries and you need to cut those runners they will grow QUICK!!!!!

  35. Sedrick Supreme on June 4, 2022 at 9:05 pm

    Tiger Woods don’t know how to make a vegetable garden?

  36. Dcw7777 on June 4, 2022 at 9:06 pm

    Planting that many plants in 1 box is crazy the tomatoes themselves will take over 1/2 of the box when fully grown.

  37. BurgerMan on June 4, 2022 at 9:07 pm

    for the first time on this channel, this is the first video to totally disapoint me , its definitly not proffessional work , or just bad work but whatever…. id never build one like that. i cringed too much

  38. R3AP79 on June 4, 2022 at 9:07 pm

    Where can you buy those corner brackets especially with the spigot?

  39. SuperZap12345 on June 4, 2022 at 9:09 pm

    That guy has never used a drill before.

  40. Charles Coker on June 4, 2022 at 9:10 pm

    Need to figure out what time of day to water. When the garden is not to dry at the next time you need to water again. May have to experiment. Start the timer at 8 am. If the soil is to dry by 8 am the next day . Try 9am. You will find the time it will still be moist 24 hours later. That way You can save water.

  41. Raw Bacon on June 4, 2022 at 9:11 pm

    Threading it thru a few tomato cages was harder than she expected? Geez, stay clear of that Whiner.

  42. Matthew Gauer on June 4, 2022 at 9:12 pm

    @5:18 …doesnt know how to connect a garden hose??

  43. Nate Zuniga on June 4, 2022 at 9:12 pm

    Shawty THICC af

  44. Rob L. on June 4, 2022 at 9:13 pm

    Can this be added into an existing smart sprinkler system as another zone?

  45. Bob the Slacker on June 4, 2022 at 9:14 pm

    I’d opt for a permanent trellis wicking bed instead. Those timers never last two summers. 4 inches of water in the wicking bed will last about two weeks.

  46. justin woods on June 4, 2022 at 9:14 pm

    Wheres your masks and your not 6 feet apart

  47. seth osborne on June 4, 2022 at 9:15 pm


  48. Doug on June 4, 2022 at 9:18 pm

    Buy a soaker hose and a timer. There saved you 6 1/2 minutes

  49. stickshaker101 on June 4, 2022 at 9:20 pm

    I’d leave the fabric out so the worms can get in, the weeds seem to come from above anyway.

  50. RA A on June 4, 2022 at 9:21 pm

    What a bunch of BS those plants aren’t watering themselves at all.

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