Self-Hydrating Garden Beds
make gardening a breeze.
(1) Plant seeds; (2) Harvest food. They conserve great amounts of water, and require zero maintenance.
This system can be built from scratch at home, purchased from us as a kit (with or without rainbarrels) for
or we can travel to your home and install it for you.
The square foot capacity of the Self-Hydrating Garden Bed system
Beds must be purchased in two's: 2 beds = 12sq ft; 4 beds = 24sq ft; 6 beds = 36sq ft; 8 beds = 48sq ft; etc.
For this product, installation can be tricky.
We will happily install them for you (fee depends on the amount of bed-space and if the system will be buried in the ground).
Or you can attempt it yourself following our self-installation instructions
The kit requires materials, which are NOT included in the non-installed kit price. You may purchase or source sand/gravel/soil yourself, or we can
provide it for an additional cost.
SELF-HYDRATING GARDEN BED • PRICING
New pricing for these Kits should become available in the next few days. Production is currently backordered.
Please inquire at firstname.lastname@example.org
if you wish to place an order. —Thank you
Self-Hydrating Garden Bed Kit Questions
How many barrel-beds can I put on a hydration system?
Because the system is linked to an independent cistern + float valve
(how does that work?) which regulates
the water level, you can add as many garden beds to the system as space will allow. As long as each is on the same atmospheric level—meaning they are all on
equal ground levels with each other—the water will equalize between them (water seeks its own level).
Each bed provides 6 square feet of grow space.
I don't really want to see these barrel-beds in my yard; is there any way I can bury them?
Yes. The self-hydrating system can be buried in the ground and become essentially invisible. However, this requires some additional
installation work, especially (talking to Portlander's here) if they are not in a
or greenhouse (i.e. any covered space). If they are open to rain then an additional overflow/drainage system (e.g. a French drain, etc.) must be installed so they do not fill with rainwater
during the wet season. Note that if the beds are buried, the cistern regulating the water level must also be sunk to the exact same level.
Feel free to contact us anytime for more information about installing the hydrating bed system.
What kind of plants can grow in this system?
At its deepest point, the beds have a little over one foot of vertical space for roots (in covered spaces, this area can be increased by crafting a
raised bed above the walls of the barrel). This is a limitation of the system as it does not have enough vertical space for some types of edible plants, such as beets and potatoes.
It is entirely possible to modify this system to create deeper grow beds. Just be aware of how deep your favorite veggies must root before planting. Also note that the bottom few inches
of the beds will ALWAYS be filled with water. This will most likely be fine for most plants (think
HYDRATING BEDS SELF-INSTALLATION: Preparing your leveled space
1. Check the levels of all your barrel-beds so that they are on exactly the same atmospheric level. If your beds will be buried,
level the entire dug hole. → 2. This step is critical. If you don't get this right you'll be quite sorry when you realize you must now somehow move filled beds weighing hundreds of pounds!
one way to correctly level ground is to use a tube "Water Level"
HYDRATING BEDS SELF-INSTALLATION: Installing filters & infilling with sand & gravel / Installing soil wicks
1. Ideally, for two beds (12 sq ft) you will need 1 (50lb) bag of gravel and around 4 (50lb) bags of sand. The kit will provide
you with a "filter" to cover the intake hole. Dump half the gravel bag near the water intake at the front of the bed. Hold the filter over the bung hole opening and spread the gravel
around so the filter will stay securely in place. → 2. Take your sand and infill the rest of the barrel (holding the gravel in place). Level out the sand.
→ 3. Take the plastic pots provided, dig out holes with your hand, and arrange them to evenly distribute the water over the entirety of the bed(s). They should remain completely empty for now.
Redistribute the displaced sand. It is ok if the pot is too short to touch the bottom of the bed, or if it sticks up slightly above the level of the sand.
HYDRATING BEDS SELF-INSTALLATION: Adjusting water level / Adding soil / Monitoring progress
1. Connect all the hoses (including the cistern) and turn on your rainwater catchment system spigot.
→ 2. Adjust the float valve so that water begins to fill the system. Wait until the water is at the desired level (just below the
surface of the sand). [Please note, water travels very slowly through sand. Do not be fooled by the level of water in the first wicks, it will tend to be higher than the rear wicks at first, but
will level out over time. The method for checking the water level requires some patience.] Be certain that the water level is UNDER the sand, or the soil will get too saturated.
→ 3. After you have acquired the perfect level, pull the float up to stop the flow, adjust it so that at EXACTLY
that level it shuts off. Fine tuning may be done by literally bending the float's metal bar up or down. Wait an hour or so and return to make CERTAIN the water has not risen
unexpectedly and is leaking out the overflow holes in the bed(s). This could potentially empty the entire contents of your rainbarrels.
→ 4. Add your glorious dirt. Fill and pack the wicks first, then fill the beds at least to the level of the barrel walls. You will notice that after you add dirt, the float valve will
start to drip again. This is GOOD, as the soil is absorbing the water and dropping the overall level in the beds and the cistern. This will occur for two days or so... drip drip drip.
Even after you're all set up, you will only ever notice the float valve dripping. This is normal. This system distributes water VERY SLOWLY (only as fast as it is absorbed by the air and
plants in the system). You may have to come back and adjust the system later, but with careful setup, it would work like a charm. We had sprouts appear after only two days! Good luck!
See more FAQ's