An irrigation system is great, but many of us do most of our watering with bulky garden hoses. This guide contains garden hose tips and tricks.
When it comes to watering garden plants, fancy irrigation systems are nice, but most of us still rely on Mother Nature, and a good old-fashioned garden hose to deliver the goods. Although it is one of the most easy-to-use tools in the shed, working with it can feel a bit like wrestling a wild beast, especially when taking it out and putting it away.
Even a short length of garden hose can be heavy to lift and awkward to carry. Depending on the size of your yard, dragging it to where you need it can put a lot of unnecessary strain on your back. Let your equipment take the weight off your back. Use wheeled carts and reels to make moving hoses around the garden easier.
Protect Tender Plants
Once uncoiled, use hose guides to keep hoses from and running over and crushing tender plants. Decorative guides can be purchased online or at garden centers, or you can save yourself some money by re-purposing found objects to make your own. Here are just a few ideas:
You'll get a longer life from your hose if you store it off the ground, and let the water drain out of it freely. One easy and inexpensive way to do this is to wind it around an old wheel rim attached to a fence post with the nozzle facing down.
Home improvement stores and garden centers offer a wide range of decorative metal hangers, which come ready to attach to your shed, garage, or house. Freestanding hose hangers are yet another option, albeit a pricey one. They take up more space, and unless anchored securely into the ground, they have a tendency to become wobbly over time.
Coiling your hose by hand can be an arduous task, and it's worth investing in equipment that makes the job as easy as possible - if only to spare you the frustration. Powered reels are nice because they wind your hose automatically. At the very least, a reel with a simple manual crank handle will enable you to wind your hose into a tidy coil.
An alternative to putting your hose away after each use, is to hide it away in freestanding container close to where you need it (e.g. a plastic garbage can cut in half, a large decorative terra cotta pot, or a half barrel).
Bubblers: Attached to the nozzle end of your hose, these devices turn a harsh stream of water into a gentle trickle. They are great for watering fragile seedlings and areas prone to erosion.
Quick-release Couplers: Screw them into faucets, hose ends, and attachments to connect your irrigation devices together quickly and easily.
Select Spray Nozzles: These nozzles are equipped with a dial that lets you choose between multiple types of spray settings. Depending on your watering needs, choose settings like mist, shower, stream, flat, jet, or even flood.
Water Wands: If you have to water hanging baskets or plants in the middle or near the back of a flower bed, attach a water wand to the nozzle end of your hose. Usually made from hard plastic or lightweight aluminum, they instantly extend your reach and allow you to direct water to hard to reach places.
Even though I'm an avid gardener, visible hoses have always been an irritation to me! Gotta have them though! I hate those reels, but I hate them lying on the ground even more. You can buy 'fancy' containers in which to store your hoses, but I haven't been able to talk myself into spending the $ for them!
I've tried everything imaginable, until I had an 'aha' moment last week. I purchased an 18-gallon, green, storage container from WalMart for $6.00. Then I had hubby drill a hole in the center and toward the bottom of the container.
I snaked the female end of the hose through the hole and behind some plants and connected it to the faucet. Then I curled the hose inside the container and closed the lid.
To ensure the wind didn't blow the lid off, I put a couple of small plants on top, then to disguise the container, I put a larger, more mature potted plant in front of it.
Watering is easier now that I don't have to worry about dragging the hose over plants nor do I worry about disturbing the mulch. Just lift out the hose, turn on the faucet, and I'm ready to water.
Works great for me and I don't have to 'hide' hoses when I'm photographing or just want to relax in the gardens. I tried only one initially, but now that I see how well it works, I'll be going back for more containers to place in other gardens.
By Norma from Parrott, GA
By Lonnie from Chatsworth, CA
Caution: Small children can drown in open buckets. This system should not be used in homes with toddlers without safeguards.
Do you have a drip hose that sprays rather than drips? Rather than get rid of the hose, you can re-direct the water back down into the ground where it belongs. Simply take an empty soda or water bottle (clear plastic) and carefully cut off the neck and the bottom. Slit it down one side so it looks like a "C", and push the two cut sides down into the soil over the hole in your drip hose. You can use mulch to hide it and help hold it down. The water will spray into the plastic, then run back down it into the ground. If you have multiple drip hoses joined together that tend to spray at the connection, this is a good solution there as well.
The plastic can become brittle over the summer, so just throw it out at the end of the year when you put your hose away, and start over the next year.
Do you live in a hard water area and use soaker hoses to irrigate your garden area? Do the pores plug up with mineral deposits after a few months and then not ooze water where you want it? Try punching holes in the hoses with the finest needle you can find in the exact places you want it to water a plant. The finest needles are hypodermic needles but these are hard to come by.
If you have a diabetic friend who takes insulin maybe you could get a needle from him or her or maybe someone who works in a hospital could get a short 22 guage needle for you. Your vet would be another source.
Sterilize a used needle first by soaking in 1 tsp. bleach in 1 cup water for 1 hour and rinse thoroughly. BE CAREFUL! It's easy to puncture a finger with these and keep them away from children.
I am looking for ideas on how to make a garden hose holder/winder? I don't mind if it sits on the ground or is mounted to the house. I just need someone's creativity to help me come up with a way not to spend $50 on a contraption that holds a garden hose.
By editornj from NJ
My husband made a very simple garden hose holder for our 3-bedroom home. When we were done with the hose we had to wind it by hand.
He dug a small hole and sunk a long pipe into the ground next to the water faucet. Next he screwed on an elbow at the end of the pipe, then he screwed on a shorter pipe. So by the time he was done it looked like an upside down letter L. The longer pipe was in the ground and the shorter pipe is where he wrapped the garden hose.
We didn't waste our money on those cheaply made plastic garden hose storage units. I've seen more of those in the trash along side of the road after a few years. (05/04/2009)
Mine always used an old tire rim, and would mount one on a heavy post set into the ground near the faucet---then you just wrap the hose around the rim manually,. (05/05/2009)
I've seen people use inexpensive large size, low height flower pots to wind their hoses inside of and it looks pretty cool ;-) (05/09/2009)
I am adding to the pot idea. This is what I am going to do. I have a fancy hose reel and it is a pain to stand there and crank and crank. SO I am getting a big flat pot, I have found them for around 20.00 and then in the middle I am going to find a shallow bucket to coil the hose around and when it rains I can pull the bucket out and use the rain water I have collected. Just a thought. (05/09/2009)
By cheap momma
Plastic hose winders end up in garage sales and thrift shops, if you'd rather have one of those. Mine is shaped like a box with a winder inside, and as I pull the whole hose out the box dumps over, so I'm not in love with it. (05/09/2009)
I've made several using scrap pressure treated lumber. I used a scrap 4x4 cut to the height I wanted it to stand once it was set in a hole in the ground, say maybe 5' long total. Then I took scrap 2x4's and cut two to the same length about 18", drilled 2 holes in each on one end and mounted them, one on either side of the the 4x4 about 6" from the top to use as 'arms' to hold the hose. These last for years and my cat loves to sit on the top of the post as her look out :) I've used the same concept on my privacy fence where I needed a hose holder by using the 4x4 fence post and mounting the 2 'arms' about 8" from the top of the post. (05/11/2009)