A garden hose is essential to keep your plants well watered. How many of us struggle though with the hyper-active snake that is a typical garden hose?
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Do you have a garden hose that just refuses to relax, is constantly tense (hmm, sounds like some people I know!) and doesn’t cooperate when you are putting it away after it’s served its watering duties? No matter what you do it continues to flail about in unruly coils, gets kinked, stops the flow of water and leaks in various places.
This is not what I envision when I think of having a tranquil and peaceful garden. Just too much stress and it wastes a lot of time that you could better spend sitting on your deck or patio enjoying the summer.
Wouldn’t it make your gardening easier if your garden hose would just behave!
The tip here is to purchase the right garden hose and banish that old hose to soaker hose duty or other uses. And use the right hose hanger, hose end nozzle and maintain the hose so it gives you many years of use.
But why do you even need a hose? I have an in-ground sprinkler system that has a timer. However I use my garden hoses for the following tasks:
- watering my containers – while I prefer to use water from my rain barrels I usually run out of water in mid summer as we get very little rain in July and August. And watering by hand with a watering can takes a long time so the hose is quicker.
- rinsing off garden tools and my wheelbarrow – while I have a sink in my greenhouse, some garden tools are too bulky and easier to clean outside with the hose.
- pressure washer – it needs a good steady supply of water, so the hose has to deliver a high volume of water.
- washing the car.
- rinsing off wood after cleaning – I need to periodically clean off accumulated dirt and mildew off my wood deck railings and greenhouse with oxygenated bleach and need to use the hose to rinse off the bleach solution.
- filling the water barrels – I do manually fill up some water barrels that I use for drip irrigating plants such as my raspberries in the hottest months of the summer we don’t get any rain.
- sprinkler – while I have an in-ground sprinkler system, occasionally I might need to water.
- something separately without having everything else in that sprinkler zone turned on. So being able to setup a manual sprinkler is handy.
A quality garden hose
The hose that I recommend and has served me well for the last year or so I have owned it, is the Flexilla hose.
It is made of a strong polymer blend, is very flexible (hence the name Flexilla), is relatively lightweight and is quite visible. Very easy to coil up and doesn’t fight you, which is the main goal of this post, to make watering easier.
There are three convenient lengths depending on what you need to reach all corners of your garden. I have two of the 50′ hoses and my mother has a 100′.
I regret I didn’t buy a 75′ hose for the backyard as the 50′ hose barely reaches to my compost. With a longer hose you can weave it around your flower beds instead of through them. So measure carefully and buy the right size to begin with.
A decent hose hanger
We are used to the stamped steel hangers of old because they were cheap and available everywhere. There are a few issues with these:
- sharp edges that can cut into your hose
- not large enough to hold a decent size hose
- loops not easy to remove
When I bought my first Flexilla hose I also bought a Gecko Toes hose holder.
The nice thing about this holder is that it doesn’t have any sharp edges to damage your hose, it allows your hose to literally pull off when you need more length and it is a very simple sturdy design that is easy to install with some screws.
If mounted high enough it can hold a 100′ hose with ease and without having the loops fall off.
Next time I go to Lee Valley I’ll buy another one for my front hose. The extension cord holder available from the same manufacturer is also tempting.
Hose-end attachments that give you flexibility
Having the right, quality attachments on your hose is the final purchase you need to make to complete your garden hose setup.
I prefer having attachments that can stop the flow of water without having to run back to the faucet and most of the ones you can now buy have this feature.
You also need a few different spray patterns. But maybe don’t go for the ones that have 10 patterns as you likely won’t even use half of them. The ones I would say are mandatory are:
- spray or shower – this is good for general watering
- jet or stream – for general cleaning of garden tools and other things
- mist or soak – for misting newly planted seeds and increasing humidity in the greenhouse on hot days by misting your plants
This set is close to what I have and is a good compromise of quality, utility and price. If you don’t need a whole set you can also purchase individually.
Maintain that hose!
Now that you have a proper hose and a place to hang it, you will want to maintain the hose so it gives you many years of service.
- don’t run over it with the lawnmower and keep sharp objects like pruners, hedge shears, plant stakes, etc away from it – otherwise, you just end up with a really expensive soaker hose!
- always ensure that you turn off the water supply and empty the hose of water before putting it away – water remaining that freezes or heats up can damage the hose, especially if you have a shutoff hose attachment on it
- coil it up neatly – the hanger I recommend helps, but you still have to make an effort to allow it to naturally coil up when you hang it up
- keep the hose end covered, especially when pulling it back to the hanger; leave the hose-end sprayer on – rather damage that and replace it than the end of the hose that you will then have to cut off and replace, affecting the integrity of the hose
- these hoses are UV protected but it still helps if you can keep it out of the sun
5 things that you can do with your old hose
If you are replacing your existing hose, you now have an old hose to get rid of. You could just toss it but if you want to be frugal and more environmentally conscious, you can re-purpose the hose. Here are some ideas:
- soaker hose – just stab it with something sharp all the way along the length
- protection – use it around straps or rope when staking up a tree or supporting other plants to prevent chafing
- rain barrel hose – cut a short length off the end that connects to the tap and use it on your water barrel to fill watering cans
- blade protection – slit a short length and put over sharp pruning saw blades to protect the blade and you
- door stop – place under a door to keep it from swinging shut
Hope you can use this info to have a more relaxing time watering your plants. The right hose makes all the difference and is a worthwhile investment to keep your sanity!
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Tranquil Garden Urban Homestead, Victoria, BC