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DIY Soaker Hose: Chances are a Simple Watering Solution is Already In Your Shed

If you are anything like me, my garden ideas always seem much more grand than the time (and budget) I have to make it work. And wasn’t it JUST YESTERDAY that your little cherry tomato was only a seedling?!  Where does the time go?!

It doesn’t take long for those plants you put in the ground this spring to grow, both in size, time, and cost for proper care. Gardens need a few essential things in order to thrive, and number one on that list is proper water. The larger your vegetation grows, the more water it uses to help bring up the proper nutrients needed for flower, fruit and vegetable health.  Short of clearing your schedule to water day and night, or spending a small fortune on designer watering kits, you’re going to need a watering solution, especially if you live in the desert like I do and Mother Nature isn’t much help.

Look no further, you probably already have all the materials you need to make a soaker hose that will get water where it’s needed – to the roots of the plants for an effective, timesaving design (and it’s cheap too)!

What You Will Need

Before you make a mad dash to your nearest garden center, take a look through your shed or garage because you just might have all you need.

OR

Either does the job just fine. Obviously with a drill you can speed up the process, but to provide a comparison of each result, both the drill and nail were used in the instruction below, and it’s impossible to tell which is which.

This is Optional:

This is the perfect opportunity to to put to use that old leaky hose you’ve kept lying around and cursing every time it sends up a jet of spray into your face. If you actually have trashed your old hoses, just go by your local discount store to buy the cheapest one of length you need.

How To Make A Soaker Hose – Ready, Set, Go!

Step 1: Create Your Holes

Lay out your hose and drill/hammer holes through both sides of the hose approximately every 2.5-3 inches apart starting about 18” from the female end of the hose. As the hose fills with water, it will seep out the holes and soak into the soil causing less evaporation and getting water directly to the roots where it is needed.

Step 2: Don’t Lose Pressure

Fold over the end and crimp it off by wrapping it in electrical tape. You may want to lay your hose out first to determine exactly how much length you are using. In my case I found my hose to be too long in length and cut off about 10 feet before crimping it closed.

Step 3: Determine Hose Management

Lay out your hose, leaving enough of the female end lose to connect to your water source. This is where you need to decide if you want your soaker system to be movable or permanent depending on your watering needs. If you plan on leaving it in place, I suggest burying it about 2 inches underground.

This sets it in place, especially if you are doubling it back to cover rows in a garden. See the example of the system I set up in a raised vegetable garden. I spaced each hose row 6 inches from each other to provide a uniformly soaked area before burying it. If you plan on moving your hose, and still want to double back, get a few good rocks or sticks to help keep your hose in place at each turn.

Step 4: Water Sources

Connect your new system to a water source and turn it on! If your house is spigot challenged (like mine is), and you don’t want to have to deal with screwing your hose on and off the source, I suggest investing in a good garden hose splitter. Both my gardens shown are connected to the same main source although one is located about 70 feet from the spigot, so I’ve actually connected one splitter to another via a main hose. This also keeps a hose free to fill stock tanks as well with very little loss to pressure once all the hoses have filled. The other advantage is it is very difficult to overwater, and you can easily leave your hoses on for extended periods of time without worrying about water cost (or in my case electric bills to run the well pump). As you can see, both gardens on this system are thriving in the desert!

Congratulations!

    You’ve just completed one of the easiest and cheapest projects for important garden maintenance ever. Other than weeding and harvest you now have a hands-free garden that you can water by walking away from. This has been an invaluable asset to my gardens in such a dry climate, and it also makes watering super easy for my neighbors if I happen to go out of town.How will you use your new soaker hose? Comment below on your favorite uses! And feel free to share so everyone can have beautifully watered garden beds.

    About The Author

    Danielle McLeod

    Danielle McLeod cuts a tragic figure in the High School English classroom teaching literature by day, and moonlighting as a writer and graphic artist by night. Published in a variety of travel magazines, and now a blog, Danielle enjoys coming up with home and garden projects to complete with her two young boys. A native of Michigan, she resides in Southeastern New Mexico with her variety of horses, poultry, and variable mix of rescue dogs (there’s a cat or two in there as well). In her free time she enjoys travel, art, photography, and a good book!

    2 Comments

    1. Pamela Lame

      Got a kick out of this article, thanks! I also live in the desert and soaking the ground is the only way to go out here. And I have to pump water too, so you learn to be very frugal with it. We are off the grid here as well, so that makes it doubly interesting, it takes a lot of juice to run a well and a pressure tank. I have been holding off spending the money on soaker hoses or drip systems though , it seems that there are always other priorities. And that is why I am chuckling about this article, I have so many old hoses piled in the boneyard and not once did it occur to me that I could use them for soaker hose! Gad’s, right under my nose and couldn’t see it. I even have an almost new hose that wasn’t cheap, that I shot hole in with snake load while shooting a rattlesnake that was coiled up with it. It leaks pretty bad now and I can certainly use that one. For those of you that don’t understand shooting the snake, believe me, I don’t like doing it, but when they are in my yard and next to my house I have to protect myself and my animals. And I”m sorry but I am not going to get close enough to one of them to try to capture and release them, just isn’t going to happen. I cry every time I have to do it but nonetheless I do what I have to do.
      Again, thanks for the great idea, I’m heading out to make up some soaker hoses right now. Pam

      Reply
      • danielle Mcleod

        Hey Pam! Glad to be of help! TOTALLY understand the snake issue as we have them in abundance here as well. Both soakers I put in have been working well for a year now. In fact, I recently dug up the raised veggie bed one to amend the soils and reburied it with no problem. The one buried in the VERY hot southern exposed wall is doing great as well and the plants are up and blooming.

        Good luck and let us know how your gardens turn out!

        Reply

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