If you are anything like me, my garden ideas always seem much grander 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 as 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.
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.
- Electrical Tape
- A garden hose (choose the length appropriate to your needs)
This is Optional:
This is the perfect opportunity 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 the 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 in this system are thriving in the desert!
*You might also like: Do trees need to be watered in winter?
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.