I have a relatively small garden, but it still seems to require a lot of time and energy to water. I’d like to install a sprinkler system, but just can’t afford it. Are soaker hoses a good alternative?
You bet! I rely on a system of interconnected soaker hoses to water my entire garden and it works great.
Soaker hoses look just like a regular garden hose, but have tiny pores so that water slowly weeps along its length, delivering slow, steady moisture straight to the roots.
Soaker hoses use up to 70 percent less water than sprinklers and depending on your soil type, the water will spread 2 to 3 feet across the top of the bed. If you have several beds to water, you can create a soaker system with a series of connected hoses attached by a network of plastic tees, elbows and couplings. It’s best to keep the maximum length of the soaker hose to less than 100 feet to ensure there is enough water pressure to push through the system.
Automatic timers at the faucet will help you regulate how long you water.
You can purchase soaker hoses in most garden and home improvement centers for about 15 to 20 dollars for a 50-foot length. Look for those with UV protection, which tend to last longer.
And it helps to stretch new hoses out in the sun for a while to soften them up and make them easier to position.
Use large U-shaped wires fashioned from old clothes hangers to help pin them into place.
When you first set up your system it is a good idea to make sure the plants are receiving adequate moisture. After watering dig a 4 to 6 inch hole near your plants. Test the soil at the bottom of the hole to see if it feels moist. If it is dry, water longer.
The only drawbacks are when I accidentally pierce the hose with a shovel or sometimes the tiny pores get clogged with dirt.