Of all the garden tools at my disposal the one that works the hardest is the hose. It is the font of all hydration that is not heaven sent. Actually, all the water here is heaven sent, but the hose delivers the water that was captured upon the roof and then saved for… I was going to say ‘saved for a rainy day’ but while the intent is perfect the actual analogy doesn’t work at all. But you get my meaning. When it isn’t raining, the water comes from the tank via the hose.
With a garden as big as mine there is a lot that needs to be watered. In normal conditions in my garden watering deeply roughly every 5 days or so is enough. The soil in the beds is highly absorbent swamp soil and the fine sand has surprised me by holding the moisture deep down below the surface of the beds and so the roots have no trouble finding what they need to stay hydrated. I have found that I only need to water using my irrigation system for a mere 9 minutes per bed. Any more than causes the water to pool below and the sand becomes a little soft like it does just beyond the waves on the beach. So, it doesn’t take much to get the garden beds wet and keep them that way. I had feared the sand would be so free draining I’d be out there for hours with the hose.
But even with the irrigation system the hose still gets a workout, as it needs to be plugged into the system. Eventually it will be via a 6-hose water distributor and water computer so I can set and forget six beds at a time, but I have still to connect all the beds in a wonderful underground network that still needs to be dug (watch this space.) So, for now I am at the mercy of the timer on my phone blaring out across the garden in increments of just under ten minutes, demanding I stop what I am doing immediately and move the hose. This alone makes the desire to dig trenches strong.
So, every day the hose is unreeled and moved from bed to bed, snaking around corners and twisting and turning frequently as I work my way across the garden. In normal conditions I only focus on 6 beds a day and by the time I get back to the original 6 beds five days later, they are just reaching the point where they could do with a drink again. To do this job well it means a lot to have a hose that doesn’t kink. I’ve had them before, and they can make watering a nightmare. You spend more time untangling things than you do actually watering. There is value in a good quality hose.
But then you need to spare a thought for the poor, long suffering hose. Once unwound from the reel, it can lay about for hours on end. However, if it doesn’t have water flowing through it, the water can be left lying about within the hose and in the height of summer it can heat up to a remarkable heat. It is often too hot to touch, so I measured it once and found it was around 70C, which, if I can’t hold my hand under it, would be extremely detrimental to the health and wellbeing of my plants. It is always best to let it run free for a few moments until the cold water from the tank returns to the flow.
And while we are on the subject of health and wellbeing, there is a lot of talk out there about the toxic effects of plastic once heated, with nasty chemicals leaching from it into the very food we eat. And with some hoses, it doesn’t even need to heat up to provide all sorts of goodies other than water with its daily supply of a thirst-quenching drop. I wouldn’t mind so much if I was just watering flowers, but I’m watering food. Food my family will eat and just as important to me as a kink free hose, is one that only delivers water and not heavy metals and other toxic chemicals.
My poor hose was once shiny and new, with the promise of a long life ahead of it. It probably wishes it ended up in the hands of someone who only gets it out of the shed every now and again to hose down a path or briefly water a small backyard plot so it could retain its lustre. But for all that it has worked hard, my hose and I get on just fine and will continue to do so for many years to come. A hose may be humble, but you know when you have a good one!
Come again soon – I may have started digging a trench or two…. Either me or Hubby the Un-Gardener!
Sarah the Gardener : o)