We all know that watering the garden takes time. During the hot summer months you really need to spend an hour a day at least ensuring that your treasured plants get enough water to continue to thrive.
You may not realize it, but there alternatives to standing there with a hose moving from one plant to the next. The best alternative we think is the soaker hose. But don’t worry, you don’t have to rush out and buy yourself an expensive irrigation system. You can make your own. A DIY soaker hose, if you like.
We almost all have old hose lying around somewhere in out backyard. Well, this article is going to explain how to make a soaker hose from a regular hose and in doing so solve your garden watering headache. Of course, if you have replaced your old garden hose with a shiny new, hard wearing stainless steel garden hose, then your old hose can be put to work straight away.
The DIY Soaker Hose Step-by-Step
What you will need
- A length of old hose (it needs to be long enough to be laid across the area you want to soak).
- A hammer and small nail, 2d or 3d will be just fine. Alternatively you can use a cordless drill and 1/16 inch or 3/64 inch drill bit.
- A clamp clip or electrical tape for sealing the end of the pipe.
- Wire coat hangers and pliers to create hose pegs.
- A garden hose connector or splitter (this is optional and depends on the length of spare pipe you have available.)
Step 1 – The Holes
You need to perforate your hose. In effect make small holes every 2-3 inches apart in order to allow the water to soak out. Don’t make the first hole too close to the hose connector. Leave about 24 inches before you start.
If you are using the hammer and nail, simply take the nail and hammer it into the pipe. You can knock the nail right through the pipe making two holes at each point. If using the drill, slightly compress the pipe to get a flat surface and drill straight through both sides.
Step 2 – Seal Off The End of the Hose
If you are creating a hose spur then one end will be connected to the water supply or spigot. The other will lie somewhere on your garden bed. If the loose end is not sealed off the main flow of water will just flow out of the end and not out your soaker holes.
To prevent this you need block off the end of the hose. An easy way to do this is to use an plastic IKEA sealing clip many of us have in our kitchen, but if you don’t have any of these then simply fold over the end of the hose and tape the loose end to the body of the hose with some electrical tape. If you have one, a hose cap will also do the job.
Step 3 – Lay Out Your Hose
Lay out the hose through the plant bed you wish to irrigate. If this is a large bed then you may need to lay the hose in a continuous S shape in order to ensure all parts of the bed receive adequate water.
It’s usually at this point you realize you haven’t got enough hose.
Once you are happy with the layout of your hose you can pin down the hose to ensure it doesn’t move. The cheapest and easiest way to do this is to take a wire coat hanger, cut it into 8 inch lengths and then with pliers create a hook on one end. Secure the hose by pushing the long side of the wire hook into the dirt and hooking the hook over the hose, securing it into place.
Step 4 – Attach the Hose to the Water Supply
You can use a hose splitter to split the flow of water from an existing hose. But in the event that you wish to use that hose for other tasks then a simple tap connector should suffice.
Once connected, test the system to establish the flow rate of the system and whether it needs to be adjusted with more holes. If you wish to create an unmanned system to come on at certain times then you can also purchase a hose timer which will allow you to schedule soaking times to ensure you don’t miss a day.
When it’s all in place and working as expected you can step back, turn it on and enjoy the fact that you have created a really useful device for ensuring your plants get all the water they need to grow without requiring you to do too much work.