How many different methods have you tried to effectively water your garden? My dad has tried a few and he has finally settled on his rain barrel soaker hose system. This set-up takes care of a few problems he was having.
- Forgetting to turn off hoses
- Needing to coordinate watering time to when he was home
- Full coverage in a garden bed
- Needing to monitor water application and working parts
- Needing to easily replace worn out parts
The rain barrels are just filled with a hose, then let to run until empty. The ones he purchased already came with a spigot near the bottom, but to make sure it would run well and completely, he raised the barrels up on bricks. The rain barrel from D&B Supply was less expensive and has a larger capacity than the one from Home Depot, which is made to fit flatter against a wall and be more decorative.
In order to have more flexibility for watering without so much moving of hoses, one of the barrels was fitted with a short section of hose, followed by a double spigot. This is helpful near the house, where he has soaker hoses off in two different directions. The valves on the double spigot make it easy to direct the water.
The lids that came with the barrels tend to inhibit water flow, by blocking air flow and creating a suction. But he didn’t want mosquitos to set up nursery. His solution for one barrel was to
- Drill holes in the lid
- Cut a circle of mesh wire that fit over the top, inside the lid ridge
- Bend a piece of metal (rebar) to fit, so that it would be a weight to hold the wire down
He had tried soaker hoses before, but hadn’t been able to control the watering application to his satisfaction. He could never seem to leave them on for the right amount of time. He had tried more point specific drip irrigation, but found it to be inadequate for complete coverage of his vegetable garden and many of his flower beds. It was also not flexible for the changes of plantings from season to season. Sprinklers lost too much to evaporation and tended to waste a lot of water on the pathways.
Now, he and my mom just take a few minutes to fill up the barrels, which doesn’t take too long. They pluck a few weeds or do a bit of dead-heading while waiting. If the barrel does overfill, it sloshes loudly and gets attention right away. After turning off the filling hose and turning on the soaker hose, they can go on about their other business with no worries of flooding or forgetfulness.