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Dale's hose watering techniques - Don't buy silly hose attachments  RSS feed

 
Dale Hodgins
gardener
Posts: 6783
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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I have no shortage of water. I am short on time. Every watering device that I have ever seen reduces the flow. I tested a few recently. I sprayed water into a 5 gallon bucket using only the hose and then using various nozzles. Some reduced flow by 80%. This was on the soaker setting. On mist, one reduced flow by 95%. It took 20 times as long to fill the pail !!! If I'm going to the trouble of adding water, it's going to be a deluge.

The human hand is far more useful than the flood of failed watering gismos.

Photos first. I wrote a nice long speil which is lost.
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Dale Hodgins
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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Sometimes I want to water a particular spot but I don't want to blast the leaves off or erode the soil.

The one finger method works for distance.

Two fingers shorten the distance that the water will travel. If those fingers are held apart, any number of variations can be achieved.

A soaker can be achieved by cupping the hand over the hose.
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Dale Hodgins
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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Bricks and rocks absorb the erosive power of a strong hose stream. Stepping stones, posts and the stems of large plants can all be used to spread the water.

Sometimes I want to cause erosion. Big clods of dead sod and other lumpy stuff can be eroded away and washed to where it is needed. I pile dead sod by potatoes that will need to be hilled to protect the tubers from the sun. Soil washed from the clods, spreads out in little alluvial plains which build up as the season progresses. At the farm, the soil on the hugel mound is easily eroded, so I pile up soil and amendments uphill from things that could use more soil.
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Dale Hodgins
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A few minutes ago, I watched my friend blast soil from his pots, onto his patio. He was not willing to hand me the hose and let me demonstrate proper method. So I looked up this thread and showed him the pictures.  Now that he's seen it on the internet, he understands that it is the absolute gospel truth. People are strange.
 
Nicole Alderman
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Location: Pacific Northwest
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I like all the different ways you direct the spray with your fingers--I think I might try those next time I water! I remember watering our lawn like that before we had spray nozzles, but I never figured out which finger postitions made what type of spray.

I also got rather frustrated with the tiny amount of water that comes out of a nozzle--I realized how little it was when my husband was watering two years ago and I went to fill up my watering can, and it took like 4 times the time than it does to fill it up with a hose. I also don't like the pressure that a nozzle seems to put on my hoses. The joints seem to wear out faster when I use one.

Sometimes I do like to have a gentle way to water my seedlings, though. BUT! I found a better way than using a spray nozzle. Last year all our nozzles had gotten broken by my son. Desperate for a way to make the water fall more gently, I stuck the hose in the watering can, and started watering while holding the hose in the can. It worked wonderfully! The flow from my watering can is nice and thick, while still gentle. It's a little bit more of a strain on my hands to do it this way, but it's worth it because it takes so much less time to water.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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I have made a sort of bell, for the end of a hose, by attaching a small yogurt container, that has many holes drilled in it. These holes are about 1/16 inch, so much more flow than you receive from those little single directional soakers.

I sometimes carry a 2 quart stainless steel bowl. The hose is directed into the bowl when I'm walking between pots. Once I reach a big pot the bowl is dumped along with the flow of the hose. But during all of that time including while the bowl is being dumped, the stream from the hose is directed at the bowl. This prevents water from being blasted out of the pot. These are pretty big pots, so they can absorb the five gallons or so per minute.

I have also held a smaller bowl in my hand and just allowed it to constantly overflow, when a larger area is being watered. If the water needs to shoot a few feet, the bowl can be held so the stream hits the side and shoots away. This also flattens the stream, so that there isn't too much erosive power in any given spot. It can be done in a manner that lets the water shoot upwards. It then falls down like rain. The various bowl techniques are good for people who get cold hands.

With a little experimentation, almost anyone can find a method that works better than whatever piece of junk they are currently using.
 
Ben Zumeta
Posts: 201
Location: Redwood Country, Zone 9, 60" rain/yr,
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I generally water from my duck pond, and therefore can't use sprayer attachments without clogging. So I use similar techniques to Dale or run it through a felt potting bag full of compost or kelp. It spreads and slows the flow a bit and works well for soaking. I also have 2' rounds as paths at the middle/top of my hugel beds that spread the water well and absorb excess for later, especially if placed flat.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Posts: 6783
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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When using big log rounds on top of a bed, a hose could be permanently affixed, coming up through the bottom. It would flow like a spring whenever the water is turned on.

Here's a variation, that is being used to water a maple tree. That's right, in Victoria we sometimes water maple trees. The water is directed at the plate, so that it can spread, and not erode the soil in one spot. This tree is rooted in a park, but it shades my friends windows and comes within 2 feet of the house.
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