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Best hose and irrigation equipment for small scale farming?  RSS feed

 
Gilbert Fritz
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Location: Denver, CO
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I've never found a hose end that actually works; they get cross threaded, stick, leak, strip, etc. Then, they break off the end of the hose, and the cheap hose replacement kits at Home Depot work even worse then the originals, if that can be possible.

Has anyone ever used a hose replacement that actually was an improvement on the originals, something solid and well engineered? I'd like to put a 10 dollar end on a 10 dollar hose, if I could.
 
John Duffy
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Gilbert,
If you have an ACE Hardware near you, they will have some quality BRASS replacement fittings. Just be sure to get the right diameter. The biggest mistakes I've seen people make when "fixing" a hose is, they get the first thing they find and it usually isn't the right size. So, rather than make another trip to the hardware store, they decide to "make it work."...and it usually doesn't work very long.
Take a piece of the hose with you to insure you get the right diameter fittings.  Buy some extra hose washers while your there. Somehow, these sprout legs and wander off;
 
Gilbert Fritz
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Over the past few years, I've gone through dozens of hose end wands, hoses, couplers, sprinklers, splitters, and other irrigation gear. Threads strip right away or get cross threaded, gaskets wear out or fall off, hoses burst in the middle, wands and sprinklers fly apart, or fail to actually do their job. Worse, repair parts are inevitably a downgrade; replacement couplings leak, replacement gaskets are not a tight fit.

Have you ever found hoses and other equipment that threaded together easily, didn't leak, and lasted for several years? As well as the above supplies, I'm interested in mechanical timers.

I use equipment a lot harder then backyard hobbyists, so I need an upgrade.
 
Mike Jay
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Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
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I don't have gear recommendation for you but I did finally learn to buy a 10 pack of garden hose washers.  Anytime I have a leak at the fitting I replace (or add) a washer and it often fixes that little annoyance.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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I am still using irrigation pipe that my grandmother purchased about 40 years ago.

Instead of buying a $5 plastic sprinkler, you might consider buying a $50 brass sprinkler.

Instead of buying a $10 plastic hose at the dollar store that has sheet metal fittings, you might consider buying a $100 fiber embedded heavy-duty rubber hose with solidly-built lifetime brass connectors.

If you spend ten times as much on a hose or a sprinkler, you may be much more inclined to give it the honor and respect that it deserves as a serious tool.

 
Dan Boone
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I am still using cheap hoses, but I can confirm what Joseph says about brass fittings, nozzles, and fixtures.  I am on metered water and I have definitely paid twice and three times for cheap plastic (or "pot metal") fittings that burst on me when I wasn't on the property to immediately detect the spill. 

Good brass stuff is rather expensive, however it lasts literally forever (unless it gets freeze cracks) and I am discovering that with careful attention to all those little boxes and bags and coffee cans full of "misc" hardware and junk at garage sales, I can often get a whole container full of random "stuff to do stuff with" for two or three or five bucks, which pays for itself because there's one brass nozzle or shutoff valve at the bottom of the pile or a couple of old-fashioned brass hose-mending bibs.
 
Gilbert Fritz
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Mike,

I bought a pack, but they made things leak worse then ever. Maybe that is to be expected with a Home Depot brand; it said it should fit any standard hose.

Joseph and Dan,

Good point about the brass stuff. Have either of you ever seen a replacement thread for a hose that actually worked? It would be nice to buy high end replacement threads and put them on a junk hose, but so far all replacements I've tried have not actually held onto the hose.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Posts: 2619
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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Gilbert: Perhaps, go to the local hardware store and look at the hose end fittings that are available. Price them. Then locate and visit the local specialty store that supplies the farmers and professional irrigators in your area. Consider paying ten times more to get equipment that will last for the rest of your life. Last time I bought a cheap plastic sprinkler it didn't last a week. My brass sprinklers last for decades.

Here's a couple of photos:

A typical consumer hose fitting: Cheap sheet metal and PVC.


Higher quality fittings. I can run over these with a truck, and they won't break.
 
Kevin Derheimer
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Location: Fort Myers, fl - Durango CO
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Gilbert, look up dramm products.  I have their shutoff valves, water breakers, and misters, I bought maybe 10 years ago and use all the time.  Best hose products I have ever used, yes they are expensive, but I really believe in the "quality only hurts once" idea.  Also maybe look into banjo type fittings, I use them as well.  These are commercial products, so probably won't find the higher end products in the big box stores.  Greenhouse suppliers carry them, Amazon as well.  Farm stores usually have banjo Type fittings.
I have 5 dramm shutoff valves, they all work great after 10 years, one is loose and the ball sometimes falls out when I take it off a hose, but easily reinserted and still works great.  I also have the heavy duty water breakers, I would recommend screened washers, as debris Inside the water breaker affects the spray,  also would recommend being careful when setting down, one of mine has some dents and another has a tear from rough handling.  I stopped buying hose products from big box stores once I found dramm.
Kevin
 
Dan Boone
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Gilbert Fritz wrote:Have either of you ever seen a replacement thread for a hose that actually worked?


I have good luck with these:



But you have to basically ignore those "clincher" metal tabs; they do little.  Nope, the trick is to use a genuine hose clamp, tightened maximally:



I would say they are wasted on junk hoses, but I use them myself, and then just cut them off when the hose gets discarded so I can reuse them again.

The plastic ones like this are pure crap, for the most temporary uses only:

 
Kevin Derheimer
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I use brass barbed fittings and use my pex crimp rings to secure, a few wraps of electrical tape if needed, makes a tight fit before crimp.  I use 1/2" for air hose, and 3/4" for garden hose.  Doesn't work on all hoses, but I have used on several of mine.  I will use hose clamps in a pinch but don't like catching the metal end on hands or other things when pulling hoses.  I'm pretty good with knots and will use a boa knot to secure barbed fittings on air hoses, finished with shrink tubing.  I have hoses I regularly use with knotted fittings, I use 1/16" yacht braid string and all of my weight to tighten the boa knot, I use up to 100 psi with no problems.  I'll attach a repaired air hose pic with pex crimp if I can get my phone to cooperate
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Dan Ohmann
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These are great hoses - Water Rights Hose

This is more garden scale so maybe not what you are looking for but they are non-toxic and very durable.  I have two on my homestead and really like them.  They are made in Oregon, too!
 
Eric Bee
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I am a small-scale organic farmer. Garden hoses for me are a waste of time and money. I don't use them except in greenhouses.

For the fields I use 1" poly tubing, usually available in 300+' rolls and often found re-useable and salvageable. Pricing new varies, but I usually pay around $80-100 for 333ft. It's expensive to ship but commonly found at irrigation supply stores if you are in a farming area. I use direct-loc fittings which have a compression ring on one side and a standard (in the US) 1" threaded fitting on the other. The threaded fitting goes into a standard PVC or brass ball valve. I have threaded PVC Tees and other fittings and my standard approach is to have a main line and then sub-lines on valves, either manual or solenoid for a timer. The sublines also 1" poly are connected mainly to drip tape using barbed fittings, but you can use whatever you want. I find in this type of arrangement that 1" is quite sufficient in terms of water flow for 2-4 acres, especially since I typically have different watering schedules per subline. You can, however, find 1 1/4", 1 1/2" or even 2" tubing, but not often since at that size you're better off with steel.

Some examples:
Poly Tubing: http://www.sprinklerwarehouse.com/Drip-Irrigation-Tubing-p/14-011.htm
Direct Loc Fittings: https://www.irrigationdirect.com/products/drip-irrigation-supplies/direct-loc-fittings

This is a fairly standard arrangement on organic farms and I have had main lines connected for 2+ years at a time and at up to 100 PSI and never had a fitting give out. There is still perfectly useable poly tubing on my farm from the last guy some 20 years ago. Occasionally I get a roll that will blow out under pressure, but that's very rare.
 
leah cardwell
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    i have been useing products from irrigrow international for almost 20 years, low flow and gravity feed. irrigation tape comes in different grades . i can irrigate anywhere with it , i just fill a barrel or bucket ,elevate it ,connect the tape and it does the job amazingly well. it is also fairly cheap  and unless you plant your corn seedlings on top of it it will last for years and years. it can also be left in the ground.  i can irrigat a 1 acre garden with a 200 gallon barrell or a row of new fruit trees 2 miles away with a rain barrel . 
   Here in Alberta Lee Valley tools sell the best hose connectors but they are costly.
 
Laurent Voulzy
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Any good clip ins? I'm using the standard one you find at Lowes and although the fitting is water tight the mechanism isn't the smoothest.
 
T Melville
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Dan Boone wrote:
Gilbert Fritz wrote:Have either of you ever seen a replacement thread for a hose that actually worked?


The plastic ones like this are pure crap, for the most temporary uses only:



I'm just a home / hobby gardener, so take this with a grain of salt, but those are my favorite STYLE of hose end. But I do agree about the quality of the one in your picture. It looks like the ones at Walmart. I really never had any predjudice against them, until their hose fittings taught me that they're returning to their "Walmart fall apart" roots. More than half of the ones I've bought there in the last two years have broken during installation. All of them in the last five years have leaked horribly, and most of them have broken quickly.

This style is my favorite because I used to buy Green Thumb ones at True Value, at least thirteen years ago. They were made by Gilmour at that time. A lot of them have been lost, but I can't remember any breaking without being run over. Several are still in use. I finally found Gilmour again last summer, at a local feed store. I think they're $1.49 each, under $2, anyway. I think that makes them cheaper than the trash at Walmart. I've always found them easy to thread on straight with each other, other plastic fittings, or quality metal fittings. (Like the threads on the hydrant.) Use caution when screwing them to low quality metal fittings.

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