Soaker hoses are an alternative to wasteful sprinklers and can substitute for drip irrigation systems, which can be tricky to install. Soaker hoses are relatively inexpensive and are available at garden supply stores. They come in 50-foot lengths---all you need to do is attach up to 100 feet of soaker hose to your faucet, snake them through your garden so they water your valuable plants, and then sit back and relax.
If you have a fruit tree or two, you know how much water they need during the summer. Connect a standard garden hose to your faucet and then string it to an area near your tree or trees. Connect a soaker hose to the garden hose and then loop it around the soil surrounding your tree. Don't wrap the trunk of your tree with the soaker hose, but instead place it at least two to three feet from your tree. You can loop it around your tree a couple of times to increase the amount of water that the hose delivers to the root zone. For most fruit trees, run your soaker hose about one hour each week during summer.
Watering Vegetable Gardens
You can deliver water to where your vegetable plants need it---at the roots---by snaking up to 100 feet of soaker hoses through your garden. Water will seep out of the hoses wherever they lie, so you might be wasting a little water on areas such as pathways. A solution to this situation is to use hose mender pieces: cut your soaker hose where you don't need it and insert a length of garden hose over the area you don't want to water. Hose menders are inexpensive and easy to use, so you'll be saving water if you decide to use them.
Watering Terraced Gardens
Soaker hoses work best on flat ground. If you have multiple levels in your yard, such as terraced garden beds, you can still use soaker hoses. Install hose mender fittings in areas on a hillside, and then continue your soaker hose on the level planting area in the terrace below the slope.
Seep, Don't Spray
When you use your soaker hose, turn the faucet on just a small amount so the hose slowly seeps water from its pores. If you turn on the faucet too far, the hose will "fountain" water from its pores, which is not how this product is meant to operate. Many plants, such as tomatoes and zucchini, can develop blossom end rot, powdery mildew and other problems when their leaves, flowers and fruit get wet from overhead watering.
Use a Timer With Your Soaker Hose
You can save even more time and energy for yourself if you install a simple garden timer to your faucet. Set it to run about 30 minutes twice a week for most vegetables.