How to Use a Soaker Hose in Organic Gardens

Overview

Soaker hoses give you an easy method of drip irrigation that you can use in your vegetable garden, around fruit trees or ornamentals and just about anywhere except hanging plants. The advantage of soaker hoses is that you won't need to attach emitters and other little doo-dads that a "proper" drip irrigation system can include. The disadvantage of soaker hoses is that they seep water everywhere you place them, so you will be watering pathways, weeds and other areas. Soaker hoses use more water than a strict drip irrigation system, but setting them up is much easier.

Step 1

Determine where your soaker hose needs to be located and then measure the area, making sure to compensate for trees, around which you will wind your soaker hose at least twice. Purchase the appropriate number of soaker hoses to do the job, but limit each system to two 50-foot hoses.

Step 2

Connect a backflow preventer and a pressure regulator at your faucet. Install a timer if you wish. Attach a regular garden hose to the pressure regulator--the length is up to you, depending on how far it is from your faucet to the beginning of your soaker hose system.

Step 3

Attach your soaker hose(s) to the garden hose at the beginning of the area you want to water. String your hoses around plants in a snake-like fashion, or run them in straight lines through the middle of your garden beds. Lay your soaker hoses closer together if you have sandy soil.

Step 4

Control the amount of water your soaker hose(s) emit by reducing how much your faucet is open.

Step 5

Run your vegetable garden soaker hose system about 30 minutes every other day during summer, unless it rains. Run it less frequently during winter, especially if your area receives plenty of rain. Water ornamentals and trees twice a week for 30 minutes.

Step 6

Customize your soaker hoses by inserting lengths of cut garden hose in areas that travel over a path or other areas you don't want to water. Purchase hose repair pieces, cut your soaker hose where you want the garden hose, then install the repair pieces at either end of the garden hose.

Step 7

Flush your soaker hose before you use it and three or four times during the season by removing the end cap and allowing water to rush through.

Step 8

Remove your soaker hoses, pressure regulator, timer and backflow preventer at the end of summer and store them all winter.

Tips and Warnings

  • To make sure your hose doesn't kink, stretch it out straight and flat before you install it. You can cover your soaker hose with mulch to help the soil retain moisture, but don't bury it under soil. If you string more than three soaker hoses together, the water pressure at the end of the line will be reduced to almost nothing, especially if your hoses climb uphill. Limit your hose systems to two hoses and keep them on level ground. This method is not appropriate for lawns. Use a sprinkler to water your lawn.

Things You'll Need

  • One or more 50-foot soaker hoses
  • Backflow preventer
  • Timer (optional)
  • Pressure regulator
  • Garden hose
  • Earth staples (optional)

References

  • Soaker Hoses

Who Can Help

  • Earth staples source
Keywords: vegetable garden, soaker hoses, watering, drip irrigation system

About this Author

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hiā€˜iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Barbara wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens," and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to Big Island Weekly, Ke Ola magazine, GardenGuides.com and eHow.com. She earned her B.A. at UCSB and her M.A. from San Jose State University.