A soaker hose is a length of flexible plastic tubing with tiny perforations laser-cut along the tube at regular intervals. Water passing through the hose is emitted from the perforations. Soaker hoses are ideal for watering plants that are placed in a series, such as flowers or vegetables. Because soaker hoses remain in direct contact with the soil, they are a good water conservation tool compared to sprayers. Spraying across the garden results in excess evaporation and can waste water on areas where nothing is planted.
Select the diameter of soaker hose. The most popular variety is similar to the 1/4-inch diameter plastic connecting tube used in residential irrigation systems and connects to the 5/8-inch polyvinyl tubing that is run from the main water source. For gardens that need more water, soaker hoses are available in larger diameters that connect directly to an outside faucet or garden hose.
Place one end of the soaker hose near the irrigation line it will be connected to. Anchor it with a rock or another heavy object.
Unroll the tube along and between the rows of plants in your garden. Because the hose is so flexible, you can gently shape it around curves, place it in a zigzag pattern or even coil it in a loop around large plants.
Cut the hose at the end of the last plant row once you are satisfied the hose will reach all of the plants in the bed. Use a plastic plug to cap off the end of the soaker hose.
Connect the hose to the irrigation line. If you are connecting the hose to 5/8-inch polyvinyl tubing, use a punch tool and open up a hole in the 5/8-inch irrigation tube, then push in a two-sided plastic connector and attach the soaker hose to the other side of the connector. If the end of the irrigation tube is not near the area where the soaker hose will be placed, run a length of unperforated 1/4-inch flexible connecting tubing and connect it to the soaker hose.
Test the system. Turn the water on and watch it flow from the hose for at least 15 minutes to see how much water the plants are receiving. Don’t water so heavily that the area becomes flooded. If you notice the water pooling in some places, redistribute the soil with a shovel, then rake and level the area.
Things You Will Need
- Soaker hose
- 1/4-inch connecting tubing
- Plastic plug
- Punch tool
- Two-sided plastic connectors
- Find the punch tool with other residential irrigation tools at a hardware or garden store.
- Choose a soaker hose with perforations spaced the same distance you intend to space your plants. Perforations spaced 6 or 12 inches apart are popular with gardeners.
- It's easy to confuse the soaker hose with its companion 1/4-inch connecting tubing. Keep the two coils on separate shelves in the shed or garage and label the shelves.
- Soaker hoses work best on flat surfaces. With a sloping garden, gravity will pull the water away from the plants at the top of the bed.
- It takes practice to determine the length of time to run the irrigation system with soaker hoses so the plants get just the right amount of water. The volume of water that is emitted from a soaker hose is surprising to gardeners accustomed to using drip irrigation systems.
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