I have always preferred to water my vegetable garden underneath rather than spraying the leaves of the plants. I learned from my parents and grandparent that this gives the plants a much deeper watering. This in turn enables them to cope better with the hot summer days. It also saves water because it is delivers the water directly to where the plants need it.
Another benefit of watering plants underneath is a reduction in weeds. If you limit watering to just at the base of your vegetables then unwanted weeds don’t spread through the garden. Any weeding will only be required close in around your plants.
When I first started growing vegetables I had one hose and I moved it around from one patch to another. As you can imagine that was very time consuming because I had to stay in or near the garden so I could move the hose around.
A couple of years ago I thought I would save some time by fitting a two way outlet to the garden tap. That meant that I could use two hoses to water underneath my vegetables. While having two hoses made watering quicker I was still keen to save even more time.
So last summer I bought a water weeper soaker hose and that has been a game changer! As the name suggest the water weeper soaker hose weeps water along its length. The hose can be placed anywhere you like to give the entire garden a deep soaking. Actually one hose was not quite enough for the size of our garden so we now have two water weeping soaker hoses that water all of our plants at the same time!
Now that I have soaker hoses in the garden all I have to do is turn on the tap and I can go back to doing other things.
The water weeping soaker hose is particularly useful in our garden because we don’t have raised beds. Our vegetable garden is just one big area of soil that we can divide up into different areas for different plants.
This means that the soaker hose can be weaved around the garden to water all the plants. Any spaces along the soaker hose that are not watering anything are planted up with quick growing veggies such as radishes and lettuce.
Tips for Using a Water Weeping Soaker Hose
After using the water weeping soaker hose in the vegetable garden for a couple of years I have learnt a few tips.
Firstly it is important not to turn the tap on too fast when using a weeping soaker hose. You only need a small amount of pressure in the hose to force the water to drip out. If you put the hose under too much pressure you will risk splitting the hose.
One of our soaker hoses developed a small split and we found that it affected the pressure in the entire length of the hose.
Luckily it is possible to make a patch repair if your soaker hose does develop a split. I found this tape at the hardware store that you can apply to the affected area. There is still some dripping around where I applied the tape but that’s not a problem because it’s meant to be a dripping hose anyway!
The water weeping soaker hose that I use has a screw cap on the end. This is great for giving them a flush out from time to time. I also like to flush them out on extremely hot days when the residual water in the soaker hose has heated up. That way the plants get some refreshingly cool water straight away!
It is also possible to get a micro water weeping soaker hose. It is much small in diameter and can be placed around individual plants via traditional irrigation tubing. We use this small micro soaker hose on our potted citrus trees.
To do this we lined the pots up in a row with some traditional irrigation hose running between them. We then have some of the micro soaker hose coming off that and looping around the base of each tree. This ensures that our citrus trees get a nice slow soaking. You could also use this micro water weeping soaker hose in raised garden beds if you have them.
To conserve even more water cover the water weeping soaker hose with a couple of inches of mulch.
When autumn arrives and the rainfall increases we roll up the soaker hose and put it in the shed until spring time. Then when planning out our next year’s crop placement we lay out the drip hose and plan our beds around the hose!
Here is a good video that shows the basics of how to use a soaker hose in the garden.