Good equipment needed for never-ending garden chore

By 
Erin Schanen

There are worse gardening jobs than watering, but the problem with watering is that it’s never finished. Once you weed and put down mulch, you have the satisfaction of a job done, for a little while at least. But until plants are established in the ground, watering never stops.

I’ve had lots of time to ponder this lately as I’ve been spending a lot of time with a watering wand in my hand.

A streak of sunny, warm days means that plants still sitting around in their nursery pots need at least daily watering. Because I have hundreds of plants in this situation — suffice to say I got a little behind this year — I spend more time watering than I do planting. It’s a quandry. I don’t have time to plant because I’m busy watering, but I’m busy watering because I haven’t planted yet.

If you’re going to be spending quality time watering, it’s worth finding good equipment. Nozzles that drip down your hand or up your sleeve should be officially qualified as torture devices.

 Let’s just get it out there — there is no perfect hose. I know because I’ve tried them all. I even tried a hose that is actually called “The Perfect Hose.” Big hoses are heavy to lug around but offer great water volume and are less likely to kink. Lighter hoses don’t move enough water to power a sprinkler properly, but they are a joy to be on the other end of when you’re making your way around the garden, at least until they kink.

Gimmicky hoses claim to solve these problems. Expanding hoses are great for storing but terrible for using. The “Perfect Hose” that I tried was unkinkable; you could even park a car on it and you’d still get water through it. But coiling it was another matter. Imagine trying a wrestle a 50-foot Slinky into a neat coil. I swear there were actual springs in it that made half of it pop up just when you were finishing up a coil. More obscenities were uttered while coiling that hose than during any other project, including putting together Ikea furniture.

Since there is no perfect hose, a compromise has to be made. Unfortunately, not all hose-users have the same priorities. I’m willing to deal with a few kinks that come with an easy-to-pull-around, half-inch diameter hose in a color that doesn’t look like a snake when you catch a glance. For the other waterer in the house, who is more concerned with recently planted trees and grass, a heavy-duty one-inch diameter hose is the only way to go.

Frankly, hoses of all varieties have been called into service recently. Coiling is of no concern; the hoses haven’t been put away in weeks, just dropped wherever the watering chores end.

Assuming you have a good watering wand that allows you to reach under the foliage to the root zone of plants — a must for proper watering —it’s not so bad. And I’m happy to report that it is one of few gardening jobs that can be accomplished one-handed, leaving the other hand free to do things like check your email or have a drink.

And that’s good, because I’m going to be watering for awhile.

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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