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A soaker hose is a highly efficient way to save wave. It might have to splurge a little on the soaker hose and fittings, but this investment will be recouped in time, and you will save money on watering your garden. If you’re hunting for a good soaker hose, then our soaker hoses reviews article is a must read as long as you also learn how to install a soaker hose!
So, what is a Soaker Hose and how can an individual learn how to install soaker hose in the garden? Soaker hoses deliver water directly to the root zone of the plant, which soaks into the soil slowly one drop at a time. It drips water at the rate that the soil can absorb and hold the moisture.
The slow and steady drip rate of a soaker hose ensures that water is absorbed at a minimal level with none lost to surface runoff or evaporation. It also ensures that water goes only to the plant you’re trying to grow and not wasted on weeds.
How does a Soaker Hose work? Soaker hoses ensure that the soil between plants remains drier, which eliminates the chances of weed seeds sprouting. Drip irrigation helps busy gardeners save time and effort. All you have to do is place the soaker hose and let it do its job, eliminating the need to drag around hoses or sprinklers. So, if you’re thinking of switching, learn how to install soaker hose in your flower beds, vegetable gardens, and raised beds in this article.
Flat Soaker Hose vs. Round Soaker Hose
There are two types of soaker hoses, the flat and the round. However, while the flat hose has holes on one side, the round hose has holes throughout its length.
Flat Soaker Hose
Flat soaker hoses are usually made of nylon-coated mesh material and have holes on one side that directs the water to exactly where you want it to go, which is down into the ground. Its natural flat shape allows you to bury it 3 inches under mulch. Unlike round hoses, it does now roll out of alignment. It is better to bury it in mulch than in soil because the weight of the soil weighs down the hose. It also makes it easy to snake it under existing plant growth.
Round Soaker Hose
Round soaker hose or weeping hose is made of rubber or vinyl. They have tiny holes all through for water distribution and can be buried under a bit of soil and mulch. Some of the models are more durable than flat soaker hoses.
How To Use A Soaker Hose
Soaker hoses are porous tubes similar to a garden hose. However, unlike garden hose, a soaker hose is more efficient because it weeps water along its whole length. Most soaker hoses are made of rubber and polyethylene plastic while some are BPA-free, polyurethane models. Soaker Hoses are easy to use and install and here’s a list of things you will need;
- You’ll need a soaker hose long enough to fit the lengths of your rows.
- Hose couplers (elbows or tees) to connect your hoses and end caps.
- To remove impurities that can clog your hose, you’ll need to attach a filter to the tap.
- You’ll need a soaker hose pressure regulator to control water flow into the hose. They are also designed to run at low pressure. Purchase a regulator that matches the flow you need.
- Although this is optional, it is also worth mentioning that you can purchase a soaker hose timer for your garden to hold your hoses in place.
Some brands have a complete soaker hose kit with everything you’ll need to get started. Use the instructions to guide you on how to operate the filter and pressure regulator and set both up first.
Soaker Hose Installation (Vegetable Garden, Flower Beds, & Raised Beds)
After you’ve installed the filter and pressure regulator, you can now set up the soaker hose. There are different ways to set up a soaker hose, and it depends on your garden setups, like a Vegetable Garden, Flower Bed or Raised Bed.
How To Install Soaker Hose In Vegetable Garden
Growing a vegetable garden can be tasking. To ensure you have a bountiful harvest, you’ll have to keep in mind fertilizers, plant placements, soil and most importantly water.
As a gardener, whether for pleasure or work, keeping your vegetables alive is both time and energy consuming.
Hence, a soaker hose system is a perfect compromise unlike hand watering and complicated drip systems. It waters your plants accurately. This section is also useful for questions like “how to install soaker hose in flower beds” or “how to install a soaker hose in a raised bed.”
How to Run A Soaker Through the Garden
- Use your outdoor faucet close enough to your vegetable garden.
- Screw a faucet adapter to your outdoor faucet and then screw the end of your garden hose onto the adapter.
- Attach your soaker hose to the end of your garden hose.
- Attach the soft foam soaker hose onto the end of the durable garden hose.
- Lay the soaker hose along your vegetable garden by the roots of the plants you want to be watered.
- Switch the tap on to begin the watering process.
- Make sure where the soaker hose meets the valve is secure to ensure that water is not escaping the hose.
- When using a soaker hose, use a pressure of about 10 pounds per square inch.
- To test the depth of moisture, simply dig out a spade of dirt to see how deep the water has soaked in. 8 to 12 inches is usually the desired depth for most gardeners.
How Long To Run Soaker Hose
How long you run the soaker hose varies and mostly depends on the weather, size of the hose you’re using, the soil you have, and the plant you’re growing. You can run your soaker hose for 30 minutes twice a week and observe the moisture in the soil if it has penetrated several inches.
How much water does a soaker hose use per hour?
This depends on your soaker hose. If you have purchased a narrow soaker hose, it will use less water while larger soaker hoses take more time to fill and use more water. You can do a soaker hose test by putting the hose in a plastic tub and timing how long it takes to fill 1 inch of the container. That’s usually how long it will take on an average week. However, in summer you’ll need to use 2” per week.
Soaker Hose vs Drip Irrigation Systems
Drip Irrigation Systems
A drip irrigation system has long tubes fitted with emitters. It also features secondary tubes that branch off the main water line, which may be connected to a tap fitted with a pressure regulator, backflow valve, and filter.
A well thought out drip irrigation system uses about 30-50% less water compared to other methods of watering like sprinkling.
Most drip systems are made from polyethylene plastic. There are two types of drip irrigation, which are;
1. Drip Tape: This is a flat tube style that requires a pressure reducer in the waterline to operate optimally. It doesn’t work for all seasons
2. Drip Line: This is a round tubing used for heavier duty plastic used for all seasons. It can come with a pre-installed emitter or buy separate emitters that you can install yourself.
Pros of Drip Irrigation Systems
- It delivers water directly to the plant base
- All its several components are easy to install. You can configure the system to water different zones at the same time.
- It can work on hills, and it works well with any type of garden soil.
- It is easy to repair and fix damaged parts
- It works well with timers
Cons of Drip Irrigation Systems
- It can get clogged over time and requires constant inspection and maintenance.
- Some drip systems can get misdirected by the wind, which leads to mismanagement of water.
- It takes time to set up and can be expensive.
Like the name implies a soaker hose system soaks your plants and ensure deep watering instead of a shallow watering.
Pros of Soaker Hose
- It reduces water usage because it does not spray.
- It provides reliable water delivery at ground level, which leaves the foliage on your plant dry and fungi free.
- You can adjust the water pressure by opening or closing the flow of the tap, which means you might not need a pressure regulator
- They are inexpensive and work well with timers to save water.
- It does not clog
Cons of Soaker Hose
- Unlike drip systems, a soaker hose is not easy to configure. You can’t close some sections and leave others open
- It works best on ground level because they don’t have pressure adjustment at every point of their length.
- The coverage is not as extensive as with drip systems
- It is less precise
- They can develop kinks
- It is difficult to repair and are prone to sun damage and degradation over time. You can cover them with mulch to solve this.
So, Which One Is Better?
Well, it depends on the size of your garden. Soaker hoses are efficient for smaller gardens while larger gardens will use drip irrigation. Soaker hoses are also for people on a budget, unlike the more expensive drip irrigation.
Also, Drip irrigation works best with long straight rows while soaker hoses work well by snaking around plants. Soaker hoses work well with raised beds while drip system is efficient for sloped ground.
Essential Tips for Installing a Soaker Hose
- The general rule of thumb is to run the hose for 200 minutes to completely penetrate the garden with one inch of water.
- Avoid high water pressure
- Always leave the end cap on, this leaves the water trapped in the hose.
- Leave the restrictor disk inserted in the hose coupling at the water source
- Avoid using more than 150 feet of soaker hoses from one water source.
- If your bed is too dry, it might be because your soaker hose is exposed. Use 2” of mulch to cover your hose and prevent evaporation.