Re: [gardeners] soaker hose

Martha Brown (
Mon, 25 Jan 1999 09:25:22 -0600

: From: penny x stamm <>
: Martha, are your soaker hoses irrigating flower beds, veggie beds, 
: or evergreen plantings? 

All of the above.

: I saw two gardens in the Chicago area where they had put the soaker
: hoses zigzag thru the rose beds, and they powered them manually
: whenever they thought they needed it. The system worked very well -- 
: they are both rose exhibitors -- but they were prisoners of the need to
: keep track of the moisture. 

My soil is so sandy I know how many times per week it will need watered if
it doesn't rain.  We have each area on a separate manual valve that is
labeled with a day of the week to be turned on.  If we aren't going to be
home our son who lives next door or my mother or a neighbor comes daily to
feed the dogs, the cat and the ferret so they just turn on the valves
labeled for that day.  We use the lowest pressure possible so they can be
left on 24 hours when we are gone so our "sitter" can just turn the
previous day's valve off and the current days valve on.  I use self
watering containers on the deck and they are set up with an emitter in each
pot to keep them watered also.
: We switched to Toro underground sprinklers when our 
: "walking sprinklers" got too heavy for me to carry. They covered a path 
: 50x150, which was perfect, allowing me to set them up twice in each 
: yard for full coverage. But I could no longer manage them. 
: We installed the Netafim drip irrigation when I saw how much kinder
: life was to me with the automatic lawn system. Now everything is on 
: two clocks, is totally adjustable, and is used for each and all kinds 
: of beds. The valves were put in place near the house by a professional,
: but the drip lines were installed by ourselves. Their only enemy is a
: careless shovel digging a new hole....  

This would be great and we tried an automatic system but found the hard
water deposits caused the valves to leak and have to be replaced and the
company had no good solutions.  The manual set up we have actually uses
part of the automatic system that didn't work.  
	This is one of the reasons I have eliminated all but an oval of about 15 X
20 of lawn.  It is a small enough size watering isn't a major problem.  Or
mowing for that matter,  I have cool season grass that I mow twice a week. 
I now mow with a small push mower in just a few minutes instead of the
hours I used to deal with.
	I hire help (a mentally disabled brother and sister in their early 20's
who love to help in my garden) in the early spring to help plant, check and
replace soaker hoses in the beds as needed then cover with mulch and mend
as needed in the summer.  I spend about an hour a day deadheading and
removing a weed or two that pops up during the summer.  All in all a pretty
low maintenance setup.  Of course I keep adding more beds so I spend a lot
of time in the garden.  I'm planning a formally laid out area of 120 feet
by 120 feet enclosed with tall hedges for roses, iris, hemerocallis and
various other perennials and annuals for basically a cutting garden.  Plan
to get the hedge in this year and lay beds out and fill with mulch then
they will be ready to plant in the spring of 2000.  I haven't decided on
path material yet but will probably be small gravel with a concrete border
with a native stone cap to keep it in place with possibly some stepping
stones embedded.  The concrete-stone border also makes the beds raised just
a bit.        
Martha Brown
NW Oklahoma, USA
USDA Zone 6b,  Sunset Zone 35
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