My Soaker Hose Adventure
I painstakingly installed 1,000 feet of soaker hose in my garden this year. Everything was getting watered perfectly. The plants were happy. I was happy. Life was good!
Then, as the year progressed, my cucumbers played out and I decided to remove the old plants and re-plant some fresh cucumbers for end-of-season harvesting.
I had mapped everything so, I “knew” where all the soaker hoses were.
I proceeded to till the soil in preparation for my second cucumber planting.
Then it happened! My tiller hit something hard, bounced sideways, and landed smack dab down on a soaker hose nearby. A piece of the hose was shredded into confetti!
My tiller had made an absolute mess of my beloved soaker hose!
Well now…what to do? What to do? Normally, I would just buy a replacement hose.
But, I was thinking…this is not the first time I have encountered a broken soaker hose.
- I have hit them with my lawn mower.
- I have dropped sharp tools like shovels, rakes, and other gardening implements on a few.
- And, sometimes, the soaker hoses just got dry, brittle, and cracked because they were exposed to the sun for long periods…which is why I try to keep them under mulch whenever possible.
And, if I throw away every broken or leaky soaker hose that I encounter, eventually the costs will add up to more than I care to envision.
So, I decided to come up with a simple, inexpensive repair procedure.
The standard mending kits for regular garden hoses were too big and stiff.
My soaker hoses were smaller and more delicate than typical garden hoses. Plus, I wanted the repaired soaker hose to be somewhat flexible to make it easier to wind through my garden.
I chose to use a piece of clear vinyl tubing inserted into the soaker hose…and held in place by two worm-gear clamps.
I found the vinyl tubing…Watts XVIG 1/2-Inch OD by 100-Feet Boxed Clear Vinyl Tubing
NOTE: “OD” means Outside Diameter. Since the soaker hose has a half-inch “ID” (Inside Diameter), I needed vinyl tubing with a half-inch OD to fit snugly inside the soaker hose.
Ten feet of vinyl tubing usually costs around $8 to $10. But, for only about twice that cost, I could get 100 feet of tubing.
Even though I really didn’t need 100 feet of tubing, my thought process was by the time I purchased one ten feet length of tubing…several times…I could have purchased 10 times that length of tubing at barely more than double the cost. And 100 feet would give me enough vinyl tubing to fix soaker hoses for an eternity.
Additionally, I would have enough left over for other tubing needs down the road such as…
- Inlet hose for dishwashers.
- Drainage hose for Jacuzzis, fish tanks, and backyard ponds and water gardens.
- Suction hose for removing liquids from large containers.
- Insulation for electrical wiring.
- Cushioning for various items to reduce scratching or breakage.
The 10-pack of Precision Brand clamps would be enough to repair five soaker hose breaks, which would hopefully at least get me through the rest of this season.
Here Is What I Did…
I took a pair of sharp scissors and evenly cut off the ends of the two pieces of soaker hose I was going to join together.
Then, using the scissors, I cut about four inches of vinyl tubing to put inside the soaker hose…and I got two clamps ready.
Next, I slid the clamps onto the soaker hose and then I inserted the tubing about two inches deep into each piece of soaker hose…joining the two pieces together.
And, I tightened a clamp on each side of the joint.
And, guess what? I now have a fully repaired soaker hose ready for use as it was intended…to keep my plants happily watered…and, to keep me happy. Life is good again!
Also, since I am a bit of a perfectionist, I wanted the repaired section to be part of the soaker system so, I got out a small drill bit and drilled some small holes in the repaired section so that water could leach through the vinyl tubing and supply the plants that happened to be located next to the repaired segment.
NOTE: Ensure that the water pressure in your garden soaker hoses is low…no more than 25 to 30 psi tops. This repair will hold for low water pressure but, it is not meant to withstand higher pressures. A good water pressure gauge will let you know for sure how much force is coming out of your faucet. Chances are, your water pressure will be 60 psi or more. It is important to realize that just turning on the faucet slightly may slow down the water entering the soaker hoses but, it will eventually build up to the rated pressure, 60 psi or more, of the faucet. This is why using a quality water pressure regulator will ensure that you don’t pump too much water pressure into your soaker hoses.
In Summary, A Couple of Quotes…
Here’s a quote from my neighbor, Jed…the retired farmer:
“Women are like fine wines. They start out fresh, fruity, and intoxicating. Then, they get full bodied with age. Finally, they go sour and vinegary…and give me a headache!”
You can search The Perfect Vegetable Garden for more of Jed’s quips, anecdotes, and stories…
One of my personal favorite quotes is from James Dent, humorist and political cartoonist…
“A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining…the breeze is blowing…the birds are singing…and, the lawn mower is broken!”
Here is a message from a church bulletin board…
“Ladies, don’t forget the rummage sale. It’s a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands.”
Have you tried to fix your soaker hose with a whole lot of tape? I have…and, it didn’t last long. Share your soaker hose experiences by commenting below or dropping me a quick email: firstname.lastname@example.org.