All about Garden Hoses
You can tell a great deal about gardeners from the condition of their hoses. Skilled gardeners know that a hose is an essential gardening tool; they know it must be maintained and stored properly for it to do its important job. No gardener wants the frustration of a tangled or cracked hose, the waste of a leaking hose, or the danger of tripping over a trailing hose.
Properly maintained, a hose can last for many years. Proper maintenance means putting the hose away after every use. When you put the hose away it is less likely to become kinked, get run over by a lawnmower, become a tripping hazard, or rot from soil moisture.
Simple storage mechanisms make it easy to put a hose away. With a hose reel you just turn a crank to wind up the hose. A hose pot is a practical and attractive way to coil a hose and store it safely out of sight. Hose hangers that attach to the side of the house or garage are common storage solutions.
The design of the hanger spreads the weight of the hose evenly, avoiding the kinks you get from hanging a hose on a nail. However you store your hose, be sure to store it out of the sun.
Empty all the water and remove any attachments before you put a hose away for the winter. Even though open ends allow for expansion and contraction of freezing water, the freezing and thawing can weaken the fabric of the hose.
Replace washers at the slightest sign of a leak or drip coupling. Some gardeners put in new washers every spring as a precaution. Besides being messy a dripping hose wastes precious water resources.
Even though hose reels and similar products do the coiling for you, it’s a valuable skill to be able to coil a hose yourself:
How to Coil a Hose
1. Turn off the water to the hose.
2. Hold the hose a few feet from the spigot.
3. Bend a loop—about three feet in diameter—in the hose
4. Keeping hold of the hose, reach a foot or two farther from the spigot and make another loop in the same direction of the first loop. Stack the second loop on top of the first.
5. Make loops and stack them on top of each other until the whole hose is coiled.
A garden hose is at least as important as a spade, a rake, or a trowel. Treat it right and it will serve you well.
Want to learn more about garden hoses?
Learn about the different types of garden hoses from Popular Mechanics magazine.
Check out these tips on storing hoses.
Watch this video on taking care of garden hoses.