So, with the recent heat wave (when I say “heat wave” it felt more like someone was blow-torching the back of my neck – through the factor 50) and with all the watering I had to do. Not only my own garden by the way, but also for friend who is away in the south of France for a month – for some cooler weather – which was taking an hour a day. I got to wondering what better alternatives we sell at work for this chore we do for the plants we love.

Some of them are fairly obvious; whilst others are absolute genius if you ask me and I’ve already put my “staff order” in to help me out.

First and foremost, I have to say that I treated myself to a new hose this year. I got so fed up with the kinks, knots and tangles of my good old normal hosepipe that I decided to try something a bit different. I’d seen the “expanding hoses” on TV before but as they were a new innovation at the time; they were fairly expensive compared to a normal hose.

Watering with the Easy Hose

This is no longer the case, I ordered one of our Easy Hoses and quite frankly, I’m amazed! This weird looking cloth covered hose “crinkles” up to next to nothing when it’s not in use and looks like it wouldn’t reach my back door, let alone the sweet potatoes at the end of the garden. But turn on the tap and it literally “grows” to over 3 times its size! What’s more, it can’t kink and seems to untangle itself too, so I’m one happy chappie with it! Plus when you turn it off again it shrinks away back to its original size which still amuses me for no particular reason.

So, my amusing hosepipe aside, what else do we have that might be useful in a hot crisis?

Watering with an irrigation kit

The most obvious choice is an irrigation kit, these are a good price and each kit can water up to 22 individual pots or baskets. It’s literally just a case of running the pipe to the first pot, cutting it, putting in a “T” junction to take the first dripper and then carrying on to the next pot. There’s over 75 feet of pipe (23 metres) and so it’ll comfortably sort out a good run of different pots and baskets and to be honest, at the price, you can easily buy another and extend it if you need to. Once you’re all set up then it’s just a case of plugging it onto the outdoor tap and turning it on. Leaving it on for a few hours won’t flood anywhere as there’s a pressure regulator too so it’s all nice, safe and easy!

the auto waterer

If you’re a tomato fan and are constantly worrying about blossom end rot, poor tomatoes and finding that keeping your plants well watered is almost impossible then the tomato auto-waterer collar  is extremely useful. It’s a clear plastic open ended cone that just pushes into the soil/compost around the plant, fill it up with water to the brim and allow the water to percolate into the soil nice and slowly, rather than have it run off and water the weeds somewhere else! It has two other bonuses as well, the first one is that the top of the collar has a “double-back” on it which means that snails can’t climb up and over and munch away on your plants inside. The second bonus is that you don’t have to use it exclusively for tomatoes! If you’ve any other young plants that are in need of a bit of extra care and protection then pop one of these collars around it and away it grows!

automatic watering system

For something a little more hi-tech and extremely clever there’s the Garden Gear Automatic Watering System. A handy little timer and pump combo that can be popped into a bucket of water and have up to ten little pipes running from it on a timed setting. It could easily be used in greenhouses, conservatories etc and there’s no reason why you couldn’t run the pipes out to a flower bed either, if you have a large enough reservoir of water to put the pump in, it could easily last for a week at a time – perfect for holidays!

My last two are probably my favourites, one because it’s so simple and the second because I think it looks fun!

The Water Wizard, what a simple concept but so clever too. You can recycle your large “fizzy pop” bottles ….. In fact, here’s a video I prepared earlier….

Lastly, and by no means least, is the Mighty Dripper! This bad boy can hold over 2 gallons of water and does exactly what it says on the tin, it really is very easy to set up and I tend to think of it as an intravenous drip for my plants, I’m tempted to hand a couple on my fence (maybe decorate them) and fill them up and let them happily water 20 pots (10 each), only having to fill up the bags each day, or every other day would be so much easier – the big plus is that I can use water collected from my water butt too, rather than mains water, and could also add in liquid or soluble feed once a week!

Here’s another video (not with me in it though!)

So while I sometimes don’t mind going out and watering, it’s also handy to know I’ve got other options available to me, I’m definitely going to try one or two (can you guess which?)

Graham Ward

I’ve been gardening for as long as I can remember, my first earliest memory being planting seeds in my Grandfather’s prestige flower bed and having a prize lettuce growing there, which he proudly left to show everyone.

Since then, gaining knowledge and experience from both my Grandfather and my Father, I’ve continued to garden, both as a hobby and later on as a professional gardener and landscaper for 12 years. I love all aspects of it, from the design and build, to the planting out of summer borders with plants you’ve either grown from seed or raised from plugs. Unusual varieties always catch my eye and I’m keen to try growing them, even if sometimes it means learning from my mistakes.

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