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I hate throwing anything away. And I am almost as fanatical about saving other people's "garbage" as I am about saving my own. Case in point: I found this hose sitting on my neighbor's curb on trash day, and I jogged over in my jammies to rescue it before the garbage trucks came. A quick test confirmed what I already suspected, that the hose had a few leaks. No problem!

Now, you could just get out the duct tape or buy one of those hose repair kits and end up with a perfectly usable hose. I've done that a few times, too. (Actually, I think I've only bought one hose in my entire life, and that was when we first moved into our house. The rest were trash finds!) But I have all the regular hoses I can possibly use. What I needed was a soaker hose.

Soaker hoses are my preferred way to water. They deliver water directly to the root zone of the plant, and water isn't wasted to evaporation or runoff. By watering at soil level rather than spraying the foliage, soaker hoses also help you avoid many fungal diseases. And when you pin them down and cover them with a bit of mulch, you won't even know they're there.

Making the Soaker Hose

The only thing you'll need to buy for this project (if you want to get fancy about it) is a hose cap to screw on to the end of the hose. If you don't want to buy that (it will cost you about $2.00, at the most) you can fold over the end of the hose and tape it very tightly with duct tape to stop the water from going through. The cap looks a little nicer, but you're hopefully going to be covering the whole thing with mulch anyway. You'll only be doing this on the male end of the hose. Leave the female end open to attach your regular garden hose to when it's time to water.

So, here's the very complicated process. Take your hose. Use a drill or a large-ish nail (a roofing nail would do) and make a series of holes along the entire length of the hose. I would recommend making them all on the same side of the hose. This way, you can lay the hose with the hole-side down and the water will go straight into the soil. Drill or poke your holes one to two inches apart.

That was easy.

Now, take your hole-y hose and place it in your garden. You can loop it around certain plants to make sure they get plenty of moisture. Use landscape pins (or a wire hanger that you've cut into four to five inch pieces and bent into U-shapes) to hold your hose in place. Cover it with mulch, leaving the end of the hose exposed to hook your regular hose up to. When it's time to water, hook up your hose, turn on the water, and let it run for about thirty minutes. You want to have the water low enough so that the water is just trickling out of the hose, but high enough that the water is flowing all the way to the end of your soaker hose. It will take a little practice and peeking under the mulch to make sure the water pressure is right.

So, there it is: a water-wise solution for your garden that keeps yet another item out of the landfill!

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