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giveaway: i hate to water, but met a hose to love

sprinkler on stool
IHATE TO WATER, but unless the heavens provide an inch a week, it requires human intervention on these two hilly acres with thousands of plants, a well that is understandably precious and limited, and no irrigation system beyond a few basic spigots to connect to. Lately, we’ve been blessed locally with extra rain; any day now, it could be hose-dragging time—which isn’t as bad as it used to be since I finally found a hose I can handle (and you can, too, if you win one of two I’ve bought to share).

First, a disclaimer, since my old-style journalistic policy is not to accept samples of garden products or plants, even for my giveaways, and because I almost never write about a product:

I got my first length of this particular hose when it was a prototype, in an inadvertent swap with the man developing it. Jeff Thomas of Water Right Inc. emailed me when I left my job and started A Way to Garden; he’d heard I was consulting, and wondered if I might be free to help with something. We met, and though we never did work together, that morning I swapped some of my ideas for a bagel, tea—and a piece of the most unusual-looking garden hose I’d ever seen.

I know more than the average gardener about garden hose, because at Martha Stewart, I worked intensively with manufacturers on her original K-Mart line. Plus, I own many, many hundreds of feet of hose, all of which I thought was top quality to match my tough site—but I nevertheless have been dissatisfied with every foot.

Even the very best—sporting claims like “kink-free” and multiple “ply” (the layers of reinforcing materials that make up the tube, up to eight of them), or better-than-average fittings (still mostly junk), and maybe even dyed a color that didn’t make my teeth ache–even with all those improvements, hose is my least-favorite tool.  In fact, I blame traditional garden hose design for my bad relationship with the chore of watering.

It’s just too heavy (especially “kink-free,” since attempts at reducing kinking typically add weight). Though it’s often hot when I need to water, I am not built like a fireman, and lugging hundred-foot lengths to set sprinklers in one spot after another is no fun.

Worse than kinking, it gets damaged wherever a kink tries to happen. Ever notice how once you crease a hose too far, that spot will be where creases occur again and again? No coincidence. When you bend multi-ply hose beyond a certain point, you actually damage all those layers, and leave a memory in the material, a weak point.

And by then it has already also probably started to leak near the connectors because the fittings were cheaply made, and it’s time for repair…or what most people do instead: haul it off to the dumpster. Do we really need more “disposable” PVC products in our lives?

straight50olive
SO IN 2008, THERE I WAS with this attractive olive-colored, narrow, almost weightless length of prototype hose from Jeff Thomas, thinking: What a nice man, but this must be just another garden-product gimmick, right? This looks too sleek to actually work.

Obviously the punchline is that it wasn’t a gimmick (or I wouldn’t be giving away two hoses). When Water Right started selling its Slim & Light line, I ordered more, and am gradually retiring my old clunkers as they give out.

All of Water Right’s hoses (they make coil hoses as well, for smaller jobs) have some unseen features. They are drinking-water safe (most hoses contain and leach lead and other chemicals), made of polyurethane, not PVC, a stronger material requiring fewer “ply.” They have machined fittings made of solid brass plated in chrome. They’re made in the United States, and even come in nice colors (including a new blue shade called “sunken pool” that Martha Stewart selected.

Even though the hoses are really slender and lightweight, at just 1 ounce per foot—meaning a 50-footer weighs just 3 pounds—they deliver 4 to 5 gallons per minute, plenty to run my sprinkler (and a slightly wider diameter model is being introduced in July). Speaking of which, if I can just find a sprinkler that I really love just as much…watering might be not so bad after all.

By the way, that’s my favorite piece of watering gear in the photo up top: an old metal kitchen stool from the tag sales. I use it to prop up a sprinkler to do small beds here and there around the yard, when placing the sprinkler on the ground just sprays the water right into the foliage and flowers.

How to Win 1 of 2 50-Foot Hoses

BY COMMENTING BELOW, you enter to win one of two Water Right 50-foot Slim & Light hoses that I will purchase for you (you can choose your favorite color). All you have to do:
Tell me your take on watering: love it, hate it, have any secrets to it? I know that Americans are suffering every extreme this year, from record drought to record flooding, but if there ever is a “normal” year in your garden, how do you grapple with your watering chores? (Or you can tell us how bad things are in your garden and area because of water troubles; complaints are fine, too.)

You know me: I won’t count you out if you just want to say “I want to win” or something to that effect. If you have any watering tips or rants—all the better.

I’ll choose the two winners after entries close at midnight, Sunday July 3. Good luck to all.

  1. KATHY says:

    Happy 4th. of July Margret! Since I work full time in a greenhouse and lugging heavy no-kink hoses all day, my poor arms and back would love to receive the hose you are offering. My job would truly be alittle bit of heaven then1
    Thanks, and I love your blog like eveyone else.

  2. Elizabeth Diane says:

    I use Mr Mister and have been fairly happy. Each year I have to work with it some but over all, it works well. Timers are a big plus!

  3. Becky says:

    I think I missed the deadline but have so enjoyed reading that there is hope! We have hoses on the four corners of our house and they’re still difficult to keep unkinked as I need to them to be as I drag them up and around the corner to the deck, etc. Yuck!
    Love your blog and newsletters – they are Real and fun to read.

    Hoping you had a good fourth!

  4. Mary Alfonso says:

    We installed a pump in our lake out back. We live on Tellico lake and are allowed to use the water. The lake is full of fish inmulson and grows everything better. Plus we save a lot of water bills.

  5. Bradley says:

    Hoses look great. I’ve been able to make due with many watering issues with a gasket or two…$1.50 for ten use in each connection makes the leaks go away. Hope i win thanks for all of your insight!!!

  6. angie nelson says:

    i love to water. Its Zen like for me. It how i relax. the hose looks awesome! i have gone thru many many hoses and this one looks like it can stand up to me and my rigourous watering!

    1. Margaret says:

      Hi, Mary. It is soothing fo rme to water the pots near the house and so on…just hate(d) the dragging hoses to the perimeters of the place to water big areas. But you’re right: early morning it can be sweet.

  7. Clare says:

    After thinking about this post every time I’ve watered for the past couple of weeks, I have succumbed and ordered one of these hoses. My hundreds of feet of “never-kink” faded-aqua-blue hoses have had me in fits for years. “Never-kink, my a**” has become my hand-watering mantra. Yet my heart is still open with hope, Margaret, and I shall follow your suggestion. Can’t wait to give my new hose a try!

  8. margaret murphy says:

    We have an old lake place in Minnesota that has several trees and a lawn that in this draught time, is forever in need of a drink. I,or actually more often than not, my husband, drags our much extended Kmart kinking old hose all around the property and then attaches it to the sprinkler. I think it’s rather meditative for him, but I find myself lusting after underground systems that are on the newer properties on the Lake. Must admit, to quote Joni Mitchell, when I’m not on hose duty, the hissing of summer lawns sooths my envious moments.

  9. Dhyana says:

    Have you found lead-free, other heavy metal-free hose accessories? I’m looking for hose nozzle, sprinkler, soaker hose, couplings, “Y” splitters….and they seem to mostly have brass parts (potential for lead leaching). Thanks!

    1. margaret says:

      I know this brand is rated as drinking water safe (unlike most hoses). I suggest you contact them directly re: the fittings — I cannot speak to that.

  10. Virginia says:

    I am the one in my household who has to do the watering. I have tried all of the various types of hoses and am still looking for the perfect one. Now the one in the backyard is too short and the one in the front too long. Both hoses kink and the longest one will not roll up on the stand. Would be glad to try a new hose and hope to finally find the winner.

  11. Mark Allard says:

    Hello there,

    About 5 years ago, purchased a 100ft 5/8″ ID garden hose that has really held up well to the test of time. It is black with a yellow stripe, made from recycled rubber with solid brass couplings. I’ve been searching to purchase another but cannot find anything like it anywhere. Do you have a clue of who the manufacturer was and where I might find more?
    I believe I got it from one of the ‘big box’ stores–most likely Home Depot but am unsure.

  12. Tom says:

    I got a black hose like Mark’s description from WalMart a year or two ago. It’s 50 feet long, a little stiffer than I’m used to, but also seems less inclined to kink than the previous ones. It’s black with a gold stripe. I think it was make in the USA.

  13. Frani says:

    As i get older, I find that dragging hose around is so difficult. I love my garden but have come to dread the “hose battle”. I would love and appreciate a hose that is lightweight, with good fittings so I don’t get sprayed every time I water. Thank you so mush for the opportunity to win one!

  14. Emelia Carrington says:

    My sister makes a gadget of PVC pipe 3\4 size that stands about 2.5 feet that is connected to a sprinkle head on an elbow. At the bottom, she glues in a hose connector in an elbow section. The pipe lends stability to the system. The height gives it an edge over her tall flowers. Attached on top elbow is a “Can’t Beat Them” sprinkler from Illinois L.R. Nelson manufacturing company. This sprays in a circular, outward, and slightly downward softening rain. Using a Y connector from the main hose she can hook up more than one and control the flow of water to each shower head. She stabilizes this pipe watering system to a rebar with zip ties. In the winter she just disconnects the hoses.

  15. Carol says:

    I would like a hose that just doesn’t leak at the connections. I’ve bought several and yet have to find one that is watertight at the faucet and at the sprayer end.

  16. Carol Lombard says:

    I love sitting in the garden, sprinkling seeds in the spring and the wonderful aroma of the earth dampening as I spray.

  17. Toni Sunderland says:

    The thing I hate most about watering is when I inadvertently knock over one of my little (or big) plants while I’m dragging the hose down a row!

    1. margaret says:

      Hi, Toni. I have “hose guards” stuck at key corners of the garden everywhere. Like metal stakes that are sturdy to prevent my pulling the hose across the bed.

  18. Leilani Ozment says:

    Rather than put in a sprinkler system, I have run hoses in my beds permanently and covered them with mulch. I just have to turn on the faucet with timer attached when watering. I hate dragging around a hose.

  19. Jan Ferruccio says:

    This is just what I’ve been searching for. Lugging heavy hoses is too much for me these days. Thank you for yet another great tip plus a chance to win!

  20. I am so there with you with there is no such thing as a hose that is easy, but I keep trying. Both of my two hoses, both 75ft are in need of replacing. One is gone and tried another that was promised to be the best hose, it is better but certainly not the best. So I am still looking. Like most gardeners my garden is a maze and hell getting hoses around, on top of that I’m now recognizing my age and diminishing physical strength so a lightweight hose that is a workhorse would be a marvelous thing!

  21. Mary H says:

    I really want to try this hose. I have 2 light hoses and I love how easy they are too handle. Both of mine are not the best quality and have burst at times. I have a husband that can fix most things so I am still going sing them, but glad to hear there are good quality models.

  22. Linda Counterman says:

    I’m getting a little older and dragging hoses is getting more difficult. Years ago I bought a springler stake it was small and you just stuck in ground where ever you needed it. I purchased it at Kmart, and it was a Martha Stewart product. Wish she would make again. They did rust after 3 or 4 years, but were so reasonable in price.

  23. My two beefs with hoses are the “fako-cako” green colors they come in, and the connection points at the spigot that always seem to leak. Those turquoise green colors are so obtrusive in the garden and against the house, I want my hoses to camouflage and disappear. The drips might be because I tug too hard to get that last couple of inches closer to my plants, then the brass connections start dribbling. I use plumbers tape and fresh washers to help a bit, but I have quit expecting a drip free connection. Why can’t manufacturers take the inevitable tugging into consideration and make a better joint between rubber and brass?

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