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Common household remedies request

Soaker hoses: In series, or in parallel?

In other words, should I connect two soaker hoses into a single hose, and run that around my tomato patch, or should I get a Y junction, connect two hoses to it, and run one hose to one side of the patch, and the other to the other?

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quixote's picture
Submitted by quixote on

Unless you have complicated pressure equalizers along the soaker hose -- which isn't the way most people do it -- the hose is at highest pressure closest to the beginning and releases the most water there. The pressure drop-off by the end can be bad enough that the plants at the end get very little water. A y-junction means that the pressure drop-off is distributed a bit.

Valley Girl's picture
Submitted by Valley Girl on

And, lay them out to take into account the loss of pressure along the hoses.

Simple version something like below- but should probably be more windey/ snaky, even coiling or crisscrossing. Oh, and more subtle ;)

Valley Girl's picture
Submitted by Valley Girl on

Not exactly counter-current, but kinda like. Assumes pressure drops linearly along the soaker hoses**. (oh, not exactly correct as to distance between 2 parallel soaker hoses along the length of the patch- gotta take width (and length) into account too).. it all depends...

**would need expert info from physicist (fluid dynamics) or actual experienced soaker hose user.

cellocat's picture
Submitted by cellocat on

The best advice we've gotten is to run the hose around each plant 2 to 3 times. That only partially addresses the fact that you get less water toward the end of the hose, but thus far our plants are happy. Oh, and definitely bury them.

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

are still a better answer.

Get yourself a garden weasel and some 2'' perf pipe and some 1 1/2'' non-perf pipe. Start a hole with the garden weasel and then drive the perf pipe down to a depth of about 8 - 10 inches. Put your non-perf pipe inside this, suspended about 1/8'' above the bottom of the hole. Fill the non-perf pipe with water and it will trickle out thru the holes in the buried perf pipe.

Yes it's more trouble than soaker hoses ... but you won't waste water,
the plants at the ends of the strings won't starve for water, and you
can spend that five minutes pouring the sticks full every other morning
contemplating the beauty of your garden.

Plus the smell of you out there pouring the water will help keep whatever ate your beans last year out of your garden this year.

Submitted by lambert on

That sounds like work. Plus, now I'm locked into a hose configuration.

Submitted by jawbone on

closer to the plants' roots. Which the water sticks addresses even more...directly.

When the soaker hose is above ground, part of the water meant for the plants just goes into the air.

Also, burying the hose is basically a one time job.

In retropsect, I think that I never had enough hose close enough to my plants -- my soaker system was ruined by Allstate's remediation people and I've never replaced it as of yet. Allstate's "remediation" of my water damage resulted in a lot more damage to my house and yard....

Andre's picture
Submitted by Andre on

they'll dig themselves in over the course of years. I have some that have been used for several years and they're covered. The ideal is in gardens where they'll be no more planting, since they're a bitch to work around, and occasionally get damaged or cut. They do not work from pressure, but from volume, and there may be more water at the beginning of a run than the end, but not significantly, in my experience. Last year I tried an experiment. I had a cleared section about three by seven feet along which I put thee parallel soaker hoses (1/2 inch) for the length. I turned on the sill cock for an eighth of a turn (remember volume not pressure!) for a half hour. At the end of the half hour about 2.5 feet of the width was wet and the entire length was wet, and digging down it was wet to about six inches. I also don't believe completely that you can't run them connected up one after the other. I have one bigass garden in which there is 340 feet of soaker hose all tied together one after the other (they were added over several years) and the total hose still works and waters almost every area of this garden. I think they're a great item but a bitch to maintain.

thebewilderness's picture
Submitted by thebewilderness on

Plan the parallel layout in such a way that it is so obvious to you that you will not accidentally chop them up later.
Cover with two inches of mulch to start.
Remember that water does not like to run uphill.

Submitted by Lex on

Whatever works best for your situation will work. They don't lose enough volume over a long distance to really matter.

The trick is to lay them so that you get good coverage. I prefer "s" curves between the short dimension of the bed. It's easy to lay the straight lines of hose about two feet (or a little less) apart that way. The hoses will soak out a good long ways if you run the system properly (no more than 1/4 open for a long time).

I don't like leaving them out for the winter: too many breaks appear the following spring and if they're six inches deep it's a pain to fix the leak. Two inches down and covered with mulch is plenty. Remember that good soil wicks moisture extremely well and you're looking for water going down not out...assuming the bed is prepared properly and the roots can easily move down like they prefer. Put the water in the same spot on a regular basis and the roots will find it...it's their job.

E.g. I've put transplants in soil, in a pot into the unfilled pots of a combo drip/deepwater culture hydro setup just as a place to hold them under lights until i plant outside. In less than a day, a tomato has sent its roots out of the pot, through the mesh pot it sits in and produced a 16" root into the nutrient bath (and the soil was wet enough for the plant to be perfectly happy). By the next day the single root was covered in side branches and the plant and produced another long root into the nutrient solution.