28 Nov Outdoor equipment compared
Water is a vital part of your garden’s vitality. When it comes to watering your outside spaces, there are lots of options to choose from. Let’s take a look at some of the methods of watering outdoors and delve into the pros and cons of each.
Watering cans are the traditional choice and are defined as a portable container with a handle and spout. Considered to have been in use since 79 AD, this handy tool has really stood the test of time—helping us water our gardens across the centuries. Quick and easy to use, both indoors and out, time and again watering cans come up trumps in the garden irrigation department!
One of the great advantages to watering with a can is that you can use the drum of the can to dissolve soluble feed for you plants, ensuring that they stay fed as well as hydrated. So too, if you place a ‘rose’ on the end of the spout this breaks the stream of water into droplets to avoid excessive water pressure on the soil, which can disturb it, or on delicate plants, which can damage them. The same can be said for our handy helper, the garden hose—but we’ll get to that later.
There are some disadvantages to watering your garden this way, of course. For one, you are limited on the amount of water you can transport at one time, meaning multiple trips are often required. For another, you actually have to lift the weight of water in the can; so for gardeners with weaker arms or limited movement this may be more difficult.
At the other end of the spectrum is the most hands-free watering method—the irrigation system. These fantastic systems were originally introduced to aid farming and crop production en masse. They began as networks of channels looping through crop fields to direct water to plants and were being used as far back as 2600 BC. Much later, sprinkler systems and irrigation controllers were added to the original idea when indoor plumbing came into play.
What’s great about this method of watering is that it is completely self-sufficient and needs very little effort from you on a daily basis; with busy lives we all know what a relief this can be! You can now buy home irrigation systems that you can snake through garden borders and water your entire garden with a mere touch of the garden tap. Alternatively, if you’re going away or work unsociable hours you can invest in a timer that can switch your irrigation system on and off for you for a completely hands-off and worry-free option.
Irrigation systems are most suited to gardens with a large area to cover or for high-yield commercial production, especially when used with handy sub-features like automatic timers and sensors. I will say that one of the disadvantages of this system is that, with an automatic system, you lose some of the control. The act of looking at your plants, assessing their needs and giving them water as they need it—considering weather, seasonal effects and the health of each plant—can be a real joy for most gardeners. So, if you want the personal touch, you may want to look at other options. This can also help to conserve water, since real live humans can choose not to water during a downpour (!). Another downside is the cost—they can be expensive to install and you may find it’s not worth the extra money in a small garden.
With all of that said, my go-to garden helper has got to be the garden hose. I guess you could say that it is a happy medium between the aforementioned options. Lightweight, portable hoses can be used without strain at home and at the allotment and they often have lots of useful practical features when compared to a watering can or irrigation system.
Unlike watering cans, hoses can be used to water large areas and highly populated beds without the need to make multiple trips. They also give you the personal touch that we found was lacking somewhat with automatic irrigation systems and are often far less expensive.
Of all the hoses that are on the market these days, I have to say that my favourite by a long shot is the YOYO extendable hose by FITT. Traditionally, hoses have been tricky things to wind up, store and use—they kink and stem the flow of water at vital moments and can be a real hassle to untangle, especially as you wind your way around pots and garden ornaments. Not so for the YOYO hose! The new technology in this hose ensures that it does not kink or leak, ensuring continual water flow wherever you end up in the garden. So too, it extends upon use and returns to a compact size after use making it easy to wind up and store next to the garden tap or in a corner of the shed until needed. So too, the flow of water can be easily controlled using an adjustable head attachment which can produce a fine mist for seedlings or a strong spurt for blasting out bird baths—and everything in between.
With Christmas around the corner, there’s no better gift for a green-fingered loved one than this practical garden hose. It even comes in festive Christmas red, like it was meant to be. So, if you’re looking for inspiration, go with this modern take on a traditional favourite, and bag yourself a YOYO hose.