Now’s a good time to think about buying new hoses. Maybe last year you didn’t have enough length to reach all the areas you wanted to, or you have an old hose that’s so badly kinked it’s beyond aggravating whenever you have to use it.
I like to lay my hoses out on the driveway on a sunny day and let them warm up for an hour or two so that they’re supple and then rewind them onto my hose reel. This also drains any water left in them. I usually do this in the fall but if you hurriedly tossed yours in the garden shed before the first snow, spring is a good time to get it unkinked and coiled neatly ready for it’s first use.
While I’m rewinding, I’m looking for cracks or splits and I mark them with a sharpie so that I’ll notice if any leaks are coming from those areas and I can fix them.
Yes, I’ve been repairing my garden hoses for a few years now and you can easily repair yours too. I plan to do a tutorial post on this as soon as my garage is dried out enough to work in.
In the meantime you can make a list of how many hoses you already have and their lengths and diameters. Garden hoses usually come in two diameters 1/2” and 3/4”. Figure out how many extra feet you need to reach from your water source to the furthest point on your property. You should buy all of your hoses with the same diameter so that you can connect them if you need extra length.
For most suburban lots a fifty foot hose is plenty of length but if you live in the country like I do and have an acre or larger size lot, you would probably want to double that.
My advice is to buy the best quality hose that you can afford. The gold standard for me has always been an all rubber hose with brass fittings because it’s so flexible, even when cold and lasts forever but these are getting harder to find and more expensive, when you can find them.
I don’t really like the plastic reinforced hoses because they’re stiff when cold, they crack easily and worse, kink every time you use them. They have fittings that leak after a few uses and they’re hard to coil neatly or wind on a reel. If you don’t mind wrestling with an unruly hose and/or throwing a hose away every other year, I guess these serve their purpose.
Vinyl hoses that contain a percentage of rubber are an acceptable choice. Look for a hose that’s flexible and has good quality fittings, not thin and tinny. Ask the salesperson to untie the hose package so you can check the flexibility.
Oh, and while you’re shopping, buy a package of o-rings or gaskets for your hoses. These cost very little but should be replaced every year so your hose won’t leak where it’s connected to a faucet or another hose.
Every year, I’m puzzled why my sprinklers don’t “sprinkle” the first time I turn them on.
I usually find some debris like grass clippings or dirt clogging the little sprinkle ports, but I’ve found spider webs and once an acorn in the base of one courtesy of a little field mouse. Canned air works good to clear out the ports or you can use a metal skewer. Anything that’s small enough to get into the tiny openings and ream them out.
Always keep / read the instructions you get with your sprinkler. Sometimes they’re written on the packaging and sometimes they come in a separate sheet. They will help you set up your sprinkler so that you waste the least amount of water and get the best coverage.
Are your garden tools where they should be or scattered in several places? Collect them all up now—spades, hand tools, pruners, edgers and wipe off any dried dirt with a damp rag and look them over.
If your hand pruners get a lot of use, take them to be sharpened professionally. A good pair of pruners are worth a small investment every couple of years to keep them in good working order and will save your plants and shrubs from being mangled by dull blades. Spades, shovels and lawn edgers should also be sharpened so that it’s easier to cut through tough sod or rocky soil. You can do this yourself with a sharpening stone or file, then spray them with a small amount of WD-40 and wipe off the excess.
If you tend to lose your hand tools when you lay them down on the grass or in your garden, spray the handles with a couple of coats of fluorescent spray paint in any color but green.
Did you toss your garden gloves on the potting bench last fall when you were finished with the last of your outdoor chores? Are they still there? This is a good time to collect all of your garden gloves and toss them in the washer. If you need new gloves, add them to your gardening shopping list.
I have several pairs of gardening gloves. My favorites are Atlas brand because you can literally pick up a dime wearing them. I rotate my gloves so that I’m always putting on a dry pair and I wash them after I’ve worn them several times unless they’re really grimy or I’ve handled diseased plant material or chemicals. This is both for my health as well as my plants health.