Tutorial: Garden hose repair

Although for most of my watering tasks I try to rely on my rain barrels, occasionally I do need to use a hose. And as hoses tend to develop cracks and leaks over time, I take time once or twice a year to do some mending. It’s easy to do, and much less expensive than buying a new hose.

I came into a discarded garden hose recently and am carving it up into lengths to join portions of soaker hose. Using short lengths of non-soaker hose in between the soaker lengths reduces water waste in those areas that don’t need watering. hose repair assemble materials

Here, I have two screwdrivers, a flat head and a Phillips head (x-head). I also have a tape measure, male and female hose fittings (be sure to get a size that matches your hose diameter), and rubber washers. A knife or box cutter is also required for this task.

The fittings can be purchased at any hardware store for a few dollars apiece. Rubber washers can be purchased singly for a few cents apiece, or in larger packets, ensuring you’ve got them when you need them. While these are plastic fittings, and this particular brand has worked well for me in the past, brass fittings are also available, and though they cost a bit more they are well worth the investment to repair a high-quality hose.

Repairing a hose:

1. Measure the length of hose you need, mark it, and cut it. Make a straight cut; it will reduce leaks when you attach the fittings.

2. Determine which fitting you need. Each length of hose should have one male and one female end.

3. Insert the tapered end of the appropriate fitting into the cut length of the hose.  It may help to lubricate the end of the fitting with a bit of petroleum jelly. Make sure the hose comes up to the top of the fitting’s threads. Below on the right is a well-seated male fitting.

4. Secure the new attachment with a clamp (these often come with the fitting, or can be purchased separately ).

That’s it! Once you mend your first hose you’ll be very impressed with yourself and will start looking for other things to mend. This practice is habit-forming and may result in your spending lots of time in hardware stores poring over bins of clamps and screws.

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Tool review: Cobra Head crevice weeder

A few months ago, I came into a new tool: the Cobra Head weeder and cultivator. This review was not solicited and I am not being compensated for it.

The Cobra Head crevice weeder

The Cobra Head crevice weeder

The tool has a molded, recycled plastic handle that is quite sturdy and stays cool in my hand. The bright blue color keeps the tool from getting lost in the grass or garden beds. The tool head is thin and wide, shaped like a cobra’s head (surprise).

the cobra's head

The company promotes the tool as behaving like “a steel fingernail.” It does. Its thin blade can wedge into spots that my dandelion weeder can’t. This tool brilliantly weeds the expansion joints in my concrete driveway and in between patio stones. One long scrape across the driveway cleared most of the weeds, and the deeply-rooted ones came out smoothly when I turned the tool 90 degrees and tipped the head under the roots.

The tool is a fine cultivator as well. While I still prefer using a hand rake for bigger jobs, this tool can dig deeply into the soil, pull out tenacious roots, cut narrow slits for dropping in seedlings or transplants, and get into tight spots that other tools can’t.

I haven’t used the tool for long periods of time, but I can imagine my hand might get tired after extended use because the blue plastic grip is hard and non-ergonomic. That’s the only complaint I have about the tool. If it came to the point that I developed muscle fatigue from using it, I would wrap a bit of pipe insulation around the handle to ease the burden on my hand. It can be used either left-handed or right-handed, by the way.

This tool might not make my list of my top five essential garden tools, but it makes my top ten. I’ve only had it for two months, but already I find myself reaching for it regularly. I would recommend this tool to anyone.