Saturday, August 22, 2009

A Brief Primer on Garden Hose Repair

I've decided that my first real foray back into gardening post-squirrel/veggie plot debacle would be "the bicycle path cum spectacularly attractive dry arroyo." The astute reader may recall that a dry arroyo was the solution suggested by landscape architect Jason Hodges to a thorny problem Walu and I have been wrestling with. Firstly, we were having trouble squeezing our bikes through the narrow space between the cars and the front yard, which led to secondly, the necessity of riding over our neighbor Nancy's carefully groomed lawn and carving an ersatz bike path there.

Nancy is a nice lady and so I feel bad about messing up her lawn, but I'd feel bad about it even if she were a harridan, since it isn't the sort of thing an avowed social capitalist ought to be doing, no matter how I happen to feel about lawns in general.

So, in the interest of fostering good social capital, an arroyo/bike path it is for the Bike Garden, and you, gentle reader, will have the opportunity to watch it as it develops this fall.

The first step in the process will be to transplant the buffalo grass and blue grama that is growing like gangbusters there to a troublesome spot under one of the live oaks (where I can't seem to get anything to grow). To do this presents a pickle, however: trying to dig in soil that hasn't seen a lot of rain in a while can be a lot like trying to bust up a mess of concrete with a soggy toothpick. But the good news is that if you water it in real good the day before, you'll have no trouble a'tall.

And that is exactly what I set out to do this morning; but there was a tiny problem, owing to the aforementioned squirrels. It seems that in their charming little "summer o' fun," during which they chewed through the backyard garden hose the way drunken frat boys chew through pledge week (sorry about the reference; I was awakened in the middle of last night by some pre-pledge alcoholic revelry across the alleyway and I'm still a wee bit cranky about it; to give them credit, the boys did take it inside after the fire broke out...but I digress...) , the squirrels decided that it would be loads of laffs to aerate the front yard hose as well. All of which meant that before I could even contemplate starting my grand project, I had some repairing to do.

Now, I'm not the first person who ever needed to repair a leaky hose. In fact, there are devices called, cleverly, "hose menders," designed for taking care of just this problem, and they are available in the garden section at any of your local hardware stores. Here are a couple of examples that I have used with great success in the past:

Method 1

Method 2

I think Method Number 2 looks much neater and classier than Method Number 1, but they both do the job effectively, and have saved many a garden hose of mine from premature recyclement. Garden hoses are not cheap; a good one will set you back 30 bucks cash money, and not-so-good ones are not worth even contemplating. But, as you might have already guessed, there is a rub. These handy hose mender devices cost around three or four dollars apiece, and the more leaks you have in your hose, the less cost effective it is to repair it.

For example, in the hose I use in the front yard, there are 22 squirrel-induced puncture wounds. Simple math gives us this cost/benefit calculation:

22 x 3 =

...oh, let's see...

...carry the 3, divide the 7...

= eleventybazillion dollars.

Which is far more than it would cost to replace the hose altogether. Which I'm not prepared to do.

And so I turned to another arrow in our quiver of hose repair options, our good friend, Duct Tape:

(I kid you not, there were that many holes. You see why I despair...)

Aren't I the clever girl, though? Mind you, it still leaks like a sieve, but the effect is much more "soaker hose" than "raging geyser," and this evening when I tried it out, it certainly seemed to get the job done, and for much less than eleventybazillion dollars.

I think the next thing I will try is using the duct tape on the squirrels themselves. And while I'm at it, maybe I can get the boys across the alleyway to help. But that's a post for another day.


  1. Duct tape: it holds together the UNIVERSE!!!

  2. They certainly did a good job on that hose - and so did you :-)

  3. I'm impressed! Though I'm not sure whether I'm more impressed by your squirrels or by the repair job. I cannot imagine chewing through a garden hose, and my teeth are pretty good.

  4. Hi. I just read what you're planning to do with the Buffalo Grass and Blue Grama, and I am not sure transplanting them to your troublesome spot beneath the oak is going to work ... that spot is probably a problem because it's so shaded.

    I'm guessing you're in a drier clime (possibly the reference to creating an aroyo, and your comment on how well the Buffalo and Grama are doing gave that away ... ) so most sedges (genus Carex) would probably not work under your oak --- too dry.

    But there are some sedges that do work in drier shaded areas.

    I don't know what any of your other requirements are and I don't know whether these are native to your area, but you might have better luck under your oak with any of the following:

    Carex pensylvanica
    Carex cephalophora
    Carex radiata
    Carex rosea
    Carex normalis

    I just replanted my lawn with Buffalo Grass and Blue Grama, and it looks great, except under my Honey Locust where it refuses to fill in. So I've been contemplating a problem similar to your Oak issue for a couple of months. I'm planning to plant some sedges sometime in October when things have gone dormant in my area (Chicago).

    You might want to try this too. Couldn't hurt, right?

    Love the blog. :-)

  5. Rick S, you are a prince among men. Thanks for the suggestion.

  6. I might have been tempted to just punch a lot more holes into the thing and truly turn it into a soaker hose!

  7. I'm laughing WITH you, not AT you! Now I know how soaker hoses are made; I guess squirrels DO have a purpose in life.

  8. You have made a good case for your point of view. However I must disagree. Toss It Hose Reels


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