Return to the Organic Gardening Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Hose free gardening...

Posted by xhalestarz 8 (My Page) on
Wed, Mar 16, 11 at 12:52

In my crazy pursuit of both organic gardening and reducing plastic use for my family, I'm looking into an alternative to our garden hose - as they are not safe for drinking from.
I know that there are some drink safe hoses out there now, but the husband understandably doesn't want to spend the money when he bought a quality hose a few years ago.
So I'm looking at possible ways to water without the hose - I know this may be an impossible goal, but I'd like to look into my options.
I figured that using watering cans would actually be a good way for my little boys to help water - better than how they hose water, anyway.
I've also read a little about container or pitcher watering, but wonder how that would work on, say, a bed of baby greens. our veggie beds are raised, if that's any consideration.
Thanks for any help!


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Hose free gardening...

Are you going to lap the water off the ground after you water the plants? What is the carbon footprint of a galvanized watering can and is there any risk from zinc? Is your house plumbing PVC? What would the carbon footprint be if your boy tripped and fell carrying water and had to be transported to the emergency room - would it be greater than a bucket from Home Depot?

Dan


 o
RE: Hose free gardening...

I understand that some people wouldn't care and like I said, there may not be a good solution, I was just curious what other options are out there. I've found some other drink safe hoses that are much cheaper than I orginally found, so that may be an option now.
If you don't have any ideas, that's fine, but let's not argue please.


 o
RE: Hose free gardening...

I was watching an old German movie about Kenya during WWII. They were using buckets for their garden water there.


 o
RE: Hose free gardening...

If you don't have any ideas, that's fine, but let's not argue please.

I gave you several ideas. Let me be explicit:

o My idea is there is no reason why any trace chemicals in a non-pot hose would poison your food.

o My other idea is you can use a container to haul water, like millions - if not hundreds of millions - in the Third World do.

o My other idea from that is to help you calculate the costs of your choices, to balance the risk of the infinitesimal danger from the hose vs alternatives such as hauling water.

That is: no reason to avoid watering with a regular hose, but if you must, what is the carbon footprint from your other choices, and are they greater than using a regular old hose that the teeny amount of chemicals will go away in the soil or plant metabolic processes or ultraviolet rays of the sun?

HTH.

Dan


 o
RE: Hose free gardening...

  • Posted by jolj 7b/8a-S.C.,USA (My Page) on
    Wed, Mar 16, 11 at 21:04

I see no need or reason to do away with your hose.
What about flood channels in the middle of your beds.
I do think you are right to look for a better way.
If Mr.Bell had not made the phone, we would not have cell phones today.
Build a better mouse trap.
The Right brother did, before Kitty Hawk.


 o
RE: Hose free gardening...

Mel Bartholomew in his "Square Foot Gardening" suggests toting water to the garden in a bucket and then ladeling that water out to each plant. It can be done, provided your garden is well mulched. Since water weighs about 8 pounds per gallon a 2 1-1/2 gallon pail of water will be fairly heavy.
Galvanized buckets tend to leach zinc inot the water in them and plastic buckets tend to put other things in the water, so while your hose could, it laid out in the sun full of water, have some lead and/or other things in the water shortly after you start the water throught that hose the water will be the same thing as comes out of the faucets in yourt house.


 o
RE: Hose free gardening...

Thanks for your help, stuff to think about.
I read square foot gardening, but awhile ago, and didn't remember that suggestion. I guess it elimanates wasting a lot of water. And, if supervised properly, the kids could have fun doing that, even if just in their own garden bed.
I did find a company with cheaper drink safe hoses that I like, so we may go with that -the initial one I ran across was more than $3 a foot, so it just wasn't an option for us.
thanks again


 o
RE: Hose free gardening...

Just a wee thought about moving water by hand. Try to set up your garden/watering system so you aren't compacting the soil by walking on it many, many times each season. Soil compaction can be a real bummer for the soil and and a pain in the back to correct. One step on certain soils that are too wet can cause a real, long term problem for that spot, no point in creating a problem trying to fix another.

I used to have a water bottle made of woven flax, the kind you see hanginging on the front of old model Ts in front of the radiators, bought it new in the early 1990s. Water tasted great out of that bottle and was cool in the summer from the evaporation, too bad the bottle finally rotted and apparently the Irish aren't making them any more. Maybe somebody makes a hose out of the same stuff :)


 o
RE: Hose free gardening...

Personally, if I had to water my garden with a watering can, I think I would give up gardening. [g] I do applaud your pursuit of organic gardening and getting rid of plastics. I've been growing organically for 30+ years and it is entirely worth it. I'm also trying to get rid of plastics. I've had a rubber hose for the past 10 years and I love it.


 o
RE: Hose free gardening...

I have rain barrels and I haul 1000's of gallons per season in five-gallon buckets and watering cans. I am a stronger than average male and I can tell you that lifting water out of barrels is pretty hard on the joints. Women tend to be less macho and so go for smaller amounts and don't damage themselves as much, so you have that advantage.


 o
RE: Hose free gardening...

Using the hose you have is going to create the lowest carbon footprint. Buying anything new whether it be a new hose or a new watering can in going to increase that.

If you're worried more about what chemicals might leach out of the hose at this point I wouldn't be too concerned. Most leaching from plastics is going to occur in the 1st 6 months or less of use. After that little additional leaching is going to occur simply from use. I still use my old Nalgen water bottles even though they were made before the days of "BPA-free" because I've had them for years and washed them hundreds of times. Any exposure from them occurred years ago and now they're just as safe and the new ones.

Now heating the plastic would likely cause some additional leaching but not as much as it would have when new. So basically if your hose is a couple of years old very little is going to still be leaching from it. I'd avoid letting it lay in the sun and get hot if you're really concerned. Also water standing in the hose will increase it's contact time with the plastic and thus increase the potential to pick up chemicals from the plastic. Therefore, drain your hose after each use and you'll further reduce chances of anything ending up in the water.

Finally even if there is a small amount of lead leaching out of your hose it's probably not going to make any difference in your garden. Plants don't really take up lead, and those that do tend to do so in such small quantities that you'd have to have severely contaminated soil (I'm talking industrial waste levels here not anything you'd encounter from home use) for anything at all to show up in the plants. So the tiny amounts of lead you might be adding to your garden soil from the hose are not going to end up in your veggies.

Also just so you know those "drink safe" or 'FDA approved for drinking water' hoses only eliminate the lead you'll still have the issues of other chemicals like BPA or phalates depending upon what the hose is made from. Plants do uptake BPA and seem to be quite efficient at doing so (some studies found plant could uptake as much as 75% of the BPA in the growing media). Phalates on the other had biodegradate quickly and thus are not accumulated in plants. So buying a new 'drink safe' hose could result in your veggies containing more chemicals not less than just using the regular old hose you already own.

Is your head spinning yet? I haven't even gotten into the issue of what is already in the water by the time in comes out of your tap. You could use a rain barrel but rain in most areas has some contaminates and if the rain is collected off a roof/gutter system it may pick up chemicals from the roofing material.

You might be able to find a hose that is lined with a plasticizer free coating but they're rare and expensive I've never seen them marketed as garden hoses only seen these as tubing intended for use in RV/Camper/Boat water systems. Although I havn't looked that much so you may be able to find them.

You could try watering from a bucket but anything plastic is going to have similar issues, metals have other issues and some types may leach heavy metals. You could look for a wooden one but these days most wood products are treated to prevent rot or painted or varnished and thus you have exposure from those things.

Basically my point is that avoiding contaminates in our lives is pretty much impossible. The best we can do is pick and choose to what and how we want to be exposed. It's never as simple as 'I'll just buy this new hose or use that bucket'.


 o
RE: Hose free gardening...

Good post AlaskaChris - and of course there's the issue of what happens to the old hose. Presumably it ends up in landfill.

There's also possibly scope for reducing the amount of watering you have to do by using various conservation techniques. That would also reduce your potential exposure to any chemicals.


 o
RE: Hose free gardening...

Yes, it goes pretty much without saying that one can't avoid exposure to chemicals on this planet. Even if one gave up all mechanicals and lived in the woods like a raccoon and dipped up one's water in one's paws, still, many synthetic chemicals are all over. Along with radio-active metals at times.

And yet, one can make some choices. Generally speaking, the cheaper stuff is the worse the exposure. Wicked cheap garden hoses are going to leach more and worse stuff than the expensive rubber ones. For hard lines, I'd rather have my water in steel or copper pipes than in pvc, and so on. But every residential well pump in the world, I imagine, is pumping out of the well-shaft through black plastic pipe.


 o
RE: Hose free gardening...

I was looking for a safe-health watering hose and ran across the comments made to xhalestarz. Apparantly those that made the snide remarks have not seen the fine print warnings on garden hoses packaging that say to "wash hands after use" (does that not mean that there is a toxic problem if injested)followed by warnings to pregnant women to not using the product. Those same garden hoses with the warnings are not allowed in CA and reference their health codes/laws.


 o
RE: Hose free gardening...

For cryin' out loud, peeps! You can go to a big box store and purchase 'safe', potable water hoses! Just read the label.


 o
RE: Hose free gardening...

I understand your concern. We already had a drink safe hose on hand from our homebirth (to fill up the birth tub, ha ha) so we are good. But I am a little concerned about using the water from our rain barrel b/c of what runs off of the roofing materials. I guess it's a give and take. Sorry I have no good advice to offer though.


 o
RE: Hose free gardening...

Last year we had watering restrictions (hand watering only) and that was pretty tedious. Not to mention, when I'm burning brush 75 feet from the house a bucket isn't going to cut it.

I have a rubber hose, a couple "drink safe" hoses, and another that probably isn't. Whichever, I don't worry and water the gardens, fill the bird baths, and drink from them anyway. I just make sure to run the water all the way through the hose and house plumbing system before drinking.

Realistically, how many impurities can leach from pipes or hose when cold fresh water straight from the street is blasting through them?? I could be wrong though.


 o
RE: Hose free gardening...

In my crazy pursuit of both organic gardening and reducing plastic use for my family, I'm looking into an alternative to our garden hose - as they are not safe for drinking from.

If you are worried about what to drink from, we use glasses and quite often plastic cups that we wash in the dishwasher. But I don't get the feeling that you are actually drinking from the hose.

If you are not actually drinking from your hose but are worried that your plants might be contaminated by some bacteria or fungus growing in the hose, rest assured that the plants and soil already have 30,000 species of microbes ready and willing to go to bat in your behalf to neutralize any threat.

Could you please elaborate on what your issues are with plastic?


 o
RE: Hose free gardening...

I understand the hand watering, I do a lot of that because I a) hate dragging the $%^@@^ hoses all over the yard and b) I use rain barrels and I think that water is better than the hose water (and not because the hose isn't for drinking water)

I don't understand the obsession with the drinking water part, you aren't drinking the water. The water in my rain barrels isn't drinkable either. In addition to the algae growing in there, there is probably stuff from my roof like bird droppings that wouldn't be good to ingest.

My point is, just because something isn't drinkable for humans, doesn't mean it's bad for plants. In fact a lot of the stuff that is great for plants would be very bad for us to ingest.

I do use a 2 gallon plastic watering can. It's about all I can lug around the yard (being a weak tiny female) and it does a good job. I also reuse plastic cat litter pails quite a bit to drain and store water from my rain barrels if I know it's going to rain. That stored water has gotten me through many drought periods without having to use the dreaded hose.


 o
RE: Hose free gardening...

I hand water from plastic rain barrels, lol.
I have looked into alternate means. I'm quite convinced that a mixture of permaculture practices and food forest gardening can reduce the effort of watering, and the need for water carrying mechanisms (to some degree).
I think your question is an excellent one xhalestarz. It reminds some of us that if we are interested, we should perhaps consider what our hose is made from, where it is made, how it gets here, who makes it etc.
I am in the process of dividing up my garden. Areas where I am growing perennial fruits will be more permaculture guild planted. Current wide open spaces that will eventually have trees will be slowly food forested in all the most sloping areas (slopes are an advantage here for many tree fruits). I am building in some raised beds, built of broken concrete (I am "filling" them with any living matter I can find that composts well) behind them there will be swales to direct water, and hold it in the soil a bit longer (we have dumping rains here that are brief and water tends to scour instead of soak in). I designed everything in a spiral (the end is a drain) so that excess water could flow down the swales and round and anything not needed go back into the water system again.
I have an area that in large rains collects a lot of water. Between some large trees I am going to add dry wells (constructed from a mixture of rubble rock/stone and old branches etc). I am also planning a dry creek that feeds a natural pond. The pond will filter water, hold water and be an excellent place for water loving plants to surround. Excess water will drain from this into the drain.
I will be using some hose. I will have some drip irrigation (needs much less frequent replacement of parts here than does a soaker hose), but my other efforts minimalize. Heavy mulching minimalizes. Water is held in underground cisterns for watering.
Near the more traditional vegetable gardens currently have rain barrels and a hose if needed. The hose isn't used very often, I tend to tote water in cans. That can be done, it's still a manageable size to do but I must do a bit every single day in a rotation to keep it moist. Eventually we are planning an interior (to the house) water containment with a solar pump and short hoses with drip systems. We will be increasing one time purchases (or few time purchases, for the most part) of plastic hosing and drip irrigation however the long term planning, and the carbon offset of producing much of our own diet makes it worthwhile and sensible. Food forests and urban reforestation in general is also helpful to vanishing urban ecosystems.

I think your question can be answered in a very wholistic way. Instead of just focusing on the hose, in general, focus on the big picture, the entire garden, it's purpose, your needs, it's needs.


 o
RE: Hose free gardening...

Thank you, girlgroupgirl.

makes great sense Every time I consider my options, this comes back into play. I need to create this type of environment. Would change the landscape. Hard work getting started, but makes good sense. My spot is also on a long gentle slope. Swales would work well.

As luck would have it... I cannot afford to purchase any type of irrigation including stupid garden hoses for my garden plot next year. While watering may be a simple process, it really isn't. I was hoping to find experience on how to do it properly. I'm sure that just dumping a bunch of water on the soil isn't the most effective way to water by hand. Btw, I didn't know the issue with metal buckets. I did learn something. I can state, for the record, plastic buckets are useless. They tear up easily. There are dense plastic buckets for the long-haul but they are too heavy for this use. Add water and they are ridiculously heavy.

People need to think before wielding demeaning sarcasm indicating they are out of touch with the forced life styles of others. Of course, in this thread the OP is considering the potential toxins to garden hoses. Maybe... just maybe... the OP is unwilling to admit they're not going to be able to use a garden hose, like me.

For those who practice demeaning sarcasm like it is a virtue (it's not, it's a character flaw indicative of bitterness, anger and insecurity) I always like to consider how they would perform if they were drop-kicked butt naked with a Bible in their hand in the middle of Darfur.

But on a more realistic scale, how would they do if they were in my position? Their sarcasm would buy ANYTHING of value in my world even with interwoven facts making them look intelligent and thwarting the real issue: arrogant superiority. People who live in hard times excommunicate negative bullying personalities like this leaving the arrogant without much needed help. We have enough to contend and others who respectfully contribute to society without hatefulness. We scoff at those whose answer to everything is throwing money at it. One does not need to agree. But have some flippin respect!

Add seven herniated discs into the equation. No time for bickering or belittling people, much less tolerating dehumanizing persons on the internet.


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Organic Gardening Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here