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What You Need to Know About Hoses

Anyone with a garden, flowers, or shrubs uses a garden hose, but that doesn't mean we've ever thought about garden hoses before. As you're taking some time to learn about garden hose reels, take a little more to learn about garden hoses. What should you know about garden hoses?

Length. When you're going to buy a hose, measure how far it is from your water source to the farthest shrub or flower bed. It sounds basic, and it is, but even so we often end up at the gardening store having no real idea how long a hose we need. Or we'll buy a shorter hose to save money and then find out we don't have enough hose to reach our plants. Between too much and too little, too much hose is the better choice.

Quality. Not all garden hoses are made the same. A good garden hose reel can do wonders with a cheap garden hose, but the best situation is a quality garden hose reel paired with a quality garden hose. A cheap garden hose is aggravating. They kink up (reduced with a garden hose reel), leak, and generally cause problems. Look for a strong and flexible garden hose, one works well in a garden hose reel, and has only quality features, like quality couplings as well as quality hose. Any good garden hose should come with a warranty.

Safety. Most garden hoses are made of PVC, or polyvinyl chloride, and PVC generally uses lead as a stabilizer. This is bad news for gardeners. Water sitting in the hose can cause the lead to leach into the water at unsafe concentrations. It's dangerous to drink from the hose, and you end up pouring high concentrations of lead on your vegetables. Lead-free alternatives are coming available now. When buying a new garden hose, choose one that's drinking water safe.

Weight. Weight may or may not be an issue for you, but it's something to think about. There are some very high-quality, lightweight hoses available. Weigh the cost against the benefit.

Maintenance. Garden hoses don't need a lot of upkeep, but like any other tool they need to be paid attention to. Make sure you repair any tears or leaks as soon as they occur. Don't let the fittings rust. In the fall, winterize your hose and hose reel. Empty your hose of water and bring it inside. Bring the hose reel inside, as well. Turn off your outside water source so the pipes don't burst in the winter.

Hoses are basic and necessary tools, and you'll find your time in the garden will be much more profitably spent if you take the time to pair your high-quality garden hose reel with a high-quality garden hose.

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