I have a love/hate relationship with hose pipes. I know I’m lucky to be able to have access to a tap on my allotment and to be able to use a hose for watering. The prospect of having to do all the watering with just a can fills me with dread. It can take 3 hours to give the whole plot a thorough soaking. Often, to try to speed up the process I’ll have the hose watering a patch whilst I grab cans filled from a neighbouring plot’s tap. Last week I counted 30 watering can journeys. So, yes, hose pipes are fabulous, a boon to the gardener, a fantastic labour-saving tool…. that is until they develop a mind of their own. You’re standing there watering your fruit/veg/flowers, drifting off into a world of your own, thinking about the long list of things you need to do – the shopping list, the sink that needs unblocking or whatever else that fills your mind at times like this. Then you’re jolted from your dreams by the hose pipe coughing and spluttering. There’s a kink somewhere. So you head off to unkink the kink, the water flows freely once again but just as you return to the nozzle to start watering again it becomes a trickle once again – another kink. Aaaarrrggghhh! I’m sure there are passers-by who wonder what is going on as this increasing irritable allotment holder wanders up and down her plot muttering and possibly swearing at a hose pipe.
The hose at the allotment has developed a leak too. I could gaffer tape it but that would require me remembering to take some with me on my next visit and as I often find myself at the allotment without even secateurs or twine that seems to be asking too much. Instead a fine shower of water sprays my leg as I walk past the raspberries and it has been like this for 2 years now – I know, I know ….
Then there’s my garden hose on a reel. It kinks too and gets trapped on the reel and requires regular unravelling. I’ll admit in previous years I have not watered my garden and pots simply because I couldn’t face having to devote time to wrestling with this hose pipe.
A few months ago I was asked to review some products by the company Hozelock. I’ll admit that I didn’t pay a huge amount of attention to the email as at the time I was just about managing to juggle all the plant growing with work and the seemingly endless barrage of emails requesting one thing or another. Then a parcel arrived.
I have spent the last few months using the mini hose pipe ‘Pico Reel’, so thought it was about time to give it a bit of a review. The problem with my old garden hose, which has now been relegated to behind the garden shed, was its size and weight. It was quite bulky, heavy and cumbersome. Because of this it spent a winter outside as there was no more room in my shed to store it and frost damaged the nozzle which meant it would spray out along the length of the nozzle as soon as I turned on the tap.
Hozelock’s new mini hose the ‘Pico Reel’ is much smaller and lighter. It fits neatly against the wall next to the tap and I can carry the whole reel with me as I water which means the hose doesn’t get caught around pots like the old one used to. The downside of a smaller, lighter hose is that it doesn’t reach quite as far as the other and it’s just too short to reach the bottom of my garden – the main hose stretches to 8 metres with an additional 2 metres provided by the section of the hose with the nozzle attached. The bulk of my watering though is the pots scattered around the patio and those in the greenhouse, all of which it reaches easily. It has a handy and easy to use lock which means you can leave the nozzle in a pot slowly watering and go off and do something else, and best of all it hasn’t kinked. It’s funny how the ease of use of a product can really make such a difference to a task. Rather than sitting on the sofa choosing to ignore the plants needing water because I can’t face fighting with a hosepipe, this summer my plants have all received the care they deserve. If you have a small garden, courtyard or balcony this could be the hose pipe for you.
The weedkiller applicator, the Wonderweeder, on the other hand was never going to go down well with an organic gardener and this is really where I should have paid more attention to the email. It works by pouring weedkiller into the long tube via the handle, then, whilst holding the bottom of the pole over a weed you push down the top of the handle where it delivers a shot of the weedkiller. The bottom nozzle is protected by an outer cover of plastic so that the spray is confined to a small area. Personally I would rather dig out a weed than kill it with a chemical but I tried the product using just water to see how easy it was to use. There’s a small cap inside the handle which allows for measuring of the liquid although it wasn’t very clear to me how I was meant to distinguish between the different amounts. It also required quite a few pushes initially before anything actually happened. If you do use weedkillers the advantages of this product are that with its long handle there’s no need to bend down and it targets the weed and doesn’t spray a wider area. I’ve seen too many trigger happy weedkiller users in the past with little regard for what they are actually spraying so this is a useful feature. My concern though is it does dribble between sprays so you would need to watch what you’re doing when moving between different weeds, otherwise you might inadvertently splash other plants or your feet.