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.
Yes, you’re very fortunate to be able to use a hose; they were totally banned on our plots last year so it’s cans only. And drought-tolerant plants. 😦
Reblogged this on Linda's wildlife garden and commented:
Awesome and thank you for sharing have a blessed day
I got what must be an earlier version of this hose specifically to get water from one of our water butts to top up the stream – but haven’t found a connector that will fit the outlet on the butt yet, not that I have tried very hard! Not sure how well the weeder will sell though 😉
Mmm the weeder, I’m not sure either. I wonder how many people still use weedkiller?
Oh a hosepipe that doesn’t kink, what bliss. We’re not allowed to use hoses at the allotments, and there aren’t any taps – just mains filled troughs. I enlisted some small boys to help this afternoon, but it was still a lengthy hot job.
I know I’m so lucky to be able to use a hose and to have taps. The thought of neither fills me with dread….
Oh, how I hate wrestling with a hose! That little one sounds quite easy to use, but my garden is too large for me to be able to use it easily. Actually, I can handle wrestling with it in the front garden, its trailing round to the back, and then making sure it doesn’t decapitate plants in the herb bed, pots, or worse, the kitchen garden… It is good to know that I am not alone in sometimes avoiding the whole hassle at the expense of my supposedly much-loved plants! I hate watering so much that I tend to avoid pots as much as possible.
Are you allowed benches at your allotment? I was saved that same lack of string, secateurs etc by getting a storage bench with a padlock, it made walking up and back far more relaxing, I didn’t have to debate returning to pick up whatever I had forgotten that time…
As soon as we bought this place I ditched pots. They had been our only way of really growing for 7 or so years and watering them was such a chore. So once we had soil it was fantastic. Of course pots have crept in again and this year I have a lot more than I had planned. I have been very good though – there’s nothing like the incentive of photographs to keep you on your toes. One of those benches would be a good idea. We just need to work out if we’re keeping the plot and I might look at getting one. At the moment I have a bag with all the bits in it that I should need which is working quite well….. It’s not a total success though. 😉
Well done a doing a good product review.
Like you I have a love/hate thing about hose pipes but thankfully I can water the plot well using a can when need be. This reel looks and sounds ideal for those with a small garden or plot who find using a can difficult.
Again like you I wouldn’t use the weedkiller applicator. xx
Thanks Flighty. From the comments here it seems we’re not alone in our love/hate of hose pipes. 😉 x
Lucky you getting a baby hosepipe to review! That would just fit from my kitchen to the balcony and save an hour each evening; might have to investigate!
I can join you in holding my hand up to not watering when it means wrangling a huge unwieldy, heavy, wet hose back into its bag! I’ve inherited one hose on a reel and it’s so much easier to just wind it back in when finished. Trouble is, I need at least 3 50metre hoses connected together to water the garden here; once borrowed, they have to be returned, so watering can turn into a two to three hour job – not something I’m going to be doing on a daily basis! I’m currently resisting buying another couple of hosereels of my own as I’ve (again) been promised a tap for the garden. It could make all the difference next year …
PS. Like you, I wouldn’t have been interested in the wand of weedkilling death but it was a jolly good review, especially the fact that it leaks between squirts.
I hope you get your tap. We had no water on site at the start of spring because of a leak and I had to carry water from home in whatever bottles I could find. I was worried I’d have to do that all summer. I’d be like Popeye by now with bulging biceps. 😉 I’m spending 2 to 3 hours a night watering perhaps twice a week then there’s the garden too. I try to leave the hose in one spot for a bit so I can do other things like deadhead otherwise it doesn’t feel like a productive enough use of my time to just stand there. As for the wand of death 😉 I’m not sure how many they’ll sell. I wonder if people still buy weedkillers or if more and more people are turning away from them?
Judging by the shelves at Homebase and my local (excellent) garden centre, there’s still plenty of interest in weedkiller and other pesticides. Organic gardening seems to be of interest mainly to food growers, and perhaps not even then! I have succumbed to buying a small 20m hose on a reel (in the middle of a sudden thunderstorm!) – and it comes with a sprinkler attachment which I’m quite looking forward to trying out while I potter around elsewhere in the garden! I also forgot to mention that I have a couple of large ex-council wheelie bins which I fill with water when the hoses are out; it gives me a couple of days hand watering which staves off certain death for plants.
Ena Ronayne said:
Hozelock is the only hose I will ever use and one which I recommend to both clients and students However I do where possible try to curtail the use of hoses but obviously when growing veg it is alas a necessity Lovely post as always
Thanks Ena. I’d rather not water (much better for plants to survive without extra watering if possible), partly because it takes up so much time but we’ve had barely any water for a month now. Interesting to hear you recommend Hozelock. Louise
Ena Ronayne said:
yup I’ve been recommending Hozelock now for well over 10 years They are definitely the best hose on the market here in Ireland anyway
David Marsden said:
Just as well I wasn’t approached by Hozelock. I’m afraid I have a very low opinion of them having used their products for years. I have 2 of their irrigation timers in the greenhouses – one lasted a year, then filled with water and corroded the battery compartment. I replaced it but both still sometimes start and then intermittently stop working for no apparent reason. And these timers aren’t cheap. I bought a two-way tap converter and that lasted less than a week – I took it back and got a refund. For a £15ish product it wasn’t an impressive piece of design – all plastic and the ‘turn switch’ simply failed. The garden centre was very dismissive of Hozelock. We had a long and frank discussion! And (sorry, I’ll quit moaning in a moment) the tap/hose connectors are forever shooting off, requiring a lengthy walk back to the tap (one of my hoses is 60m long and I often add another 30m reel to that!). Drives me mad – I’ve even been known to swear. True. I’m planning to replace all the tap connectors with brass fittings. Finally (honest), I bought an expensive metal reel – £70 from memory – and that doesn’t work well either. The reel rubs against the casing making an awful racket and though it is adjustable the handle is far too low for someone who is 6ft. I pull it behind me looking like Quasimodo. Great for my back. Sorry, Lou I didn’t mean to rant and this is probably the wrong forum but as you can see I’m not a Hozelock fan. However and on a more positive note, re kinking hoses I do find that better quality (ie more expensive ones) are much, much better. Now then. I will shut up. Sorry. Dave
This did make me chuckle. Sorry to laughing at your watering misfortune. 😉 I’m more than happy to provide a forum for garden rants, it’s good to get it off your chest 🙂 So you don’t want me to pass on your details to the Hozelock PR people?
I do hate so many of the plastic products that proliferate in garden centres. It’ll be interesting to see how long the hose lasts before the plastic fails. Whenever I go to an old walled garden and see the Victorian tools I’m so envious. I have been guilty in the past of buying cheaper garden tools because money was tight but you do get what you pay for (I sound like my dad). But I’ve decided to go for quality if I can. I have a lovely Haws watering which is fantastic. At the opposite end of the scale I bought an old zinc watering can from a flea market for £5. It leaked but nothing some silicon couldn’t fix and it’s so lovely to use – much nicer than my old plastic one.
I seem to have spent so much time this summer watering that if we move I would consider installing an irrigation system. Although I’m sure that will be fraught with problems. Lou
You were definitely describing me and my exploits with the hosepipe. So often, I just can’t face the effort, and opt instead for my trusty old watering can! Mind you, I find walking up and down the garden with my can quite relaxing and therapeutic – unlike the route march and wrestling associated with the hosepipe! So I was very interested in your review of the “Pico Reel”. It seemed like the answer, until you mentioned the length. Unfortunately, it would be nowhere near long enough for our garden. Back to the watering can!
We have no taps on our allotment – I thought this was normal but am now realising we seem to be in the minority. So it’s just rain water collected in butts for us, which is fast running out in this heat. To make it worse our village is on a water meters, so it makes it very cost ineffective to bring water in from elsewhere ! Might need to do a rain dance soon 🙂