A Nest for All Seasons A Nest for All Seasons: A Well Away From Home

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22 June 2016

A Well Away From Home

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How to Set up a Vegetable Garden with Gilmour Soaker Hoses Quick Connect and TimerThis is the first year we have a "real" vegetable garden.  I have had plenty of vegetables in pots and even planted amidst ornamentals, but this is the first time I prepared the soil for a year, then had the virgin earth properly tilled.  It was so rewarding to see the earth turned over like that and so blasted discouraging to see the grass start coming up again :/

How to Set up a Vegetable Garden with Gilmour Soaker Hoses Quick Connect and TimerI didn't go into this ignorant, however.  I had prepared a smaller bed (cardboard, compost, coffee grounds that sat for a year), but when the garden was tilled I decided to enlarge it.  The section that had been smothered and composted for a year came up with just a smattering of weeds, but the freshly turned grass turned into beautiful sections of perfectly green baby grass.  SO.  Those plots are being solarized with black tarp and the rest of the garden has been planted out.

Next problem?  Water.  I had the garden tilled before an expected 4-5 days of rain in late May, so the timing was perfect (albeit a bit late).  After that week though, the rains slowed down and there was a need to water deeply a couple times a week.  Our water spigot at the house is around 150 ft. away from the vegetable garden.  Our water barrel that collects rainwater from the gutters is around 75 feet away from the garden.  Our system of watering included three little boys running gallons of water from the spigot or rainbarrel down to me where I dumped them into a watering can and onto the garden gently.  Over and over and over again.

When Gilmour contacted me and asked if I would like to try out some of their products, the answer was immediately YES. Gilmour provided the following products for review:

How to Set up a Vegetable Garden with Gilmour Soaker Hoses Quick Connect and Timer


Flexogen Super Duty Hose

Male (4) and Female (1) Quick Connectors

Single Outlet Electric Timer

Gilmour Thumb Control Nozzle

The original little garden plot that was cardboarded, 
composted and covered in fall leaves for a year.

The Well Away From Home

The obvious problem that needed solving was managing to get the rainwater stored near the house down to the garden. 
 I use a rain collection container similar to this "mountain" rain barrel.


Otherwise, the resource sits there overflowing when it rains underutilized.  I ran 150 feet of Flexogen Super-duty hose to get from the corner of the garden up to the main water spigot.  I can move the hose to the rain barrel when water is available there.

How to Set up a Vegetable Garden with Gilmour Soaker Hoses Quick Connect and Timer

A few facts:

The Flexogen Super Duty Hose has EIGHT LAYER construction making it super durable.
The heavy duty BRASS couplings are crush resistant AND corrosion resistant.
The O-rings inside the couplings provide a durable seal -- NO LEAKING!
They are Made in the USA and have a Lifetime Warranty.

How to Set up a Vegetable Garden with Gilmour Soaker Hoses Quick Connect and Timer

At the corner of the garden, I have three choices -- spray, sprinkle or soak.  The spray works well for a quick soaking of the whole garden, but that is not an efficient way to water most of the time.  The soaker hoses are the answer to simple watering that can seep way down to the plants' roots without losing water to evaporation.

How to Set up a Vegetable Garden with Gilmour Soaker Hoses Quick Connect and Timer

 2-Second Connection Male >>> Female

One of my favorite hose accessories are the quick connect adaptors.  I will not lie -- it took me awhile to figure out the secret attachment method and took my husband 2 seconds.  The trick is to pull up on the second female rubber ring and then slide the two pieces together.

Gilmour Quick Connect Hose Pieces at A Nest for All Seasons
Gilmour Quick COnnect Soaker Hoses at A Nest for All Seasons

Gilmour Quick COnnect Soaker Hoses at A Nest for All Seasons
Gilmour Quick COnnect Soaker Hoses at A Nest for All Seasons

I decide which option I need, pull up the rubber ring on the female and connect.  2 seconds.


Side note: The thumb control option on this nozzle is WONDERFUL.

Gilmour Thumb Control Nozzle at A Nest for All Seasons


My Storage Trick

I had metal window planters from our old porch that I hadn't yet had a place to install here at Stonecrest, until one day when I had a flash of ingenuity. I attached two of these metal planters to the front of my potting bench and they fit just perfectly.  (I love when that happens!) They can hold gloves, small pots, etc. and also serve as a quick spot to wrap up a hose or two when the lawn needs to be mown.  

How to Set up a Vegetable Garden with Gilmour Soaker Hoses Quick Connect and Timer


More on Soaking Those Plants...

When installing soaker hoses, here are a few tips that I stumbled upon the hard way:

How to Set up a Vegetable Garden with Gilmour Soaker Hoses Quick Connect and TimerHow to Set up a Vegetable Garden with Gilmour Soaker Hoses Quick Connect and Timer
How to Set up a Vegetable Garden with Gilmour Soaker Hoses Quick Connect and Timer

1. Gilmour soaker hoses are FLAT, meaning they store up nicely for the winter.  However, I found they kinked a bit when they were "dry" and formed much better curves when I arranged the hoses "wet".  Next year, when I lay out my soaker hoses, I will get them full of water and then arrange them one by one.

How to Set up a Vegetable Garden with Gilmour Soaker Hoses Quick Connect and Timer

2. Soaker hoses can trample and pull your baby plants if you happen to move it a little too roughly. Two sticks forming an "x" help keep the hoses in place to avoid baby plant casualties.

How to Set up a Vegetable Garden with Gilmour Soaker Hoses Quick Connect and Timer

3. The water soaked through the first two hoses very well, but the third connected hose had less water and the fourth had barely any.  I decided to split my 4 soaker hoses into two sections, leaving two connectors that feed different sides of the garden available for the main hose/water source.  Thus, I can only water half of the garden at one time, but the watering is more efficient.

4. To figure out how much water my plants were actually getting, I buried a can under one section and noted how long it took to fill the can.

5. Water hungry plants (Tomatoes!  Watermelon!) received the "circle treatment" while tougher onions and potatoes just had a nearby straight line for extra water. I wanted the soaker hoses to give a good deep watering when rainfall was scarce, but did NOT want to keep the soil completely saturated on a daily basis.  The goal is to get plants to send down DEEP roots in search of water by letting the top 4-6 inches dry out every few days.

Fig Tree With Soaker Hoses at A Nest for All Seasons

6. Some gardeners cover soaker hoses with mulch, particularly in formal ornamental gardens, but I skipped this step as I foresee needing to move the hoses for weeding, rearranging for better water distribution as plants grow, etc.

How to Set up a Vegetable Garden with Gilmour Soaker Hoses Quick Connect and Timer

One last note: When going out of town, I am utilizing the Gilmour timer to make sure the garden doesn't expire on me in the summer heat.  There IS a chance that I will waste water soaker hosing the garden if there is also rainfall, but better a little MORE water than necessary.  I do NOT set the timer on a regular basis though and prefer to monitor the plants manually to see when additional water is needed.

Favorites

Now for the fun part...my FAVORITE plants so far in my first REAL vegetable garden!

1. Potatoes and Onions -- I know, I know.  They are humble and boring, but they are PERFECT for children to plant.  They are absolutely foolproof and easily planted by inexperienced hands. We planted some familiar favorites, but also some really interesting gourmet fingerling potatoes.

Purple Potatoes are planted here with miniature pumpkins which will twine around the potatoes, shading out weed competition.
Purple Potatoes are planted here with miniature pumpkins which will twine around the potatoes, shading out weed competition.
2. Kid Plots -- Not technically a plant, but separating out two plots for each child to manage on their own has been really fun.  The boys have gotten SUPER creative with their garden plans, plantings and decorations.  I made sure to stock them with plants that will DEFINITELY produce (See potatoes and onions above) and am excited to see how this exercise in independence pays off.  They are already making plans to SELL their produce for a profit, but I have been encouraging them to EAT it!

Kid Decorated, Edged and Planted Plots in Spring
3. Pumpkins --  I know pumpkins take up tons of space, but I love how tough they are and I LOVE picking my own pumpkins out of my own plot come October!  We got to the garden late (late May) this year because of our Puerto Rico travel schedule, so I went with smaller pumpkins this year instead of the mammoth types.  We should see plenty of pumpkins by October even with seeds going in just a few weeks ago.

4. Squash -- Same as above!  They are TOUGH and big and nutritious and I really just have a thing for monstrous vining vegetables.

5. Flowers -- I am SO excited to have utilitarian plots for growing cutting flowers.  I did not have to "worry" so much over design, but could just plop in bulbs and seed in lines for various flowers.  This year I have 4 sections of hollyhock (seeded this year and will bloom next year), anemone, calla lily and some old Italian White sunflower seed that might come up and surprise us!

Little Ruby Fig Tree
6. Fig Trees, Rhubarb and Asparagus -- After visiting P. Allen Smith's farm earlier this year, I was determined to grow figs.  When I saw them on sale for $12 at Stauffer's, I grabbed two.  I have also wanted to get new perennial asparagus and rhubarb plots started in hopes of future harvests (2-3 years after planting). 2 fig trees, 6 asparagus and a single rhubarb later and our vegetable plot is well on its way to having a few perennial anchors for each year.


We are also growing many of the classic garden favorites including assorted tomatoes and peppers (the kids picked out plants at the local garden center since we were late to planting), a couple watermelon plants, sweet potatoes, etc.  I am excited for harvest time!  I am also excited that Gilmour is giving away a 75 ft. Flexogen Hose and Thumb Control Nozzle to one of YOU!  Enter below!

7 COMMENTS:

jess Wednesday, June 22, 2016  

Amy...you always always always inspire me. There's a lady down the street too with a beautiful veggie garden and I want to go knock on her door and pick her brain! We've had minorly successful veggie gardens in the past, and I think I'm ready to go at it again next year. :). Also...your book...I have it to my neices for her bday and now my miss E wants one too. It's VERY fun!!

jess Wednesday, June 22, 2016  

Amy...you always always always inspire me. There's a lady down the street too with a beautiful veggie garden and I want to go knock on her door and pick her brain! We've had minorly successful veggie gardens in the past, and I think I'm ready to go at it again next year. :). Also...your book...I have it to my neices for her bday and now my miss E wants one too. It's VERY fun!!

Amy Renea Wednesday, June 22, 2016  

Jess -- YOU SHOULD knock on that lady's door -- I bet she would feel honored and want to give you lots of advice :) THANK YOU for reading my book -- I think miss E would have fun with the peg people and flower crowns :)

gypsy Thursday, June 23, 2016  

Hello - new follower here. My biggest watering frustration is leaky hose connections; especially if that leak is at the house. Our weather in Minnesota has been good so far and everything is growing great between the rain and my watering.

Amy Renea Saturday, June 25, 2016  

Welcome Gypsy! I understand the frustration and those mud puddles that form!! Good luck on the giveaway :)

Ellen Wednesday, June 29, 2016  

Noses that gets kinks in them and stops the water flow drives me crazy.

Ellen Wednesday, June 29, 2016  

My post should have said hoses not noses!

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