Learning about that cool, shrinking hose

U OF I MASTER GARDENEROctober 24, 2013 

One of my favorite gardening blogs is Garden Rant (www.gardenrant.com). It’s written by four women who live in various parts of the U.S. Well, Garden Rant just added three more regular writers, and one of them, Evelyn Hadden, lives in Boise! So go over to Garden Rant and see what Evelyn has to rant about.

We all see lots of gardening gadgets advertised on TV, in magazines and newspapers, etc. I don’t usually pay much attention. In August, I received one of those lightweight shrinking hoses as a gift. I love it! It weighs about a pound, never kinks and is so easy to drag around the yard. I do have to empty it of water after each use, but that’s no problem. I turn off the spigot and drain the hose into a watering can.

I did a little research on the Internet to find out how the hose works — what it’s made of and how it expands and shrink so much? The hose has two layers. The inside layer is a flexible plastic that stretches and expands. The outer layer is a colorful nylon that’s flexible but won’t stretch. That’s why it wrinkles when the inner hose shrinks when water is drained out.

What I also found is that many purchasers of the hose are not at all happy with it.

I found a YouTube video that gives a pretty thorough review of the product (www.youtube.com/watch?v=sw-fmemXDZQ). It’s hard to see it expand and contract in this video, but the reviewer brings up some good points about the pros and cons of these lightweight expanding hoses. When the water is turned off, the sprinkler continues to run as the hose contracts which causes the sprinkler to drag toward the spigot. That could be a problem if the hose runs through a flower bed. It could get caught up on a plant or damage a plant.

Another video was posted by an unhappy hose owner (www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bnzm5yQ5CNM). The couple show what happened to their hose after only two weeks of use: the inner rubber tube failed in one place and the hose exploded. They returned the hose, purchased another and the same thing happened to the second hose within two weeks.

A third video was posted by a man who loves to run experiments and did a slow-motion video of an expandable hose blowing up (he did this one on purpose) (www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgQQJMh9oGQ). If you like videos of explosions, this one is awesome! He explains that the bright green cover on the hose is there to keep the inner stretchable hose from expanding to the point of bursting.

After seeing this video, I’ll keep a close eye on the cover of my hose to make sure it’s not fraying. At the first sign of wear, I’ll get some of that fancy designer duct tape (http://the-gadgeteer.com/2011/11/18/get-crafty-with-designer-duct-tape/) and patch it before it explodes.

If you have particular questions about gardening you’d like to see addressed in this column, send them to highprairielandscapedesign@yahoo.com.

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