Gardening: Seven gadgets to make summer watering easier
Don't let watering become a chore. Hannah Stephenson looks at some watering aids that could save you time
SUMMER means a lot of watering, deadheading and feeding, but spending endless hours untangling kinked hosepipes to water pots, flower borders and vegetable plots, can seem a thankless task.
But there are water-saving devices, self-watering containers and smart gadgets that can help make light work of this daily summer chore.
Here are some of the products that may help ease your watering load…
1. HydroVeg kit, from £355, hydroveg.co.uk: If you want to grow plenty of veg but don't want to be a slave to the watering can, HydroVeg kits may be the answer – they use 70 per cent less water than normal gardening, and your plants are thought to grow 30 per cent faster. The kit looks a bit like enclosed guttering and winds down to different levels, housing small pots for veg. They're watered via a water box (reservoir and pump) at the side of the frame, that channels water so just the roots get all they need. Available in two sizes, the Maxi has space to grow up to 120 plants, while the Midi can grow up to 72. The kit includes the frame, pipes, water box, pump, 41 or 24 pots, clay balls and nine months worth of nutrients, a how to and maintenance guide, and seedlings advice. The only thing you need to provide is water, and electricity.
2. Sarah Raven self-extendable hose in a bag with hanger, £59.95, sarahraven.com: For the stylish gardener, this self-extendable lightweight hose can stretch from 8.5m to 25m, with three jet settings, so is ideal for small gardens. When you've finished, it can be put back in the bag to hang up neatly, and it also comes in sage green.
3. Bosch GardenPump 18 Cordless Rainwater Pump, including 2.5Ah battery and charger £149.99; pump only £99.99, Amazon and Homebase: This battery-operated pump from Bosch is ideal for people who want to save time filling watering cans from their water butt. The pump, which sits inside your rainwater tank, is operated by an 18V battery that remains in a splash-proof control unit you can affix to a nearby wall, or over the outside of the tank. With a suitable tap for standard garden hose couplings, just attach your regular hose and water up to a range of 25m. There's power enough to water hanging baskets too, at heights of up to 2m. The battery is compatible with many other Bosch tools, so could save you money as well if you already have one. It'll give you 30 minutes' runtime and will take around two-and-a-half hours to charge from empty.
4. Ergrownomics self-watering raised planter, from £150, ergrownomics.co.uk: Designed by a soil scientist with 30 years of gardening experience, these RHS award-winning planters are a sustainable alternative to buying supermarket veg, and are ideal for growing in small spaces, or on terraces and balconies. The raised planters come with a drip irrigation system – all you need to do is connect your hose to the attachment on the side of the planter, so watering is easy. Alternatively, you can invest in an Ergrownomics automatic irrigation system.
The models come in five sizes, six container colours (including one made from 100 per cent recycled polymer), two frame finishes and three leg heights.
5. Kärcher SensoTimer ST 6 ECOLOGIC, £99.99, kaercher.com/uk: This clever watering system has a humidity control sensor on a spike placed in the soil which measures the soil's moisture level. Choose from five moisture levels and the sensor will make sure your garden sticks at that level. You can pre-set up to two watering times a day, for 90 minutes max – but you can still water manually whenever you like. The ecologic function gives you the option of delaying watering up to a week too – helpful if it's been raining or you're off on holiday. The unit is also compatible with Karcher irrigation kits, but you'll need to buy those separately.
6. Irrigatia SOL-C12 Weather Responsive Solar Automatic Watering System, from £79.95, irrigatia.com: If solar power is the way you'd rather go, the Irrigatia C12 and C24 offer a complete solar powered watering kit designed to water your plants from your rain barrel. It waters every three hours during the day and automatically adjusts the watering according to the weather. With a five step adjustment for different sizes of plants, it's great for tomatoes and other veg in your greenhouse, hanging baskets (up to 5m high) and the pots on your patio.
7. Tuffhoze, £32.99 for 12.5m, £55.99 for 25m, £74.99 for 35m, available in well-stocked garden stores, hozelock.com
This new hybrid hose comes with a whopping 30 year guarantee. With a PVC inner core and ‘Tuff-fibre' woven fibre exterior, it's up to 50 per cent lighter than traditional hoses, is easy to manoeuvre, super tough and doesn't kink, the makers say. Tuffhoze can also be used with a pressure washer system, ideal for outdoor cleaning tasks such as washing the car or blitzing the driveway. And it can be wound on to a regular reel or cart for storage.