Watering Accessories Part 1

Published December 15, 2012 by blmercier91

So yesterday I talked about a few options for ways to water your garden, and how to get a rough idea of which one is best for you. Today I’d like to talk about accessories for your watering needs, including things to help save water, reduce your bills, and to keep everything aesthetically pleasing.

Hose Splitters
20121215-113117.jpg Hose splitters allow you to attach two to four hoses to the same spigot. They are typically made from either plastic or brass, and can cost anywhere from $2-$16.
20121215-113217.jpg They are great if you want to have a drip system, but still need to have access to an open hose for other things. I use one in my back yard and have one attached to my drip system, and the other hose is for the sprinkler for the grass (or for my niece to play in). If you want only one hose going, but not the other, all you do is flip the control switch to “off” for whichever hose you don’t need. They can also be used with timers, but we’ll get to that later.
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Timers
Timers are essential if you want really minimal maintenance. They start at around $20 and go up from there. The most basic timer only allows waterings once a day*, and has a knob with how long you want your plants to be watered for, and an option for daily watering, every other day watering, or every watering every three days. The cheapest models do not have any internal clocks, or rain delay sensors- meaning that the first time you turn it on, you have to turn it on at the time you want the watering to take place (you can forget about it after that, it takes care of itself), and you have to remember to turn it off when it rains.
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Other basic timers have two dials to allow for waterings twice a day.

20121215-114202.jpg Now, on to the big kabobs. Really nice, expensive timers have digital readouts, internal clocks, rain sensors so that they don’t water while it’s raining, they allow you to set how long your plans are watered and how often (the example below is set to water for 9 minutes every 4 hours), and even tells you if the batteries need to be replaced or not!

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I think all timers are great if you’re going for minimal maintenance, but I don’t necessarily think that one is “better” than another. They all work great, it just depends on your budget and needs. I have a super cheap one like in the first picture, and the fact that the dial has a rain cover really appeals to me.
If you want both a hose splitter and a timer, and want the timer to work for BOTH hoses (like if one hose is set up to water the garden, and the other has a sprinkler for the grass), attach the timer to your spigot, then the hose splitter, then the hoses. Conversely, if you only need one hose attached to the timer, attach the splitter, and then the timer to whichever side you don’t want to have to think about.
A note with ALL timers- you have to leave your spigot on and fully open for them to work. I know it’s weird leaving the water on all the time, but you’re not actually using the water except for when the timer allows. If you have your hose splitter attached to the spigot before the timer, make sure that the valve for whichever side does not have the timer attached is set to “off”.

*There is a way to get around this; if you have a timer that only allows for a maximum of one watering daily, but you want to water twice a day, go turn on the timer in the morning for how long you want it to water, and then in the evening go out and set the dial to “off”, and then turn it back on again for however long you want it to water.

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