Monday, June 17, 2019

Railroad spikes to corral wayward garden hose

For years I've been struggling with the garden hose as I hand-water plants in the front yard. Even though I have rocks placed in strategic corners that are supposed to keep the hose from strangling and mangling plants, it doesn't always work, especially if the rock surface is a bit slick.


Last week I happened to be on Etsy and through sheer chance I came across a listing for old railroad spikes. BINGO! This could be the solution for my hose troubles.

I ordered 10, and they arrived in a small Flat Rate Priority Mail box. Considering how heavy the box was, that's a great way to squeeze value out of flat rate shipping!


I was under the impression that I'd get “[r]usty 100 plus year old Railroad Spikes found in Mohave Desert [in] Southern California.” These look quite new to me, with just a breath of rust on some of them. But for my purpose it doesn't matter. It's not like I was going to add them to my collection of railroad memorabilia.


Driving the stakes into the ground was laughably easy because the soil is so loose. As a result, they are more wobbly than I'd like them to be, but after a few trial tugs, that doesn't seem to be a problem. We'll see what my experience will be over time.


This turned out to be a quick and easy solution—essential requirements in my world (especially “easy”).


There are all kinds of “real” hose guides out there. The authors of this wiki on the “10 Best Hose Guides” say they spent “20 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections.” I'm sure their picks are far superior to my cheapskate solution but they also cost a lot more. Their top choice, the Yard Butler HG-18, is $12.20 on Amazon—for a quantity of one! That's far too rich for my blood. I'd rather take the money and buy plants.



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14 comments:

  1. Love it! They seem especially appropriate for dry/desert beds.

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  2. Your garden hose is metal??? So it doesn't kink???

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    1. Yes!!! Stainless steel. Light-weight, and doesn't kink. This is the first one I bought. Using it was such a revelatory experience that I've replaced all our other hoses with stainless steel versions, too. I have one 25 ft, two 75 ft and one 100 ft hose now, and they're all great. I'll never buy a "regular" hose again, no matter what claims the manufacturer makes.

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  3. I made some ones like these: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/455004368595901973/ They take a piece of rebar, a section of copper pipe, a wine cork, and a drawer pull. I managed to shove the cork all the way into the copper pipe by sanding the cork a little.

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    1. Wow, that looks a lot more substantial than what I have. If my solution is too flimsy, I'll look at rebar + metal pipe. Thanks for sharing this!

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  4. Your hose stakes are great but I'm even more intrigued with the metal hose. I've got several several Water Right hoses and, while they don't really kink, they do get knotted up sometimes.

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    1. The more expensive rubber hoses may not kink, but they do get tangled up, which reduces or cuts off the flow of water. And they're heavy and take up a lot more room. I suggest you try a metal one, maybe a shorter length so you're not out of a lot of money if you don't like it.

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  5. My most successful hose guide is an upside down "long tom" terra cotta pot with a stake or rebar through the drain hole and down into the ground. The stake alone and the pot alone are not reliable, but the two together are effective.

    Intrigued by the steel hose. I tried a couple of those fabric ones and they both broke after about 5 minutes. Has your steel hose held up?

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    1. Another intriguing hose guide solution!

      Like you, I've tried several fabric hoses. I really wanted them to work because they were so compact. The first one burst almost immediately. The second one lasted longer but eventually exploded in my face--literally.

      The metal hoses have been fantastic. I've had the first one for 9 months now. I've stepped on them, rolled the garbage cans over them and subjected them to just about anything they're likely to encounter in our garden. They haven't dented, kinked or been annoying in any way.

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  6. I am ordering my railroad spikes this Friday off of Etsy.. Brilliant idea! I do have a question; where did you purchase the metal hose? My "side" yard is very cramped and I too am worried about damage thus I need the spikes but I think I also want to try that metal hose as well!!

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    1. I'm glad I was able to inspire you :-).

      I got my hoses on Amazon. I have both the Bionic Steel and Forever Steel brands and have noticed no difference between them.

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  7. Excellent idea! And that hose, wow. I might have to invest...

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    1. LOL, I hope I haven't cursed us all by recommending steel hoses so enthusiastically!

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