A Beginner's Guide To Gardening With Hoses

In this mini beginner's guide to gardening, we'll look at one example of what can go wildly wrong with selecting a hose.

A hose is a hose. Right? When I started gardening, there was no beginner’s guide to gardening that had much to say about hoses. My “lesson” involved going to the gardening store and looking at the displays of approximately 8 million hoses and trying to find the cheapest one I could. After all, it’s just a hose! Its job is to move water from the faucet to the garden.

I soon learned that a hose is not just a hose. There are expandable hoses. Hoses that never kink. Some that are “indestructible.” Some hoses are sprinkler hoses while others are soaker hoses while others are just plain, old hoses. They’re flat. Coiled. Rubber. Vinyl. And we haven’t even gotten into the accessories or spray nozzles!

It turns out, I’m not the only one who could use a hose section in their beginner’s guide to gardening. In Holey Hoses!, Phyllis Cochran shares her story of a hose mix up that got the better of her not once, but twice!

It all began on a hot, dry summer day when the blueberries desperately needed water. Like any good gardener, Phyllis grabbed her brand new hose so she could water her blueberry bushes. That’s when things took a turn for the hilarious!

Consider GreenPrints Your Beginner’s Guide to Gardening Stories That We Can All Get a Good Laugh From

This story comes from our archive that spans over 30 years, and includes more than 130 magazine issues of GreenPrints. Pieces like these that turn stories of gardening mishaps and mistakes into everyday life lessons always brighten up my day, and I hope this story does for you as well. Enjoy!

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Holey Hoses!

By Phyllis Cochran

It was 90° out, hadn’t rained in days—and no rain was predicted for the week. My blueberry bushes were in desperate need of rain. All the berries were a pale, whitish green. None had turned blue.

I wasn’t about to let them dry up on the branches, so I screwed two long hoses together and dragged them from the outside house faucet to the garden.

They didn’t reach. I retrieved the mini 50-foot hose I had recently purchased from the garage. When I attached this small hose to the larger ones, the line reached our 15 bushes easily.

I turned on the faucet, hurried back to the garden—and found that the small hose was spewing water everywhere! Oh, no, I thought. It must be defective. I’ll have to return it.

I disconnected the leaky hose and dragged it into the garage to dry. Instead of returning it to the store I’d bought it at the next town over, I drove to the hardware store close to home and bought another, similar one.

Mark, my son-in-law, dropped by right when I got back. I told him my story.

“Is the hose on the garage floor the one that leaked?” he asked. “Yes,” I said.

“That’s a soaker hose,” he said. “It’s full of small holes. You’re supposed to bury it underground to water.”

“I saw the word ‘SOAKER’ on it,” I admitted. “I thought it was a brand name—oh, no!”

“What’s wrong?” asked Mark.

I reached in the car, pulled out the hose I had just bought, and pointed. “This one has the same name!”

By Phyllis Cochran, published originally in 2020, in GreenPrints Issue #122. Illustrated by Marilynne Roach

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Do you have any beginning gardener experiences that you can look back on now with a laugh? I’d love to read about them in the comments.


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