Lilah Pengra shares her guide to making a homemade garden soaker hose by sewing together plastic scraps.
I cut 3-1/2 inches-wide pieces and sew them together to form thin strips the length of my garden rows.
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Each summer the hot, dry winds of South Dakota dehydrate my lovely garden. But I never had the money to buy enough soaker hose for my 4,000-square-foot plot . . . or enough water to keep regular hoses running for hours at a time. So I'd end up deciding whether to let the corn grow and the beans die or to save half of each.
Then I struck upon a method of making my garden soaker hoses from scraps of 4- and 6-mil plastic. I cut 3-1/2 inch-wide pieces and sew them together to form thin strips the length of my garden rows. Then, with those seams all on the outside, I fold each long strip in half and sew it into a tube (leaving a 1/4-inch margin). The water soaks out of the garden soaker hose through this long seam; the larger the needle and the stitches, the faster the flow.
To assemble my whole homemade garden soaker hose system, I use standard pressure reducers, hose connectors, tees, and elbows where necessary, along with a prodigious amount of tape and even staples. I lay the sewn hoses in all my garden rows and mulch directly on top of them to cut down on evaporation and to extend the life of the plastic. (Even so, the hoses won't last forever. I have to be careful to get them out of the garden before they crumble.)
And let me tell you, my homegrown soaker may look a bit funny, but it works!