Soaker Hoses for Watering – Good, Bad or ?

Q.  Regarding irrigation, I found a couple of black “soaker” hoses (the type that basically weep out water)and tried them in my grow boxes.  They worked very well for me as an irrigation setup for my grow boxes.  I did wonder if the black color of the hose could heat up during hot sunny days and possibly “scald” the younger plants. A friend recommended slightly burying the hoses, but I felt I would have even more undissolved fertilizer if I did this. I appreciate any feed back.

A.  Our experience with soaker hoses has not been as good as with drilled PVC pipe.  Being right on the ground, and with VERY small holes, they tend to plug up and not deliver water from every orafice.  Cost and durability are factors, and when used on dirt they get in the way of weeding, and are susceptible to being cut in the weeding process.

Black soaker hoses will not burn or harm your small plants if used properly. They are supposed to be placed in the center of the bed between two rows of plants, and so will be several inches distant from plant stems.

Leaves should not come in contact with them, because you should always be pruning your leaves that touch the ground.

Carrots are Bitter – What’s Wrong?

Q.  My carrots taste bitter, what’s wrong?   I am watering for 20 to 30 minutes using a drip system 3 times per week.  I use the Mittleider organic method of growing, and grow in containers, or Grow-Boxes.

A. Your problem is a lack of water.  You need to water daily until you see water coming out the bottom of the container or box.  I’ve never seen a soaker hose that would adequately water a sawdust/sand grow-box in 1/2 hour.  And it will dry out too much if you only water every other day. 

If you were growing in the soil, water still would most likely be the culprit, although if you are not feeding accurately and doing so every week for 5 times, you also might have a nutrient deficiency.  Be sure you are using the Mittleider natural mineral nutrients as fertilizers.  You can mix your own from formulas on the website, or get them pre-mixed.  Look at www.growfood.com in the Store under Materials.

I recommend you automate your watering using the PVC pipe system taught and demonstrated in the Mittleider gardening books.  This system is inexpensive to build, it waters very accurately, and will last practically forever, if you take care of it. 

The books are available at www.growfood.com, and you can even download the chapter of the Mittleider Gardening Library free, by going to the Store section and clicking on that book.

My carrots taste bitter, what’s wrong?

Q.  My carrots taste bitter, what’s wrong?   I am watering for 20 to 30 minutes using a drip system 3 times per week.  I use the Mittleider organic method of growing.

A. Your problem is a lack of water.  You need to water daily until you see water coming out the bottom of the box.  I’ve never seen a soaker hose that would adequately water a sawdust/sand grow-box in 1/2 hour.  And it will dry out too much if you only water every other day. 

I recommend you automate your watering using the PVC pipe system taught and demonstrated in the Mittleider gardening books.  This system is inexpensive to build, it waters very accurately, and will last practically forever, if you take care of it. 

The books are available at www.growfood.com, and you can even download the chapter of the Mittleider Gardening Library free, by going to the Store section and clicking on that book.