Gardening: Is your garden hose water safe?

You’ve been picking peas, harvesting herbs and watering watermelons all day.

Really? It took you all day to do three simple tasks?

It probably was the 100-degree heat — slows me down too.

Clarence Schmidt

Anyway, you’re dehydrated and need a drink of water. The house is 219 steps away. The garden hose is in your hands. Easy decision?

It could depend on the quality of your hose.

Gardeners want to grow crops as close to toxic-free as possible. Organic seeds, healthy soil, organic fertilizers and avoiding harmful herbicides and pesticides are all essential. However, one important item deserves more attention. Garden hoses.

Better known as agricultural streaming devices (actually, nobody ever called them that), garden hoses were not designed to supply drinking quality water.

In 2011, 2012 and 2013, Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Ecology Center ( tested over 200 garden hoses for water leaching and hazardous metals. “Municipal drinking water held in certain hoses for 48 hours was found to contain phthalates, BPA and lead, none of which were detected in water directly sampled from the tap.”

In June 2016, the center tested 32 garden hoses and their fittings for antimony, bisphenol A (BPA), bromine, cadmium, lead, organotin, phthalates, PVC plastic and tin.

If I had paid better attention in my chemistry class, I could tell you what those words mean. But there was this cute, red-haired girl …

OK, moving on …

For hoses tested for leaching, “municipal drinking water was held in the hoses for 48 hours, then the water was sent to a certified lab. A ‘faucet blank’ sample containing fresh tap water was also collected and tested for comparison.”

According to the center, “PVC hoses often had elevated antimony, bromine, lead, and phthalates. Non-PVC hoses did not have these contaminants.

“The hoses labeled ‘drinking water safe’ were free of significant lead, bromine, antimony and tin. However, 30 percent of them contained potentially hazardous phthalates.”

These chemicals and metals have been linked to birth defects, cancer, diabetes, hormone disruption and infertility, among others. Possibly even cyberchondria (worrying about all the worst possibilities after reading the internet).

Repeated exposure of even low levels may cause health problems, especially to children and pregnant and nursing women.

But it’s not just about safe drinking water for your kids, livestock and pets. What about your vegetables?

According to a study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Kansas State University, and funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, plants absorb very little lead in their stems and leaves. Also, “high levels of phthalates are occasionally found in organically grown vegetables, but phthalates are so common in our environment that it’s hard to prove they are due to the use of a garden hose.”

Always recite the alphabet while washing your vegetables. And hands.

Surprising to me was that half of the PVC hoses tested contained electronic waste (e-waste) vinyl contaminated with toxic chemicals. I’m delighted my old laptop has an afterlife and a future in cloud computing.

Be aware of hoses with the

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Passerby alerts homeowners to fire, homeowners extinguish flames with garden hose

Madison fire vehicle decal generic
File photo

MADISON, Wis. — A passerby alerted homeowners around 9:30 a.m. Monday that their house in the 1500 block of Mayfield Lane was on fire.

According to a release, someone saw the fire when walking buy and knocked on the door to let the residents know that their house was on fire. A resident grabbed a garden hose while another called 911.

The fire started in a garbage can or recycling bin outside the house and the fire spread to the siding of the house, the garage door and eaves.

The release said the homeowner put out the flames with a garden hose before Engine Co. 10 and other fire crews arrived to the home.

Firefighters checked that everyone was out of the home and checked to make sure there was no hidden fire spread in the walls and ceiling.

The residents were not displaced or injured in the fire.

Source Article

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The Expandable Garden Hose: Veteran Gardener Secret Weapon

So you've been trying to find a decent garden hose for a while now. You see others sprinkling their lawn or washing the car with a cool multi-setting spray gun on the end. And it seems like everyone makes it look so easy. But for some reason, success keeps eluding you. Every time you get close to finding the perfect one something happens and you end up back where you started – lugging that heavy old piece of muddy rubber.

Not this time.

Because this time you're going to be armed with the same tips, tricks and secrets that the gardening veterans keep to themselves.

Gardeners need to look beyond the appearance of the growing media surface to assess the need for water. Feel the weight of the pot and push your finger in below the surface of the media, both will give you a better idea of ​​the existing water content and whether the plant needs additional water.

So give these tips a try and see if they don't work for you too …

Tip 1: Never let kids or animals drink from a garden hose.

WARNING – THE GARDEN HOSE IS NOT INTENDED FOR DRINKING WATER! Do NOT drink from it! It is a tool that is used and stored outdoors and it should not be exposed to conditions that may be harmful to humans such as: Mold & bacteria, Lawn and Garden chemicals, Animal waste, Insects, Stagnant water & other harmful substances.

Tip 2: Avoid watering at noon when it's hot and sunny. That's the worst time you could have chosen. This is like pouring Scotch on weeds to kill them. What a disheartening waste! Watering when it's hot means that most of the water will evaporate before it ever reaches the roots. The best time to water is very early in the morning when it's cool.

Tip 3: Be sure to use an expanding garden hose that's made from double latex and grows to suit your needs. Rather than haul a heavy rubber hose over your flower beds, nowadays you get soft and lightweight expanding hoses that lengthen to reach the furthest parts of the garden when you turn the water on, then shrink again when you turn the tap off.

In sum: Getting the most out of your garden hose is actually fairly simple when you apply the above three tips.

So get to it – you and your garden are going to be glad you did!

Source Article

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Rubber Vs Vinyl: What's the Better Type of Garden Hose?

Rolling out the garden hose to water the lawn, your flowers and landscaping is somewhat of a rite of spring. But do you know what type of hose is best for you? Yes, even the most seemingly simple gardening tools have a variety of options for homeowners to choose from. In terms of garden hoses, there are things like thickness, length and material that should be considered. The latter factor is one of the most important to consider and typically boils down to whether a rubber or vinyl / plastic garden hose is best for your situation.

So what will it be for you – plastic or rubber? Here's a look at the pros and cons of each.

Plastic / Vinyl

Generally speaking, plastic or vinyl garden hoses are the cheaper of the two aforementioned hose options. They're also better for more basic gardening needs, as these hoses tend to be lighter in weight and easier to handle, yet less durable than their rubber counterparts. Here's a look at more pros and cons of plastic or vinyl hoses:

PRO: Good for mild climates. Plastic has a tendency to warp when exposed to prolonged hot temperatures. Typically, the more mild climates are ideal for this hose type. While it can still be used in more extreme conditions, homeowners are often advised to store it when not using it to avoid warping and premature wear in such conditions.

CON: Kinks. Plastic or vinyl hoses kink much easier than rubber ones.

CON: Damage easier. Plastic / vinyl hoses don't roll up as easy as rubber ones and are more likely to crack and develop leaks in cold weather.


Rubber hoses are a more expensive option than plastic / vinyl hoses and therefore come with a greater up-front cost. But they are also more durable and ideal for more intensive gardening operations. Here's a closer look at some pros and cons of rubber hoses:

PRO: Long lasting. Rubber hoses are better quality than plastic / vinyl, meaning they last longer, are easier to store and more resistant to kinks . They are also better able to endure more extreme weather conditions than plastic or vinyl hoses. They can also be purchased with a reinforced lining which makes them more resistant to kinking and cracking.

CON: Heavy. Rubber hoses are more durable than vinyl hoses – that's good. But they're also heavier and more labor intensive to maneuver, which can be off-putting for many. If you're still not sold on either of the aforementioned options, why not consider a hose that's the best of both worlds? That's right, rubber / vinyl hose combinations are available that combine the lightweight of plastic hoses with the durability of rubber hoses. However, one con to this type of hybrid hose is that they are often priced more than standard rubber hoses, which are the more expensive option in the rubber vs. plastic garden hose arena. So a rubber / vinyl hose will likely be the most expensive …

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