Two hoses rolled up, impersonating snakes and ready to go under cover. (Mary Lowther photo)

Two hoses rolled up, impersonating snakes and ready to go under cover. (Mary Lowther photo)

Mary Lowther column: Why can’t hoses untangle themselves?

Why can’t they modify rubber plants with snake DNA so hoses will be able to untangle themselves?

By Mary Lowther

You wouldn’t guess it to look at him, but David occasionally releases his inner geek. When he heard of a study that connected orange juice with cancer, for example, he actually mailed away for a copy. He drinks a lot of orange juice. Imagine his relief when he got the study and worked out that the scientists had been flushing enough juice through each rat to equal 30 times their body weight, every day. The miracle would have been if the rats had not died and he did not have to drink his vodka straight.

This was the first (and so far only) time David ever felt sorry for the rats, and the moment he started questioning the motive behind whatever forces fund these investigations. Were they trying to sell more tomato juice? Was it a plot to reduce property values in rural Florida? Stuff like this can keep a body up all night.

If scientists can genetically modify tomatoes with pork DNA to make them plumper and goats with spider DNA to make their milk into unbreakable thread, why can’t they modify rubber plants with snake DNA so hoses will be able to untangle themselves? You’d have to make sure you only used potable water or you might end up with PETA taking you to court. In a worst case scenario they could slither away, herds of escaped, chlorine intolerant garden hoses wriggling about seeking more salubrious waters in the local swamp or septic field. Some may think that this is absurd, but David prefers to think of it as Pythonesque.

He has a point, though. Now that winter rains negate the need for hoses and cold weather dictates the need for draining and storing them until spring, I could use hoses that untangled themselves. If they could be trained to curl up and put themselves away, so much the better.

Soaker hoses reduce water consumption, decrease weed growth and help prevent water-borne diseases that would stick to plant leaves, and by attaching each hose to a timer set to water appropriately I am spared having to constantly move the water sprinkler, but they are genetically unmodified and do not put themselves away.

I haven’t labeled my hoses in the past, but this year I have a much larger garden, so from now on I’m going to do this, removing each hose, numbering the labels and writing them down on a map I keep of the garden. I uncouple each hose and carefully roll it up, allowing water to drain out, then screw the top to the bottom and store them out of the sun and weather. This way my hoses last at least six years.

I’ve tried several kinds and found that the black soaker hoses last longer; the flat green ones work well for a year or two but then the holes clog. Black soaker hoses can be joined together and soak reliably throughout their length, watering everything along the way, dripping slowly down to the root zone so none is wasted through evaporation. I prefer the larger ones but the half inch work well. I buy 50-foot lengths, lay them along a row and wind them carefully around the end of the bed, bringing them back up to water another row. I usually connect another hose to this to take it back down another row.

Black soaker hoses can also be cut and joined to regular pieces of hose in areas that don’t need watering, like between beds. Home Hardware sells connecting devices that work perfectly. Come the dry season I feel quite smug when watering restrictions arrive, knowing that the watering is taking care of itself. Timer, hoses and other watering paraphernalia don’t come cheap, so I take good care of them at the end of summer. These black hoses are guaranteed for several years, but I’ve found that when I look after them they outlast their guarantees.

I may have to untangle them myself but at least they stay put. If the scientists want to impress this gardener they can modify hogweed to taste like caramel sundaes and leave my hoses alone.

Please contact mary_lowther@yahoo.ca with questions and suggestions since I need all the help I can get.

Columngardening

Just Posted

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
Cowichan Valley MLA Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

BC Green Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

The city-owned lot at 361 St. Julien St., which has been home to a temporary homeless site for more than a year, will be sold and plans are to build a three-storey mixed-use development there, Peter de Verteuil, Duncan CAO explained at a recent council meeting. (File photo)
New development planned for homeless site in Duncan

Lot on St. Julien Street would see three-storey building

Historian and longtime Citizen columnist T.W. Paterson photographs the historical wreckage of a plane on Mount Benson. Paterson recently won an award from the British Columbia Historical Foundation. (Submitted)
Cowichan’s Tom W. Paterson wins award for historical writing

British Columbia Historical Federation hands Recognition Award to local writer

This electric school bus is the newest addition to the Cowichan Valley School District’s fleet. (Submitted)
Editorial: New electric school bus good place to start

Changing public transit like buses to electric really is important.

CVRD to increase enforcement after audits reveal that curb-side recycling contamination in the district is well above acceptable limits. (File photo)
CVRD reports contamination in recyclables well above acceptable levels

Increased enforcement planned starting this summer

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Greater father involvement in the home leads to improved childhood development and increased marital satisfaction, says expert. (Black Press Media file photo)
Vancouver Island researcher finds lack of father involvement a drag on gender equality

Working women still taking on most child and household duties in Canada: UVic professor

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

B.C. Premier John Horgan leaves his office for a news conference in the legislature rose garden, June 3, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. premier roasted for office budget, taxing COVID-19 benefits

Youth addiction law that triggered election hasn’t appeared

BC Ferries’ newest Island Class vessel is experiencing an issue with one of its thrusters off the Algerian coast. Photo courtesy patbaywebcam.com.
BC Ferries newest vessel having mechanical issues in Mediterranean

Island 4 will be repaired in Spain before crossing Atlantic

Most Read