A whole lotta schlepping of water –
Update on growing vegetables on the deck



With no source of water near my deck, I've done the sensible thing for many years: grown succulents in pots.  The sedums never needed watering, and that made for one happy gardener.  But then I got religion, circa 2009, set out to grow food instead, and needed a solution to the chore of frequent watering. 

Aha!  Self-watering planters from Gardeners Supply, I say.  The ones with the big reservoir at the bottom that holds enough water to last a week.  But I soon realized that sure, I could go out of town for a week but I still have to haul HUGE quantities of water to fill those reservoirs.  Trip after trip between the kitchen and the planters with heavy watering cans.  And being a true born-again veg-grower, I've also planted up a bunch of regular containers, and they need watering every day. 
So I'm looking for a miracle gadget, a 20-foot hose that will connect to the kitchen faucet and do all the watering with no schlepping.  I used to see them in crappy little gadget catalogs but now can't seem to find them.  And the deal-breaking detail about this scheme may be the spray-type nozzle it has to attach to.

Anybody have a solution?


  1. Those hoses that connect to faucets are a good idea but since most are made in China……they fall apart. One could call a plumber a install an additional hose bib on the deck.

    Or run a short hose length via a siamese from the nearest spigot

  2. that is a problem! even with my hose bibs all over my garden i am always dragging hoses and knocking pots over and having them kink on me. i agree with the earlier post about having a plumber install an outdoor faucet. if you plan on doing even more future deck gardening it will be worth it in the long run. i tried the faucet/hose thing and did not like it. those coil hoses are awful too. you could get a rain barrel but then you have to pray for rain! good luck and welcome to “grow your own veggies”!

  3. Assuming that your deck is connected to the house, there should be a roof surface overhanging it. Could you set up a rain barrel on your deck to collect water coming off the roof?

  4. I’m not sure if this would connect to your type of faucet but check out the “Python” at your local pet store (or online, try Drs. Foster and Smith). This is a hose that is designed to run from the faucet to a fish tank to make water changes easier. They come in varying lengths and should be long enough.

  5. Install a spigot on the deck itself. But a short hose, or modify one with hardware store parts to make it just the right length to hit all your plants, but not have extra hose coiled all over the place. Keep the hose in a decorative box.


  6. Susan,

    If that faucet picture IS your kitchen faucet, then you won’t find a hose to attach to it. Older, clunkier faucets had a threaded screen at its head, which you could remove and thread on a “faucet-sized” hose, usually 1/2 inch. I’ve always found this set up irritating. Do you know anyone comfortable with a MAP gas torch and some solder. Because that is the best way.

    As someone who HATES to water, I understand your dilemma. But, alas that is food growing for thousands of years. What would the egyptians have done?

  7. Susan,

    I agree Patty in NNY that a rainbarrel would be one way to bring water closer and to have chemical-free water for your plants.

    But if rain barrels are not feasible, you could purchase a drill pump and pump water from your filled sink out to the deck. A drill pump (available at Home Depot for under $10) connects to two hoses. We use one to move water between our rain barrels. I posted a photo of ours in this article: http://www.sky-bolt.com/rainbarrels3.htm

  8. I use the stronger of my submersible pond pumps (450 gph) when I need to move water from A to B. If I was doing it from my kitchen sink, I would fill the sink, keep the water running, submerse the pump in the sink and have the end of the output hose secured at the desired location. This way you don’t have to deal with joining up with the faucet at all.

    Alternately and on the cheap, I might also use a hairwashing hose (one end fits over various faucet sizes). These aren’t long hoses but you could cut off the showerhead end and join it to/overlap it with a regular hose attaching the two with hose clamps.

  9. I have seen people put a bucket of water with a hose connecting to the self-watering pot (SWC). The trick is to siphon the air out of the tube to get the water moving. As the water in the SWC draws down, it sucks water out of the bucket.
    I have not tried this but I saw a video where this seemed to work.
    My ugly solution to the watering issue is to put an old rag at the bottom of the pot before you plant the veggie. The rag must hang out of the planter with enough length to go into a water-filled gallon jug. I make my own self-watering pots but when it gets hot in the Summer, you still need to keep a careful eye on them. The rag wick system works well for me. The idea here is to reuse old things –buckets, rags, milk jugs but it sure makes for an ugly garden, not suitable for tasteful decks or decent company.
    I’ve seen those planters in the catalogs and every year I resist the temptation to buy one.
    Maybe someday…

  10. I actually tried tomatoes in pots for one summer, and then planted succulents the next year. Very attractive, very little water. Hummers and bees love the flowers. I trade home-made granola for my neighbor’s tomatoes now…Veggies in pots are not a great use of water, they dry out so quickly (at least that’s my rationalization ;->)

  11. i used one of those springy hose things attached to my kitchen faucet for years. watered my entire garden with it! (tiny, tiny garden)

    it just needed an adapter from the hardware store to fit.

  12. Here’s my advice: “Tote that barge! / Lift that bale!” Don’t spend money and time on a gadget. Lifting those buckets of water is good for your upper body strength.

  13. hey, i managed to make one of those…does you faucet head pull out? if so, you can probably unscrew it from its extension hose. first, i found a hose adaptor for my pull-out faucet which looks just like yours (mine’s 3/4″MHT x 1/2″MPT), then used standard drip irrigation parts with 1/4″ vinyl tubing. the nozzle is from a spray mixer. i used the smallest i could find to match the capacity of 1/4″ tubing. its spray head is only 1″ across. it all came out to about $20, and it works really well for the houseplants, seedlings, and containers.

  14. My solution? Five straight days of rain. We’ve been getting rain continuously in 3-5 day stretches. The excess goes to the bottom of the self-watering containers and I haven’t had to water them since I planted my spring crops.

    When I lived in an apartment and all I did was deck gardening, I would keep my watering can in the shower. It would fill as I showered.

    I would fill it again with dirty dishwater (I had no auto dish washer.)

  15. I once saw a talk by someone who had set up a capillary under her plants, with a water monitor in each. When the water monitor indicated the soil water availability was below a certain threshold, a toilet tank would flush automatically and deliver water to the mat.

    So, if you just want a little bit more lowbrow and had a toilet planter next to your tomatoes, you’d be all set. 🙂

  16. I thought my mother was the only person to say “schlepping”.

    Can you tap into an existing water pipe in the house, running nearby. Or a rain barrel with a spigot?

  17. Rain barrel is a good idea – EXCEPT for two cautions – 1. can the deck take the weight of that filled with water AND these new containers filled with water, soil, and plants? no joke – this should be confirmed first with astructural engineer – way too many tragic deck collapses around here that could have been avoided.
    2. what is your roof made of? and will that roof ,aterial have contimants in it that will come along with your rain water? For that reason I do not use rain barrel water on my edibles — only my ornamental annuals.

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