Watering for Success

The Smallest Smallholding Veg Patch

June has been a mixed bag with the weather, and as far as I’m concerned it’s no bad thing. If there’s one lesson I’ve learned from growing veg for the past few years it’s that a big dump of water every few days is integral to a successful crop. In the past, there have been times where I’ve neglected to do the watering for days on end, and in return my crops have shrivelled or refused to grow beyond spindly and weedy offerings.

So the heavy showers that we’ve had throughout the month have definitely been welcome. This year’s potatoes are looking promising and I think they could be the healthiest potato plants that we’ve produced in the last three years. I made an effort to dig in lots of compost and regularly earth up this year, but I think the extra watering – a deep water every few days rather than a quick water every day – has made all the difference. The garlic look happy, and after four distrastrous years of onion growing after my first two successful crops, I think we might actually have a decent crop of onions to look forward to again this year.

Siting my veg plots so far away from the house and a water supply was an unfortunate necessity. My advice to anyone thinking about adding in some veg plots to their garden is to think about your water supply and keep your plots as close to them as possible. Rigging up water butts nearby might be one solution, and from a sustainability point of view is definitely the best option.

It’s that time of year when I’m asked to review a lot of products, so I always try and choose the most useful and relevant for my readers. So when Hozelock asked if I could review their lightweight Pico Reel, I thought it would be a great opportunity to try out something that I would legitimately consider buying at a time of year when my veg plots are getting thirsty. As long-time followers of my blog know, I have suffered with back problems since I was 14, and some seemingly innocuous jobs can be a bit tricky for me on a bad day. One of these is hauling our REALLY LONG hose around and wheeling it in and out of its reel every time we want to do the watering. In high summer, this can be a daily job.

Hozelock Pico Reel

The Pico Wheel is shorter than I would usually consider, but the short length makes it a lot more compact, lighter and the job a lot easier. It has a spray head so you don’t accidentally destroy more fragile tall stems (my delphiniums were a little bent and chaotic after some of the recent rain storms) and get good coverage. I loaned it to my mum (who’s garden is considerably smaller and who has degenerative back problems far worse than mine), and she finds it very easy to carry around and comfortable to use… and has permanently “borrowed” it from me!

The main problem is that with our plots so far from the main water supply, we can’t use the Pico Reel for watering the vegetable garden. That said, it’s made me reconsider our layout and I’ve started to think about using the space closer to the house where we can grow food closer to the kitchen and have a more sustainable water supply within reach, via several water butts… so in a way this product review been a catalyst to improving the current situation and set up with our vegetable growing. There’s always room for improvement.

See more about the Hozelock Pico Reel here:


  1. I have a similar hose and agree with the idea of keeping location in mind when you’re planting (although given that I’m limited to a patio, it’s not really a huge problem for me). However, your post really chimed with me. I know it was raining two days ago but rain in June seems positive when you have crops to be watered. And they make sunny days like today, when watering is a joy because it’s so cooling to have you feet splashed by the cold water, so much nicer by comparison!

    • Thanks! Even though we’ve really pared down what we’re doing this year, just doing well with less has felt a lot more positive. Hope your growing is continuing to go well in July 🙂