Miracle-Gro Soaker System Kit: Product Review
The Miracle-Gro Soaker System Kit is a customizable mini-drip system for slow, deep watering. It includes 50, 75 or 100 feet of 3/8-inch heavy-duty soaker hose and up to 20 of the company’s EZ-Connect fittings to set up a drip irrigation system in a wide range of sizes and layouts.
You can’t beat drip watering for nearly any plant in your landscape, so a soaker hose system like the Miracle-Gro Soaker System Kit is well worth considering. To see how the hose and connections perform and how easy the kit is to use, I tested a few custom setups around my garden and yard. Here’s what I found.
About Soaker Hoses
Soaker hoses are rubber hoses with tiny pores along their entire length from which water slowly seeps. You can find soaker hoses in various lengths (usually 25 to 100 feet) and diameters (from ¼ to 5/8 inch).
A soaker hose allows you to water slowly around plants so the water can soak down to the plant’s root zone.
To make them work best, you need enough water pressure to force water through the entire length of soaker hose, but not so high a pressure that the connectors and end caps blow off. If water is spraying out of the hose, rather than weeping, then the water pressure is too high.
Soaker hoses work best in shorter lengths; it’s difficult to get water to weep along the entire length of a 100-foot hose or a system designed with many branches. In those cases, you’ll often see too much water emitted along the hose near the spigot, and very little at the far end(s) of the hose.
These types of hoses also work better on relatively flat ground. If you have a sloped yard, a soaker hose probably isn’t a good option.
About the Miracle-Gro Soaker System Kit
The Miracle-Gro Soaker System Kit is an inexpensive mini-drip system for your garden. It allows you to customize the soaker hose layout to fit your needs without wasting water by using excess hose you don’t need (as is the case with most soaker hoses).
What’s Included in the Kit
There are three different Miracle-Gro Soaker System Kits, each with different lengths of soaker hose (50, 75 or 100 feet) and number/types of connectors. I tested the 100-foot kit, which includes:
- 100 feet of 3/8″ soaker hose
- 4 female connectors – they’re similar to those found on regular garden hoses so you can connect the drip system to a faucet or another hose
- 2 T-shaped feeders – the long end connects to a regular garden hose (the “feeder” hose that supplies water to the drip system) while the two ends on the top of the T connect to the soaker hose
- 6 T-connectors – these allow you to connect pieces of soaker hose into rows or other custom layouts
- 4 male connectors with caps – the caps are used to close off the hose at the end
- 4 plugs – for closing off water at the ends of a line feeding T-connected lines
- built-in water restrictor to regulate PSI
According to Miracle-Gro, the soaker hose is constructed of 65% recycled material, is lead-free and meets California standards on phthalate content.
How To Set Up the Soaker System
The first step is to unpack the hose and connectors and become familiar with the parts. Then look at your layout options and determine the best design for your soaker system.
Helpful Tip: You need to plan ahead and lay the soaker hose out in the sun for at least an hour so it will warm up and straighten. If you have two people, pull the hose out to full length if possible so it straightens better. When it is straight enough to work with, start setting up your system.
My first task was to water some sand cherry bushes in a raised bed. I designed a loop around both trees, using a T-connector to get some extra water under one of them.
It’s easy to cut the hose to the length you want by using a pair of scissors or hand pruners. Just be sure to make clean cuts at a 90-degree angle; a hose with ragged edges or angled cuts will likely leak when inserted into a connector.
It’s also simple to attach any of the parts. All of the connectors are EZ-Connect fittings designed to be simply pushed/twisted onto the soaker hose – no tools or adhesive required. Note that they must be pushed firmly onto the hose to prevent leaks.
If you want to make rows with the hose, simply cut your main line to the width you want and insert plugs at each end. Then cut the line at the spots where you want the rows. Insert a T-connector at each cut and attach soaker hose (don’t forget to cap each row!). Next, add a feeder T to your main line to bring water to the soaker hoses.
The box the Miracle-Gro Soaker comes in has some great diagrams to show you exactly how to do this.
Helpful Tip: Once the hoses are in place, it’s a good idea to cover your soaker system with mulch to conserve water and protect it from the sun (prolonged sun exposure will degrade any hose after a while, especially a soaker hose). Plus, the garden will look nicer that way.
If you get freezing temperatures in winter, a layer of mulch can also be helpful in protecting the soaker hose. There’s no need to drain and remove it from the garden though; unlike a regular hose, water doesn’t stay in a soaker hose so it won’t freeze.
The soaker hose worked well and was easy to design, connect and disconnect.
There were no leaks, which seems surprising given there is no glue or other material to hold parts together. The Element brand pieces that connect the soaker hose portions are designed to clamp down and hold water in. This means no leaks.
To ensure the water savings this soaker hose can offer, keep pressure down to drip water slowly through the soil.
A soaker hose can be a little slow to start; turn on the water and wait until you see water weeping from the entire length of the hose (this can take a while, particularly on a long length of soaker hose). When water is dripping properly, adjust the flow at the spigot so that there’s no spray coming out of the pores (you probably need less water pressure than you think).
This hose was easy to regulate and keep at a nice, steady drip when I used the spigot valve as a flow restrictor. The system also comes with a washer type pressure regulator that fits inside the female end of the hose connection at the spigot.
Note that this is a 3/8-inch hose so won’t deliver the same volume of water as the thicker 5/8-inch soaker hoses.
[Editor’s Note] We’ve seen online reviews (mostly on Amazon) from people who experienced leaks at the connectors. All we can say is that Teresa followed the instructions on the packaging; she attached the connectors firmly to hose ends that had been cut cleanly, adjusted water pressure (at the spigot) so that water dripped evenly along the hose, and experienced no leaks at all.
With careful planning, you should be able to use nearly all 100 feet of hose with the enclosed parts. You also could make a simple short hose to move around to various bushes or beds if you like. I designed three uses for watering with soaker hose from one Miracle-Gro Soaker System Kit. I found I used all the male cap pieces when designing the soaker rows, but had plenty of T connectors left over.
Spare Parts Are Available
Be sure to plan your design ahead of time so you don’t have to switch connectors after you’ve secured the soaker hose into them. If you realize you could have used the connectors more efficiently, here’s another nice feature: If you should run out of parts, you can order additional pieces of all types included in the system directly from the Swan company. Be sure to choose the EZ-Connect type.
The Miracle-Gro Soaker System Kit comes with a seven-year warranty against defects in materials or workmanship.
This system is a simple, quick and inexpensive way to water garden beds efficiently. The hose is easy to cut to whatever lengths you need to design a customized watering system. The connectors attach quickly without any tools and don’t leak (when properly attached). I recommend it for gardeners who need to water small edible gardens, drip water around trees, or who have more than one bed that needs consistent watering.
Where to Buy
Swan Products MGSPA38050CC Miracle-GRO Soaker System Customizable Hose with Push on Fittings, 50′ x…
The price is right for the hose plus the kit, especially considering that 50-foot soaker hoses with only a main connection and cap usually sell for $15 or more. The shipped kit weighs about 8 pounds. Both Swan and Amazon also carry some replacement parts. I would also check retailers that sell Miracle-Gro products for the kit and replacement parts.
The content for this post was sourced from www.GardeningProductsReview.com