Monday, 4 July 2011

Allotment update & a homemade hose reel ... ...

Since we had our allotment, and actually got it into a sort of usable state we haven't visited it quite so frequently, I went down today to have a look at things, and as usual I was presented with a sea of green, although this isn't a good thing, most of the green is weeds, but as I found out last time it doesn't actually take that long to weed it (about 3 hours)

Here it is - 

A lovely shade of green though it is, most of it is weeds.

I know 3 hours is a long time, but I've found that it's 3 hours every 2 weeks or so, which isn't that bad, although today's trip was just to give it a water and check to see what I'd need to do, as well as the weed issues I have to clear a space at the top for a poly-tunnel, but I could most likely get this done on a Saturday morning and still have most of the day left for other things.

Having an allotment is a lot of work, especially with a garden like ours as well, but the rewards are more than worth it, food you've grown yourself tastes so much better, I'm sure part of that is down to the fact you grew it.
We got the allotment a little later than we would have liked and as such we had already planted our main crop in the gardens (front & back) but even so we planted loads of stuff at the allotment, and today I was presented with what I can only describe as monster radishes, well perhaps not monsters, but a lot bigger than I've seen in supermarkets.

Here's a few of the largest ones, already topped and tailed -

As you can see the largest is 4 inches long !
These were grown from a cheap packet of seeds from B&Q I think they were a grand total of 49 pence for a hundred or so, not bad really and I didn't really expect that much from them, so I was pleasantly surprised, and I picked enough radishes today to make up about 2 - 3 quids worth, that's if you bought them from our local supermarket, not bad from a 49p packet of seeds, and there's still a load to come, I'm thinking I might leave some to go to seed.

Just in case you missed it, here's the beast again -

I love gardening :-)

There's loads of other stuff growing, I noticed the courgette plants had a few baby courgettes on, which is good as my wife makes a great relish from them, which if you want the recipe you can find here (opens in new window)

Well enough about that, onto the hose reel, which if I'm honest was down to me not measuring the distance between our plot and the nearest tap :-( as it turns out it's about 50 metres, which means a fair length of hose, oddly enough about 50 metres ;-) and a little extra.

Keeping that much hose in some kind of order isn't easy without something to wrap it round, so I made a hose reel out of odd bits of wood and some other stuff I had lying about.

First I fixed some wood together in an x shape (I made 2 of them)

The wood was left over from another project.
To fix these together I found the centre of each piece and marked it, then I place the other bit of wood on and marked either side to get the right width.

Like this - 

Blurry picture, but you can see what I'm getting at.
Then what I did was chop out the wood between the 2 outer lines, I did this on all 4 bits of wood, this is so I could fit them together.

Chopped out section - 

This cut out needs to be half the thickness of the wood.
Side view so you can get an idea of the depth I chopped out - 

I wasn't trying to be accurate ;-) roughly halfway is okay.

You can then fit each piece of wood into each other and fix them together like this, you can use screws or nails.

Drilling pilot holes will stop the wood splitting.

Next I cut some lengths of wood to fix between each cross shaped piece, I made them long enough to allow for the amount of hose, then I fixed them with screws to make a rough reel that I could wrap the hose round.

Here it is - 
You can see where I fixed the parts to make the reel.
Now this was okay, but to be honest it was hard work wrapping the hose round this thing, and my lovely wife pointed out that it would be better if I could make it spin so that I could let the reel do the work, like the ones you can buy (I think they are about 20 quid or so) I sat and wondered how I might go about this.

After rooting about in the shed for bits and bobs I found some old steel tube and some threaded bar, this would do for the reel to turn on, I just needed to make a frame for it all.

And here it is -

It works very well, even if I do say so myself

Front view of the completed reel -

This piece stops each side from moving about on it's own
And there you have it, it cost next to nothing, and cleared a little space in my shed as well (extra space is always welcome) and solved the problem of how to keep the  massive length of hose in check, makes rolling it up a load easier as well.

Thanks for reading.


  1. This is really very clever! It's exactly what I've been looking for. Thanks so much!

  2. Bet it's a lot sturdier than the $25 crap you can buy.

    1. I've been using it for a while, it's still in one piece, not sure how long one of the plastic ones would have lasted.

  3. Do you have to unattach the hose from the spigot every time you unwind?

    1. Yes, I made it so that I could keep the hose rolled up as at the time I needed a very long hose pipe to reach the nearest tap, the local council have since made changes to the pipe work so now I need half the amount of hose, but I still use it to keep the hose tidy.

  4. How did you connect the steel tube and the threaded bar?

    1. Steel tube goes through the wood and the threaded bar goes through the steel tube, the nuts on either side stop the threaded bar coming out and as long as they aren't tightened too much the steel tube will spin freely on the threaded bar, I also used a couple of washers on each side to stop the wood binding.

      Hope that helps.

  5. I followed your example as well and it worked great, I just added extra oblique support on the sides of the two verticale pieces of wood. thanks for sharing the idea!