We recently went on a cross-country RV trip. Before leaving we needed a “drinking water safe” hose to hook up to the RV. The Swan company was gracious enough to send us two 25’ lengths of the RV & Marine+ Multi-Purpose hoses for us to test. We had ample time to test them as our journey lasted 3 months and we had to hook and unhook the hoses every couple of days.
Hoses ARRIVED SAFE AND SOUND
Both hoses were shipped in a tough cardboard box. There was no damage to the box or the hoses inside when we received them. The packaging for the hose was a cardboard placard (on each side of the coiled hose) held in place with 3 nylon straps at 1200 intervals. It was easy to remove the straps with a pair of scissors or knife.
INSTRUCTIONS WERE DIFFICULT TO READ
There was an instruction that was printed on the backside of the cardboard placards. But reading them was virtually impossible since the print was so small. I literally had to use a magnifying glass to read the following:
Proper Hose Setup
Each of these headings had sub-heading on specific things to do or not to do. Actually, I found all the instructions valuable. But that darn small print was enough to drive me batty. However, the instructions were in three different languages (English, Spanish, French), so I can appreciate why they had to make the typeface so minuscule on a piece of cardboard that looked to be the diameter of a human head and neck.
Small print made it difficult to read instructions without a magnifying glass
Instructions were a real help when one could read them.
NOT ALL HOSES ARE CREATED EQUAL
We had to have a drinking hose that was lead-free and safe to drink from. We couldn’t buy just any hose, even though there are many out there (gardening, commercial, etc.) that would seem to fit the bill. For safety reasons, we needed a hose specifically designed and manufactured to drinking water standards. The Swan RV & Marine+ Multi-Purpose hose did just that.
By introducing (and being the first in the industry to do so) anodized aluminum fittings for both the female nut fitting and the male coupling, Swan was able to eliminate the lead problems associated with brass fittings (that come on a lot of hoses these days). Brass is easier to the machine when it has a lead as part of its metallurgy, making it less costly to produce. Hence the reason that the majority of hose makers use brass.
Another point to consider is electrolysis. That’s when two dissimilar metals start to corrode themselves together over time. This can happen when attaching an aluminum fitting to a brass fitting. Swan has solved this issue by anodizing the fittings with a non-electrolysis coating. Even with this coating, there may be mineral/chemical buildup on the fittings themselves (calcium, iron, sulfur, chlorine, salt, and the like).
To avoid corrosion, we recommend disconnecting the hose from the spigot and nozzle from time to time and cleaning the threads of all components. A small wire brush will do the trick. There has also been some talk about using “PTFE” Tape (also known as Teflon® tape – which is a trademarked product of the the Chemours Co.) at the attachment points. The jury is still out on this one. A possible solution is to use food grade mineral oil on all connective joints.
DRINKING HOSES COME IN DIFFERENT COLORS
For the most part, drinking water safe hoses are colored white with a blue stripe that runs the full length of the hose. But there are always exceptions. After a little research, I came across a completely blue one that had no blue stripe down the center. These color conventions are to prevent someone from using a conventional hose when the need for potable water is required. It’s just not safe to drink out of many standard garden/commercial hoses as many of them contain lead and BPA (used in the manufacturing process). So color-coding them is the easiest way to solve the identity problem. For the color-blind, I did a little Googling and found that most people with this impairment see white as a shade of gray, or a white/gray mottled appearance. But for those whose color spectrum produces anything other than a mottled gray/white (like blue), I would suggest that the color blind person read the packaging to make sure it says, “drinking water safe”.
Most drinking water safe hoses are white with a blue stripe. But there are exceptions.
LAY FLATTM AND SNAP BACK INTO SHAPETM TECHNOLOGIES
Engineered into the hose are compounds that make it easy to lay flat, which I found especially handy when I was coiling up the hose at the beginning of a new day on the road. Instead of staying twisted like a lot of hoses, it stayed straight when stretched to its capacity and subsequently coiled. Basically, the hose has a patented material that allows for the hose to coil easily and straight and not “fight” the user by being overly stiff.
Lay Flat technology kept the hose straight and easy to coil after each use.
Lay flat technology uses Swan’s patented material blend so that the hose will be less stiff, lay flatter, and coil more easily. On our trip I found this to be true, even when the hose was not fully uncoiled. I was often in a hurry to get “hooked up” and just uncoiled the length of hose I needed to get the job done, which left the hose coiled up in some places. But as you can see from the photo below, parts of the hose laid flat (under water pressure) even when I didn’t take the time to fully uncoil and lay it flat altogether.
Also, in the instructions, it emphasizes that “to ensure maximum flexibility, setup should be performed at temperatures above 700”. But this is true of virtually all hoses. The warmer it is outside, the more likely a hose is to lay flat, particularly if the hose is laying in the sun or the ambient temperature is above 700. But from my RVing experience, the Lay FlatTM technology worked just fine in temperatures in the 500 range. In the instructions, it also recommends that for the Lay FlatTM technology to work its best, the hose needs to be laid flat and heat up during the day.
Another feature of the hose is its Snap Back Into ShapeTM technology. This is a memory feature of the hose (based on its material construction) that reduces kinking when uncoiling. Basically, the hose will “Snap Back” from a kinking position when pulling the hose toward you (either with our without water inside the hose).
The Lay Flat technology made the hose less stiff.
The couplings on both ends of the hose are made from ultra-strong, high grade, anodized coated aluminum. According to Swan, they are “crush-proof”. I can’t tell you for sure because I didn’t run over them with my truck (as I needed them to work for the entire road trip). But based on the hefty construction, my money’s on the crush proof vs. flattened and bent. There is a built-in “stress relief” at both ends of the hose to prevent kinking and putting undue stress on the fittings.
Built in stress reliefs prevented the hose from kinking
HEAVY DUTY CONSTRUCTION
As mentioned above the couplings were heavy duty. So is the hose itself. It has a burst strength of 400 PSI (pounds per square inch). This is rugged in the hose world, particularly one that may sit in the sun for several days at a time. On our trip, we saw water pressures in excess of 100 PSI and I was glad to have a hose that exceeded those pressures by a few hundred pounds.
The hose also came with a strong silicone-like washer on the coupling end that attaches to a water spigot. We had no leaks on our trip.
HI UV RESISTANCE
Now, this is something I wanted in a hose. We live in Tucson, AZ and the UV is intense (and that’s an understatement). So whether I was using it in the Sonoran desert or the wilds of Maine, I could count on it being resistant to the sun’s harmful rays. If a hose is not built to these standards, stress cracks will ultimately appear and cause the hose to spring a leak or burst altogether. We experienced no problems with UV issues at all.
Make sure not to leave water in any drinking water safe hose for long periods of time (for example, long seasonal storage or leaving an RV hooked up and only using it on weekends). This includes the Swan RV & Marine+ Multi-Purpose Hose. Harmful bacteria can develop in any leftover water. So make sure to fully empty the hose before any long-term storage or extended non-use. Swan recommends storing the RV & Marine+ Multi-Purpose Hose inside when not in use.
Silicone-like washer prevented any leaking.
SO WHAT ABOUT GARDENING WITH THIS HOSE?
If you want a hose that you can drink out of while watering the garden, then the Swan RV & Marine+ Multi-Purpose Hose is the one for you. You don’t have to worry about taking a sip out of the end of the hose on those hot summer days. It’s important to remember however to drain your drinking water safe hose after each use if you’re going to be using it as a potable water supply. This is one of the reasons not to drink from a standard or industrial hose as they can breed microbes that can potentially make people sick. Additionally, the non-drinking water safe hoses are typically made with materials (chemicals like lead and BPA) that can leach out of the hose and be ingested if taking a drink.
Also, if you want to create a totally organic garden for your edible vegetables then it’s important to use a water safe drinking hose (see our article on best hoses).
I had several questions while writing this review. I contacted the technical service engineer and he gave me all the information I needed. I found this to be great customer service. I had no other need to contact the customer service hotline since the hoses worked flawlessly for me. But if you need to reach customer service directly (not the technical engineering department) call 800-848-8707.
MADE IN THE USA
The Swan RV & Marine+ Multi-Purpose Hose is proudly made in the USA.
Swan offers a limited lifetime warranty, meaning that it warrants the hose to be free of material and manufacturing defects. In the event of a defect, the instructions are very explicit on how to return your hose for a replacement (another good part of the instructions that are printed on the placard).
WHERE TO BUY
The hose is currently available at the Home Depot where it retails for $19.98 for a 25’ length and $29.98 for a 50’ hose.
This is a terrific hose. The Lay-Flat TechnologyTM makes it a breeze to uncoil and coil. Its strong coupling and hose end is built to industrial standards, and the UV resistant material all makes for a very durable, long lasting hose. The heavy-duty construction with a burst rating of 400 PSI was peace of mind when RVing at multiple campsites across the USA. And curiously enough it had no plastic taste when drinking directly from the hose – it just tasted like fresh clean water. The Snap Back Into ShapeTM feature was a plus because it helps prevent kinking.
The only thing I’d like to see improved was the print size of the operating instructions. I did not take marks off for this due to the fact that the small print area had to accommodate 3 languages.
Now, over to you: how important are “drinking water safe” hoses to you if the hose is used in your backyard or garden? Let us know in the comments below!
Check out our latest tutorial video below about what to do with your seeds after they have started to germinate (when they’ve started to grow). Then keep scrolling for some tips and links to help you out! If you missed the first video on How to Successfully Start Seeds, be sure to check that out first, as it will get you started on growing a great garden – whatever your skill level.
How to Successfully Care for Seedlings After They've Germinated - YouTube
Your seedlings will need light, but they also need periods of rest (darkness) too. A good rule of thumb is to turn the grow lamps off when you go to sleep, and turn them on when you wake up (or use a timer). Read all about different types of grow lights here.
Seedlings need blue night and red light. Sunlight includes both. Red light stimulates the growth of leaves and flowers. Blue light regulates the growth/size of plants.
Don’t use incandescent light, use fluorescent. Full spectrum bulbs include both red and the blue light, or you could use one warm (red) light and one cool (blue) light.
The grow lamp should be about 2-4 inches above the seedlings, so adjustable lights are helpful. You can find the Tabletop Garden Starter® Grow Light Kit shown in the video (and in the photo above) from Gardener’s Supply.
Be sure you clean the lightbulbs, as dust and dirt can cut down on the amount of light emitted.
Hold your hand above the seedlings. If it feels warm, the light is too close.
Water from below, not above, to ensure that you don’t squash the seedlings. Make sure your seedlings aren’t sitting in water, or you’ll have issues with rotting, fungus, and soil gnats.
Your seedlings might need to be watered if:
The soil looks lighter
The soil pulls away from the edge of the cell
Self-watering seed starting kits use capillary mats, but be sure to check the water levels on those as well.
Seedlings need food when they get their “true leaves.” The first leaves that come up are typically embryonic leaves from the cotyledon (part of the seed) so look for the second (“true”) leaves to appear before you start fertilizing. Use fertilizer at a weaker strength than you would for full-sized plants.
Your seedlings will be healthier and more sturdy if air is flowing above and around them. A fan can be used – we recommend putting it on a timer, just like your grow lights.
5. Room to Grow
Most people put more seeds than are needed in each cell, so you’ll need to either (carefully) pull out the weaker ones from each cell, leaving one healthy one, or cut them off at the base. Monica demonstrates both methods in the video.
Be sure to check your seed packet to see how long it should take your seeds to germinate. If no seedling has appeared by a few days later than expected, sow some new seeds.
6. A Bigger Pot (optional)
It’s not needed, but if you’re not moving your seedlings into a garden for several weeks, you might want to transfer them to a larger container. If your plant is about two times the size of the container it’s in, or you can start to see roots below the cell, you might want to move it to give it more room to develop, access to more nutrients and more moisture, and the roots will have more space to grow. A 3 to 4″ pot should work well.
If you’re reusing pots, be sure you wash them well before you use them.
Use a potting mix (such as the Organic Potting Mix, 20 Qts. from Gardener’s Supply) when you transplant your seedlings. Make sure that it is adequately moist – if you grab a handful and squeeze it, it should hold together, but if you move your hand, it should fall apart (see the video at about the 23 minute mark for a demonstration of this).
When transplanting, never grab a seedling by the stem, or you could damage or kill the plant. It’s better to try to push it up from the bottom of the cell, and try to take it out in one piece.
After transplanting, be sure to still water your seedling from below.
Important note: when you do move your seedlings outside, you need to do something called “hardening off,” which is slowly exposing them to the conditions they will encounter in your garden.
Be sure to label your seedlings so you know what they are!
Ones shown in the video include ones similar to these seed markers. The garden stakes from Botanical Interests are currently sold out. One of our YouTube viewers also suggested using venetian blinds as labels. We thought that was a great idea!
What are you growing from seed this spring? Let us know in the comments below! And don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube Channel.
Root Assassin, the company that first introduced the innovative shovel design with a pointed blade and cuttingly sharp serrated teeth along the two edges has done it again. This time it’s a scaled-down version of the original shovel, called the Mini-Root Assassin. It has the same features as the full-sized version so for more details, see our full review of the Root Assassin.
The company’s marketing material touts the shovel for treasure hunting and metal detecting. Those people value its toothy ability to cut deeply and cleanly in small areas without disturbing the landscape. The manufacturer also recommends it for garden jobs in tight fitting spaces. It is excellent for clearing out an overgrown area of the garden, forest or brush in tight places.
Smaller Size Is A Big Plus
All that is true, but the shovel also is ideal for short people and children. The full length is 32”, so those who measure in closer to 5’ than 6’ can easily reach the step to put their full weight into the digging. As a short person, it is rapidly becoming my go-to digging tool.
Light-Weight Yet Strong
The shovel literally is a lightweight, weighing in at an easy-to-lift 2.2 pounds. However, this shovel is far from flimsy or insubstantial. It is built of industrial grade steel, with an interior structure engineered for strength and durability. The serrated teeth – that cut both when the shovel is pushed down and pulled up – are up to the toughest job. When the teeth dull, sharpen them with a wheel or grinder.
Like father, like son. It may be smaller, but the new Mini-Root Assassin shovel has the same solid construction and root cutting features as the original, larger version.
Specifications And Features
16 double-edged, sharp serrated teeth on each side (cuts while digging both in and out)
Industrial grade steel, covered in a sleek silver powder coating
Forward turned step for secure foot placement
Comfort D-grip, reinforced rubber handle for added leverage and control
Weighs 2.2 pounds
Root Assassin will replace the shovel free of charge (for life), if not satisfied with the purchase. They do not accept returns for refunds. The shovel, however, can be exchanged for another product that they sell on their website.
Why does a chainsaw need oil? What kind should I use? We answer these questions and more in the video, or scroll down to read our tips!
What is Chainsaw Bar & Chain Oil and Why Do I Need It? - YouTube
Bar and chain oil for electric (or gas) chainsaws
Important: Remove the battery! All gas powered chainsaws have an on/off switch. Make sure that the switch is in the off position before adding oil or doing any routine maintenance. This should prevent you from cutting yourself. Clean off the area with a rag or paper towel so that no debris enters the oil reservoir. Dirt or wood chips could clog up the machine and harm it.
Why use oil?
You want lubrication of the actual chain against the bar. You don’t want to chain to burn – which is what might happen if there’s too much friction. Without oil, it causes frictional force on the motor in the chainsaw as well.
What kind of oil should I use?
There are several options. At Gardening Products Review, we highly recommend oil manufactured for this specific use. In the video, you’ll see that we use one that is labelled as “bar and chain oil.” Other types might not ensure the right level of friction for your chainsaw.
Keep in mind that there are two different weights of bar and chain oil – thicker for summer and thinner for winter. Oil helps lubricate the chain and also helps keep the dust down during operation. In sappy wood situations it keeps the chain from getting gummed up.
Have any other questions about oil for chainsaws? Ask them in the comments below!
If you’re looking for a unique trowel, virtually unlike any that you’ve ever seen before, then perhaps the Wilcox 202s All-Pro 14” Digging Trowel might just fit your needs.
The trowel arrived loose in a box, but in fine shape (it would be hard to hurt it in shipping). There are no instructions or warnings about using safety equipment (eye protection, etc.).
UNUSUAL BLADE DESIGN
One of the things that sets the Wilcox trowel apart is the unusual shape of the blade; it has a 900 bend lengthwise down the center of the blade, from handle to tip. This gives it extra strength.
The 90 degree bend at the center of the trowel gives it strength
The tool itself is 14″ long, including the handle, which is longer than most trowels. The blade measures 9 ½” long and 3″ wide – long and narrow.
I like that the blade is fairly narrow; a narrow blade is much easier to push through soil than a wider one is.
The length of the blade is a little awkward sometimes for my small hands, but it’s not enough to be a problem. Plus, the 14″ digging trowel is available in shorter sizes (9″, 10″, 11″, 12″, and also long handled 18″ and 22″ models). I have repetitive stress damage in my hands, as well as arthritis, and it caused me no pain to use the trowel – it’s a little easier to hang onto than other handle designs.
SHARP STAINLESS STEEL DESIGN
The blade as it comes from the manufacturer is sharp enough that I was able to push it through thick turf – something I’ve rarely managed to do with any hand tool.
The blade is constructed of stainless steel and should be able to be sharpened without creating rust problems, unlike the situation with a blade that is simply chromed over carbon steel. Stainless steel is harder to sharpen than regular steel, but it holds an edge longer – I still have not had to sharpen mine after several months of hard work.
On the inside of the blade is an incised 6″ (15 cm) depth gauge that comes in handy for planting small bulbs.
On the inside of the blade is an incised 6″ (15 cm) depth gauge
COMFORTABLE NON-SLIP HANDLE
The 4 ½” long plastic grip is nicely shaped and ridged so it will not slip out of your hand. Plus it’s a bright red color so you won’t lose it in the dirt.
This handle is easy for my damaged hands to hold on to; I have small to medium hands. I think it would work well for larger hands as there is still plenty of handle showing when my hand is wrapped around it.
The grip fits tightly and smoothly around the rolled steel section above the digging blade; I doubt this will ever slip off the metal. A leather strap goes through a hole molded in the top of the grip so you can put it around your wrist for carrying or hang it on a nail for storage. The strap is as long as the plastic handle is, but it does not get in the way. The hole is too small to interfere with use.
AN INCREDIBLY STRONG TROWEL
This is the strongest trowel I’ve ever used, and I’ve bent up a LOT of trowels. The other day I was digging rocks up with it, and even when I was prying up rocks half the size of my head, it did not bend, not even at the tip. I even ended up laying it on another tool and using it as a lever, and it did not bend at all. The 900 bend in the trowel surface gives it a great deal of strength compared to the shallow curve of most trowels.
One piece construction means it won’t break between the blade and the handle – the steel goes all the way up inside the plastic. The part of the handle is not heavy – it’s rolled steel rather than solid.
The Wilcox site has apage of their trowels, and their contact email for questions is or call (641) 623-3138 (Mitch is the owner; he answers the phone himself).
MADE IN THE USA
Wilcox was founded in 1968 in Iowa, and currently manufactures in Coralville, IA. They have been in business for 50 years; although they have recently been bought, the owner intends to continue running the business as it has always been.
The trowel is proudly made in the USA
Wilcox makes no recommendations as to safety equipment to use with the trowel. Personally, I wouldn’t do any digging without good gloves.
All Wilcox digging tools have a lifetime guarantee; if the tool breaks at any time during its life, they will replace it. The owner reports that there have been very few that needed replacing!
The Wilcox stainless steel digger was rated the best garden trowel by the New York Times, and I can see why. Nothing I’ve done yet has hurt it in the least, and it doesn’t make my hand cramp to use. As trowels go, it is one of my favorites. I like it so much that I recommend it to anyone.
WHERE TO BUY
The Wilcox 202s All-Pro 14” Digging Trowel can most readily be found online. The best price can usually be found on Amazon Prime for $18.90. It’s also available directly from Wilcox through their website for $16.90 with $3.99 shipping, as well as A.M. Leonard for $19.99 plus $8.99 shipping, and Lehman’s for $17.95 plus $7.99 shipping.
Yard Force is the one-brand solution for battery, electric and gas powered outdoor power equipment. If your project involves cleaning, cutting, trimming, chipping or splitting – you can get it done with a Yard Force tool! Our products include advanced technology and designs including brushless electric motors, 120-volt Lithium-Ion batteries, rugged frame designs and more. All products are backed by industry leading warranties and supported by our world-class customer care center based at our North American headquarters in Kennesaw, GA USA. Yard Force products can be purchased at national and regional retailers throughout the US and from many online retailers. Yard Force – Yard work made easy.
Yard Force is a brand of the Merotec USA family that is based on four core values:
At Merotec USA we understand that quality products and services are the backbone of a successful organization. With this in mind we strive to provide the North American market with high quality, innovative outdoor power equipment and power tools while maintaining highly competitive pricing.
Interactive relationships with end-users and healthy programs with our retail and online partners provide the foundation for our business. That is why we at Merotec USA work diligently to maintain open, honest and collaborative channels of communication with everyone that we work with.
People, businesses and industries can always improve. We strive to make our products, our team and our entire organization the best they can be. Constant improvement through innovative technologies and ideas makes Merotec USA a dynamic company
Merotec USA’s team has a sense of personal and professional responsibility that influences every decision we make. We believe that a company must be a positive force in its industry and community.
Your pruner blades won’t function to their full capability if they’re dirty, and especially if they’re gummed up with sap. This video tutorial shows you the best way to clean the blades so that every cut will be a great cut.
How to Clean Pruner Blades (and Remove Sap!) | Gardening Products Review - YouTube
The Flexzilla Flexible Hybrid Polymer garden hose with SwivelGrip (bend restrictor and coupler rotator) is an exceptional product. It has two things that make it stand out from other hoses: the couplers, and the fact that I couldn’t get it to kink under pressure (like some other hoses I own).
The hose I tested was 5/8 inch by 50 feet, but it comes in lengths from 3 feet to 100 feet in this same 5/8 inch diameter.
Maximum working pressure: 150 PSI (Pounds per Square Inch) @ 700F
Drinking water safe
Lays flat (no twisting memory in the hose)
No kinking when the hose is under pressure
Flexibility in a wide range of temperature extremes
The Flexzilla Hose couplers are made of high strength, crush resistant aircraft grade aluminum, and have plastic sleeves (the SwivelGrips) that slide up over them. These sleeves fit snugly over the shape of the outside of the couplers, and come down far enough on the hose that the user’s entire hand will fit on them.
This means that you can use your entire hand strength to turn the coupler, rather than just your finger strength. As someone with age and work damaged hands, I really appreciate this feature! In the past I have found myself resorting to channel lock pliers to remove hoses screwed onto faucets over zealously; I cannot see this happening with this hose. The hose would be great for people with arthritis.
The couplers also turn independently from the hose, so you don’t have to fight with the hose flopping around as you tighten it to the faucet or another hose. This also means that as you work, and turn around corners or turn the nozzle or sprayer end to different angles, the hose doesn’t fight you but turns so there is no stress on it. No more sprinklers flipping over after you put them down.
The hose is easy to install with the SwivelGrip and aircraft grade aluminum fittings
Strong Yet Flexible
The Flexzilla hose feels soft but is very strong. It has a tensile breaking strength of over 25,000 lbs. and will stand up to 150 PSI (at 700 F) without bursting – not many people have water systems with the pressure that high. I tried this hose in 950 F weather and at 400 F, and it was flexible at both temperatures.
Although I couldn’t test it at below freezing temperatures (up to –400 F), the company claims that the hose remains flexible even at this extreme. There’s a video on the Flexilla website that demonstrates how flexible it remains at this low temperature. Standard vinyl and some rubber hoses shatter at this temp.
Despite this seeming softness at a variety of temperatures, the Flexilla hose is strong enough not to kink. I dragged it all over the yard, around planters and shrubs and porches, and it did not get pinched off. I even dragged it around concrete blocks and the exterior sheath of the hose saw no wear.
Another durability aspect of the hose is abuse from hot metal objects. My husband accidentally put a hot lighter chimney for our BBQ grill on it, and while it melted through the outside abrasion layer, the inner layer is still fine and held up with no swelling under the 70 psi our water system is set at.
EASY TO COIL AND UNROLL
You can coil this hose up any old way, and then drag one end out, and it will just uncoil, rather than getting kinks as it gets pulled out. I found that quite impressive. The key is to hold onto the sheath covering the coupler at the end of the hose; this allows the SwivelGrip coupler to turn freely and pull any kinks out of the hose.
I do not own a hose reel, so I can’t comment on how it will perform when unrolling. But I think that a hose reel would make it even easier to unwind without kinking.
The hose coiled easily and did not kink when unwound or while dragging it around the garden
DRINKING WATER SAFE AND AN IMPROVED WASHER
The Flexzilla hose is also drinking water safe. That’s good since we have animals. It’s a trademarked chartreuse color that makes it easy to see, even in grass. And the hose comes with an upgraded O-ring washer that virtually eliminates leaks at the spigot and nozzle ends of the hose. In my testing, there were no leaks at all.
The Flexilla hose with SwivelGrip has a limited lifetime warranty (that it is free of defects in material and workmanship for life from date of purchase under normal use), but the terms are daunting – you must ship the entire hose back to them, along with proof of date of purchase and the original retail label (the cardboard carrier that the hose is packaged in).
The Flexzilla hose is made by Legacy Manufacturing, based in Marion IA, but the hose is actually made in Taiwan. Legacy can be contacted via their website.
The Flexzilla hose is filled with features. I liked the green color that showed up in the grass. It made it super-visible and unlikely to be hit with a lawn mower or tripped over. Its high-quality aluminum ends gave the hose a real feeling of quality and the coupler grips (SwivelGrip) make for easy fastening and unfastening of the hose from spigots and nozzles. In my tests, I couldn’t get it to kink even after dragging it through my garden, around corners and coiling and uncoiling it. And, finally, I appreciated the true flexibility of the hose at low temperatures. Overall, it’s a great hose that I would recommend to anyone.
WHERE TO BUY
The Flexzilla hose with SwivelGrip (model # HFZG550YWS) can be bought from Amazon for $48.49. A similar model without the SwivelGrip (HFZG550YW) is available on multiple sites for less, but we recommend the SwivelGrip as it helps eliminate kinks.
If you’re forgetful, or you’re just not home very often, self-watering containers are a must-have. They’re also helpful if you’re growing in an area that’s not convenient to a water spigot, such as a balcony. In this video, Monica Hemingway from the Gardening Products Review walks you through self-watering containers, how they are helpful, different types (including DIY options), and how to plant and grow things in them.
Use Self-Watering Planters To Grow Almost Anything | Gardening Products Review - YouTube
What is a self-watering container or planter?
Contrary to what the name implies, they don’t actually water themselves. But they do allow you to water less frequently by filling up a reservoir with water. The top section of a self-watering planter is usually for your potting mix and the plants, while the bottom contains the water reservoir. Then there is a part that allows you to easily fill up the reservoir, such as a hose or tube. Some have an indicator that shows how much water is in the reservoir. These are convenient, as you’ll have a better idea of when the reservoir needs to be refilled. There should be a divider between the water and the potting mix (you don’t want your roots/soil just sitting in water). An overflow mechanism is also helpful so that your plants aren’t being overwatered.
How are they helpful?
I like them because they provide consistent moisture for your plants. At our headquarters in Tucson, some plants would need to be watered almost twice a day to keep from drying out. With a self-watering container, moisture is regularly given to the plant roots through a wicking system. The consistency also helps vegetables grow, and you might find that you have a better yield if you use self-watering for your vegetable plants.
Note: some plants, such as cactus and succulents work better if left to dry out between waterings, so they would not benefit from a self-watering container.
They’re great if you’re not home all day, if you travel a lot, or if you don’t have a convenient spigot for watering (like on a balcony).
Self-watering containers are a more efficient use of water, because the water is under the plants and isn’t evaporating as much. If you think about it, when you spray your plants, a lot of that water goes on your sidewalk or on the leaves of the plant, so the water isn’t used as efficiently. Some plants, like tomatoes, are more prone to fungal diseases if too much water gets on the leaves, so using a self-watering container bypasses this issue by watering the roots instead of the leaves, resulting in healthier plants.
Which types of containers are available/recommended?
The types vary by brand and what you’re looking for, just like most planting containers. If you’re looking for something more decorative, the one in the video is by Lechuza, and I highly recommend it. If you’re looking for something more utilitarian than decorative, some of the planters we’ve used (and show in the video) include the GrowBox, Gardener’s Supply Organic Tomato Success Kit, the Terazza Trough (also from Gardener’s Supply), and others.
You can make your own self-watering container if you’re more DIY-inclined. A simple internet search will reveal several different options. One thing I like to do is to buy self-watering pot reservoirs from Gardener’s Supply. They come in different sizes for different pots, so they’re convenient for any container you might buy. They’re so convenient and they will make your gardening life a lot easier!
How do they work?
At this point, if you haven’t watched the video (above), this would be a good time to check it out, so that you can see a demonstration of how a self-watering planter works and how to plant it.
But, generally, you’ll want to follow these steps:
Insert the separator and the watering system into the container (ones with indicators are the best).
Add any type of moist potting mix. Some companies have mixes specific for self-watering containers. If you use dry potting mix, the water won’t be wicked up into the plants, and they won’t receive the moisture that they need. Pack it down into the depressions at the bottom (that’s where the moisture gets wicked up into the soil/roots).
If it has a wick, be sure it’s in water
Plant as usual
Water from the top so the roots are settled
Use the spout to fill up the reservoir
Refill the reservoir as necessary when the water level is low
Remove the soil each year, as the roots tend to grow down below the separators
Make sure the soil stays moist so that it wicks up the water
And that’s it! Let us know if you try out a self-watering container for the first time, we’d love to hear how it works for you!
This review covers the Greenworks 40V G-Max Cordless Hedge Trimmer, designed for the homeowner and DIYer. Greenworks has several lines of cordless electric garden products, all categorized by voltage. Within the Greenworks array of hedge trimmers, the 22262 is a model with basic features, aimed at customers who don’t need a lot of bells and whistles. (Users who require more specialized features, such as an extension handle and pivoting head, should consider the Greenworks 40V 20” cordless pole hedge trimmer, which also comes in a 24V version, instead of or in addition to the 22262.)
Run Time (2AH) battery
Approx. 50 mins
Charge Time to Full
Approx. 60 mins
78dB at 5′
40V G-Max battery
fits 25+ other Greenworks products
Multiple safety features
sheath, lock-out button, safety guard, etc.
BATTERY AND CHARGER
The unit comes packaged with a 2Ah (Amp hour) battery and charger. The charger can be wall mounted, which is nice if you have limited counter space in your garage or work area.
You can check how much charge is left by pressing a button on the battery. The number of lights that illuminate (out of 4) corresponds to the percent of battery power left (25, 50, 75, 100%).
The hedge trimmer comes standard with a 2Ah battery and charger
ADVANTAGES of a Cordless Hedge Trimmer
For readers who have never before owned a cordless electric hedge trimmer, I’ll enumerate a few of the advantages.
You can say goodbye to fussing with fuel and oil, there’s nothing to leak if the tool rolls over on its side in the back of your vehicle, there’s no exhaust to make you lightheaded after an hour of use, and there’s no pull start to stress your rotator cuff. Battery power means you aren’t constrained by the availability of a functional power outlet nearby, and you can’t accidentally cut the cord. For the vast majority of homeowners doing yard work that doesn’t require heavy-duty equipment, cordless electric makes much more sense than gas-powered tools.
According to Greenworks, this model of hedge trimmer produces up to 60% less noise and vibration than comparable gasoline driven products, and is up to 60% lighter.
BATTERY RUN TIME
The principal limitation of battery-powered tools is run time. Greenworks states that a fully charged 2Ah battery (the one that comes packaged with the trimmer) should give approximately 50 minutes of continuous operation on this tool. This sounds short, but you have to remember that many jobs require stopping regularly in order to clear away cut material before continuing. Since the tool stops each time the trigger is released (both for safety and conservation of charge), an hour of continuous operation translates into a functional run time that’s significantly longer.
Power LEDs let you know how much power is left in the battery
Over the course of an entire growing season I used the Greenworks 40V G-Max Cordless Hedge Trimmer for long stretches and never ran out of charge, so I doubt if many people in the target market for this particular hedge trimmer will find run time a real restriction. In fact, I just used it for an all-day job (cutting back an entire hillside of catmint) without having to recharge the battery. For the occasional really big job that has to get done fast, simply having a second battery on hand so you can have one charging while the other is being used is an easy and obvious fix.
I have not literally measured the time it takes to charge the battery—unlike chargers for some tools, this charger doesn’t emit an audible tone when charging is complete. I also never ran it down completely but opted to put the battery on to charge when I broke for lunch after a morning’s work, and I always found it fully charged within half an hour. The very first charge out of the box seemed to take longer—perhaps an hour—and that matches what Greenworks specs.
Snapping the battery into the charger and the trimmer is easy enough—push firmly until it clicks— but getting it off requires a little effort. It’s pretty standard—you press a latch to release the battery and then pull while holding the charger or trimmer stationary. In the latter case, it’s easiest if you turn the trimmer upside down and rest it on a secure, flat surface. I recommend putting the blade sheath on while doing this in order to avoid harm should you somehow inadvertently start the trimmer while trying to remove the battery. That never happened to me, but better safe than sorry—I am extremely vigilant around tools that can do a lot of damage very quickly.
QUIET AND LIGHTWEIGHT
One very pleasant feature of the Greenworks 40V G-Max Cordless Hedge Trimmer is that it’s so lightweight it caused me almost no arm muscle fatigue even after long use, and it is surprisingly quiet. That said, you should still wear hearing protection when using it. Greenworks specs the trimmer at 78 dB at 5 feet. For the user, who presumably holds the trimmer at a distance of about 2 feet, that’s about 86 dB—comparable to the noise level of a blender or a loud vacuum cleaner.
USEFUL IN A VARIETY OF APPLICATIONS
I garden for a living, and for this review I used the trimmer for a variety of tasks on several client properties, where it definitely got a “real-world” workout. I used it to trim a number of small shrubs including boxwood and spirea, as well as making a first pruning pass on Hydrangea paniculata, a common ornamental shrub that can grow as much as three feet per season and thus needs to have a lot of material removed from it each year. The current year’s wood is soft and not too thick and is easily handled by the Greenworks 40V G-Max Cordless Hedge Trimmer —a perfect application. On that hydrangea I’ll make a second manual pass with hand pruners to clean up all the cuts and make more careful pruning decisions, but removing 80% of the material or more in just a few minutes is a substantial savings of time and muscle fatigue compared to doing the job with manual hedge clippers.
The cutter bar rotates 90 in both directions to make pruning easier
With less muscle fatigue, this hedge trimmer would likely do well in the hands of someone with arthritis. The only caveat is the pushing and holding down of the safety switch (which takes some thumb strength). In these cases where bad hand arthritis is a problem, then the Greenworks 40 V G-Max (22262) Cordless Hedge Trimmer may be outside the bounds of these individuals. But for me the hedge trimmer was a delight to use and I had no trouble handling it.
SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT WHEN PRUNING SHRUBS AND TREES
On evergreen shrubs, such as boxwood, electric trimmers make a rough cut that bruises leaves, resulting in browned edges that will be visible for as long as it takes new growth to conceal them. This trimmer is no exception, and my preference will always be to trim those shrubs with hand pruners. Gardeners for whom this isn’t an issue will find that this trimmer is just fine for that job, but they may not want to use it for trimming evergreens late in the year when plants are going dormant (at least at northern latitudes) and won’t be putting out new foliage for many months.
Does A GREAT JOB CUTTING BACK MANY DIFFERENT KINDS OF PLANTS
I was surprised at how much I came to rely on the Greenworks 40V G-Max Cordless Hedge Trimmer for cutting back a variety of perennials in autumn. As you might expect, it works best on plants whose stems have a low moisture content and are not too thick. The more upright and rigid the plant, the more completely the tool will be able to trim it. So, for instance, it worked well on a large stand of asparagus, although I did have to manually cut any stems larger in diameter than about one inch. It worked like a charm on tall maiden grasses, astilbes, many types of aster, and a large stand of purple coneflower, in addition to many other perennials.
SHARPENING THE BLADES CAN BE DONE BY YOU OR A GREENWORKS DEALER
I asked the manufacturer about care and sharpening of the reciprocating blades since this information isn’t covered in the manual. The company’s instructions are as follows:
Using a 200mm flat file, file each beveled blade surface in the direction of the cutting edge. Ensure that the file is not in contact with the blade when pulling back upward or the blade will become blunt/worn down.
When the edge is sharp, remove burrs from the bottom edge using a sharpening stone.
Lightly coat the blade assembly with WD40.
Having sharpened many tools myself with a flat file, I know that this is a time-consuming operation, and my choice would be to pay someone else to do it. Some but not all of Greenworks’ authorized dealers can provide sharpening services, and Greenworks’ customer service department will help customers find dealers near them. The dealer nearest me who offered sharpening services was about an hour and a half drive away (I live in a semi-rural area) and quoted a price of $65 to sharpen this trimmer, which I think is entirely reasonable because of the time involved. The availability of sharpening services will obviously depend on where you live.
The blades aren’t removable for easier handling, so if you need to ship the unit off to be sharpened (which you could presumably arrange with a willing dealer), the entire trimmer would have to be sent. For this reason, I’d recommend retaining the packaging the trimmer comes in.
Cleaning and disinfecting the blades should also be done regularly in order to minimize the likelihood of spreading diseases between plants and also to keep the tool in tip top shape. The manual only mentions brushing dirt and debris off the blades, but if you need to clean plant resins off, Greenworks recommends dipping the blades in a mixture of warm water and vinegar; some scrubbing with a stiff brush would also be needed. They recommended pouring boiling water over the blades in order to disinfect them. You would then want to dry them quickly in a warm space. Once dry, the blades should be lubricated with WD40 (Greenworks’ recommendation) before storage.
Handling the blades should only be done with the battery removed, and with gloved hands.
Multiple SAFETY Features
As with all tools, safety comes first. For the Greenworks 40V G-Max Cordless Hedge Trimmer (22262) I would recommend wearing gloves that are not only protective but have great grip (something like a nitrile coated glove). Additionally some sort of hearing protection and finally eye protection (like these safety glasses from Wiley-X)
One thing I appreciate is the multiple safety features built into the product. You still have to be careful, but the safety guard on the handle stops your hand from accidentally slipping into the moving blades while in use. There’s a safety lock-out button linked to the throttle trigger to prevent unexpected start-ups, and a safety sheath to protect your hands, arms, and legs when transporting the hedge trimmer.
The lockout button is a great safety feature and helps prevent unnecessary accidents
Safety guard prevents your hand from slipping into the blades
Based on my call to customer service, I would have to say that Greenworks is on top of their game. I was greeted by knowledgeable, competent and friendly people who could help right out of the box.
There’s a 4-year warranty against manufacturing defects on the trimmer, and a 2-year warranty on the battery.
It’s hard to find a disadvantage to this tool, but I can think of one improvement. With its vibrant green plastic housing, light weight, and lack of any oily feel or smell, I could see a child mistaking this tool for a toy or, at the very least, underestimating its danger. Although the trimmer does have the previously mentioned “lock-out” button, I think that an older child or two children playing together could start it. A child safety lock feature would be a valuable addition.
All in all, I give the Greenworks 40V G-Max Cordless Hedge Trimmer 22262 high marks for its broad usability, comfortable grip, light weight, and battery life adequate for all my trimming needs.
WHERE TO BUY
The price of the Greenworks 40V G-Max Cordless Hedge Trimmer (22262) (with 2AH battery & charger) from Amazon Prime is $107.99 (at the time of publication). Other retailers like Walmart offer the same configuration for $109.99 (free shipping). Greenworks (on their website) offers the product for $149.99 (free shipping). An extra battery charger and 2AH batteryon Amazon Prime will cost you $30.00 and $66.66 respectively.
Now, over to you – which do you prefer? A powerful trimmer, or a pair of manually-operated shears? Let us know in the comments below!