Having water when and where you need it can make a big difference in vegetable wash station efficiency. Planning for multiple “drops” or spigots around the wash area can make it more convenient to access water where it is needed. It can be helpful to consider the routing of the supply lines to avoid condensation on people and produce. Cold water flowing through the lines on a warm humid day can result in condensation of water that can drop from the lines. Running the lines away from walkways and produce areas can avoid this being a problem. Running the lines down low in wash areas can also help keep any condensation exposure at a minimum.
Also, investing in a hose hanger, hose reel or a trolley can help keep the hose off the ground, resulting in a cleaner and more safe work environment.
Hose hangers are the simplest hose management tool to install. These are simply wall mounted or free standing rounded shelves or manually wound reels that accommodate a coiled hose when not in use. They are generally available from the hardware store, though some growers suggest “buying up” to get a heavy duty version that will last in an environment where they are used daily. Molded plastic hangers are common for household use, but are prone to cracking and breaking. Metal hangers are available and are likely better suited to regular use in a vegetable wash/pack area.
Yard Butler Hanger, $12 from Zoro
Liberty Wall Mount Hanger, $11 from Zoro
Hose trolleys have been in use in greenhouses and propagation houses for some time. These are general made up of a multi-strand metal wire with pulleys (similar to a dog run). Multiple pulleys have hangers below them to hold sections of hose. The hose expands out when needed and contracts back in when stored in an accordion fashion. Trolleys can be made using materials from the local hardware store (metal wire, pulleys, PVC pipe or hose split lengthwise to support the hose, and some zip ties.) Several vendors offer hose trolley kits as well (e.g. FarmTek, Johnny’s)
Hose reels provide a spring loaded
retraction reel that rolls the hose up neatly after use. These can be ceiling or wall mounted depending on your space and need. The reels come in different hose lengths and different hose diameters. Two popular options are available from Equip and Hannay.
Aside from ways to manage hoses lets take a moment to talk about hose nozzles. The standard cheap hose nozzles work well, but may not hold up to excessive use on a vegetable farm. If you are looking to upgrade to a more durable, and versatile hose nozzle consider upgrading to a “high-pressure wash down gun.”
This can be found at Johnny’s under their tools section.
Or also available as “The Big Blue Gun” from paperpot.co
Both sites are listed at -$89 as of January 2019.