This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V22", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Many very good gardeners have a prejudice against using a hose in watering their greenhouses. It is hard to tell where such a prejudice has originated, but it is undoubtedly nothing more or less than this, for much time and labor can be saved by its judicious use, without injury to the plants. Indeed, plants which require much water are apt to be neglected by careless workmen, when they must be supplied by can watering, but where the hose is used there is less liability to neglect. It is true care must be taken in its application; but where is there an operation in this line which does not require care? It might be answered that careless workmen cannot be trusted with a hose, that they will water every thing indiscriminately if they have so easy a manner of getting the water, and that then you have gained nothing over the can method in this direction, and on the contrary that it takes more care. Admit all this, but do you not gain time and labor? and will it not pay in the end to hire good help, and watch that the watering is properly done? In the winter particularly, the hose should be used with discretion, especially in the stove-house, where indeed it might be well to banish it entirely until the water becomes warm enough to be used with safety, and even then it is well to use a can with many finer plants which require special attention.
The careful workman who waters with a hose, it must be remembered, need not throw the water around in all directions, regardless of the wants of many of the plants in the house; but he will so regulate the stream that he can water each plant separately, and only wet the foliage of those which require syringing, and with a little practice it can be done with as much precision by this means as by the old way, except in some few cases, and then a can must be used as above indicated. With general stock, in the cooler houses, the hose can and will, I am sure, eventually be universally used to good advantage. I say it can, because I have seen it used for a number of years with good results. Where city waterworks are not at command a good force pump is indispensable, and no garden should be without one. There are some large commercial establishments in the country where the hose is never used, and where at least one-third, and in many cases much more of the work of watering, could be saved by its use.
I have seen two men do all the watering in an establishment, where the hose and hydrant were taken advantage of, in the same time that it took five men with much harder work to water all the plants under less glass, where the watering was done with cans, and then their work was not done nearly as well, and had to be revised before the time came again for regular watering.
Now if some of the good old fashioned gardeners who are opposed to all innovations, would give this a thorough trial, they would be astonished at the result, and I am sure that they would never want to do without the hose afterwards.