B3 Walking Sprinkler - Some Things Never Get Old

by caniwi

The B3 Walking Sprinkler - Fascinating it's owners with its trouble free watering of lawns since 1938

So What's a Lawn Sprinkler used for?

Never needed them where I grew up!

I grew up in New Zealand, and was raised on a farm where we grew a huge vegetable garden, spuds, carrots, beans, peas, broccolli (yuk), all the basic vegetables plus a few unique to New Zealand varieties, my favorite being the Kumura, a kind of sweet potato that is oh so much better than the seet potatoes or yams that we find in our supermarket's up here in Canada.

You know in all those years of helping in the garden with my parents, it never once occured to us have to water the garden.

50" of Rain Will Spoil You

Yes, New Zealand is blessed with a lot of things, one being the ability to grow just about anything wih it's beautiful temperate climate. Couple that with prolific and consistent rains, and we really never needed to do any watering, as we rarely got a long enough stretch of dry weather to require it.

Organic and we didn't know it

The Good Old Days

Rain Water Drum

When I think of it, my parents were way ahead of their time in the way they produced their vegetables the natural way, indeed today they'd be labeled "organic" growers, but in reality, back then that was just the way it was.

Even with the way they did water the garden in the rare dry spell, it was with a dipper, dipping rainwater collected from the "chook house" roof, into a good old fashioned 44 gallon drum, and then simply applied to the plants that looked like they need a bit of a drink.

btw Chooks is the Kiwi term for Chickens!

No hoses, no sprinklers, just a drum, a dipper and mother nature!

Everything was pretty natural, no artificial fertilizers, no pesticides, no herbicides. Nothing wasted, everything composted, an annual application to the soil of some "dags" (sheep manure) and that was pretty well it!

Fast Forward 30 Years

Gardening in Canada

Half a lifetime later, I'm still gardening, still trying to do it as naturally as possible, but do admit I've learned enough about manufactured fertilizers and pesticides to realize they're actually useful and not to be afraid of if understood and used properly.

Still, they're used as a last resort, and only after some of the methods I learned in my youth have failed will I draw on them.

A good example is here in our area of Western Canada, there's not too many sheep around, so getting any dags is nigh on impossible. Consequently I've learned a lot about the effects of N P K Fertilizer and why when used appropriately the results are as good as with manure (well, almost)

Where's the Rain When You Need It?

Now that I'm gardening in the West here, where we get roughly 20% of the rainfall that I was used to in NZ.  Though we can grow fantastic veggies here with our long summer days with incredible sunlight - up to 18 hours in mid summer - they do require periodic watering, as do our lawns.

I'd always just used the old dipper and rain barrel  method until recently on the garden, and the lawns, well frankly they suffered.

The change came when our kids presented me with a new Sprinkler they'd found on an online store; the B3 Walking Sprinkler.

This was one of those "didn't really need it" gifts, yet one that is so unique and intriguing in it's operation, that I became quite fascinated with it.

With the B3 Walking Sprinkler we didn't really need the rain!

B3 Walking Sprinkler - Some Things Never Get Old
B3 Walking Sprinkler - Some Things Never Get Old

Setting Up The B3 Walking Sprinkler

Then trying not to spend hours watching it

Now the B3 Walking Sprinkler is a pretty innovative little sprinkler. It utilizes water pressure from your water supply, to not only operate the adjustable sprinkler arms, but to also power a cog system that runs the wheels.

Now this cog/wheel system is placed over a 5/8" garden hose, that you lay in the area you need to water, and this hose becomes the guide for the B3 Walking Sprinkler to "walk" along.

You can set the speed of travel  which dictates the amount of coverage you can expect. The B3 actually has a transmission that gives 2 speeds, then you can pop it in neutral if you want to use it in one place.

The adjustable spray will water anywhere from about 15' to 55' along a 200' length of a 5/8" hose. You can use a 1/2' hose but you won't get quite the coverage from it, (OK for smaller yards though)

It's Quite a Sight When in Operation

I was pretty fascinated with the Walking Sprinkler to tell you the truth. Initially I did think of it as a bit of a novelty, but seeing I maintain quite a large vegetable garden, and an even larger lawn area, having something that I could "set and forget" did have a certain amount of appeal.

I could "Set" but I couldn't "Forget" it though...

This thing is actually mesmerizing. I don't know how many times I've caught myself laying down the hose, weaving it in gentle curves through out the lawn and garden, adjusting the arms, firing up the water tap, then 1/2 an hour later find myself still staring at it.

The kids purchased this at Garden.com and they have a great website detailing all the features of the B3 Walking Sprinkler

Vegetables - Lawns - And the water Tank
Vegetables - Lawns - And the water Tank

The End of the Story

When new is not so new!

Yep, I was pretty proud of what the kids had brought me, indeed I'd never seen anything like it. Remember, I'm the guy that watered with the dipper and the barrel though.

I was singing it's virtues to my Mother in Law when visiting her out at the family farm, when she gave me the strangest look, excused herself and appeared into one of the old sheds where she stores all her "treasures" (aka junk!)

Lo and behold she appeared in a few minutes with an old, faded, B3 Walking Sprinkler that she'd put away in the shed decades ago. We got checking into the history of the B3, and turns out it has been manufactured by the same company in the USA, and virtually unaltered in design, since 1938!

Turns out my new sprinkler wasn't so new after all.

Goes to show, some of the good things from yesteryear are still as good today as ever.

Rainwater, dippers, water barrels, sheep dags, the B3 Walking Sprinkler....


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Updated: 04/08/2012, caniwi
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Tolovaj on 06/08/2012

Gardening is so simple if you know what you are doing. It is one of most rewarding relaxation activities of all. And it can be organic too:)
Thanks for the story, wish you a lot of fun with B3 walking sprinkler!

teddletonmr on 11/29/2011

I really enjoyed your story of yesteryear and how some of the best garden tools never change. Well done, happy gardening.

caniwi on 11/29/2011

Well thank you kind sir! It's pretty easy to write when it's all true!

chefkeem on 11/28/2011

Great story! *Editor's Choice* :)

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