Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Circe Invidiosa III

I was having problems finding the correct color liquid for the potion in the image.  While I was doing online research and racking my brain I saw my son had a gallon of Hawaiian Punch.   He paid less than $2.00 for the gallon.  That is less expensive than Gatorade.  That got me thinking.  Maybe there were other liquids besides Gatorade and auto anti-freeze that will match the green color.  (I didn't, and still don't, think anti-freeze was/is a good idea to pour into a pond filled with fish, tadpoles and frogs.  I have heard that two tablespoons of anti-freeze is enough to kill child.  A drink might be a better idea.)  He bought the Hawaiian Punch at WalMart.  I got into my car and headed that way.

While in the drink aisle at WalMart, I found a green Hawaiian Punch and thought I hit the jackpot.  Holding the bottle up to the fluorescent lights, I saw it was not transparent.  I need a green transparent liquid.  I continued to scour the shelves for my green liquid.  Then, down on the lowest shelf, I spied packets of Kool-Aid.  Lemon-Lime Kool-Aid in unsweetened packets @ $0.20/packet.  Each packet makes one half gallon.  I figured I need one gallon just to fill the bowl.  So, I purchased four packets.  A good price for my green liquid.  I also purchased a box of food coloring with the colors, red, blue, yellow and green.  If the color of the Kool-
Aid isn't quite right I can adjust it with the food coloring.  I was feeling pretty good when I left WalMart.

At this point in time, except for actually making the drape/chiton with Stitch Witchery and mixing up a batch of Kool-Aid to get the color correct, I believe I have my props.  It shouldn't take too much time but, I need to get busy.


Circe Invidiosa

Ageism Keeping Up with Technology

Technology advances rather quickly and those that can't or won't keep up, will loose out.  Today employers require employees to have, at least, a basic knowledge of computer use.  Even a fast food joint uses computer cash registers.  As evidenced by the below ad, pulled from Craigslist, at least one employer requires entry level employees to have advanced technical skills, and then, at entry level pay.

Major jewelry store located on Philadelphia ...
Looking for a trustworthy, meticulous & hard working individual - preferably has some knowledge of data entry & jewelry, for entry level position.

- Skilled at product photography (i.e. jewelry)
- Must know how to professionally edit jewelry in Photoshop to make "Web Ready".
- Experience at created Excel spreadsheets (for inventory)

- Maintain log book of all jewelry repairs
- Data entry: Inventory, Billing & Customer info 
- Seeking full-time and long-term employee
- Mon-Fri, 9:15-5:45
- Must be very organized
- Background check required

Please indicate if you are familiar with any of the following:
- Web design / html
- Social Networking: Facebook & Twitter
- How to setup/maintain Google Adwords
- Experience with SEO work for website
- Graphic design skills
- Digital photography for jewelry photos


  • Location: Philadelphia
  • Compensation: $400/wk

  Now it seems that older folks who are less enthusiastic about learning to use new technology will be left behind or kicked to the gutter.  A recent survey amongst graphic designers stated "... 80 percent of the respondents believe ageism exists in graphic design firms and that older workers are being pushed out of the business. An astonishing 30 percent of designers believe ageism becomes a factor starting at age 45.  Not keeping up with technology and contemporary culture were cited as the two greatest contributing factors. 

 I don't think these older workers will organize another Luddite uprising.  I do think that if you want to stay employed, you should keep up with technology or stay home and figure out how to program the cable remote.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Square Foot Garden-Tempus Fugit

I have only been harvesting since the beginning of August and now the growing season is almost over.  Tempus fugit!  All year long I cringe when I see tomatoes in the supermarket or on the produce stand, pink, hard, tasteless replicas of tomatoes.  I hate to purchase them.  There is nothing that compares to a homegrown vine ripened tomato.  Sometimes I take a salt shaker when I pick.  Not as many tomatoes see the inside of my kitchen when I do that.  I can't control myself when the tomatoes are ripe.  Soft ready to explode with flavor, seeds dripping down my chin.  (Somehow people can always tell when I have been eating tomatoes.  It might be the telltale dried tomato seed on my shirt.)  Don't get me wrong, many a tomato does get to the kitchen.  I believe a sliced tomato is just a beauty to behold.
Freshly Sliced Tomatoes
Mr Stripey (lower) Delicious and three sprigs of Oregano

My square foot garden was hit by hurricane Irene.  The night before, I picked all the ripe tomatoes from the vines.  Most of the green tomatoes survived the storm.  Some of the vines are turning yellow and the leaf mass has diminished.  The last two nights had temperatures in the 60s.  Probably won't be many ripening days left to this growing season.  I may only harvest green tomatoes for the remainder of the season.  Those can be eaten fried or pickled but they cannot be compared to red vine ripened tomatoes.

Damn!  I will miss my ripe homegrown tomatoes already.

Post hurricane Irene garden
Below are the seeds that were used for the plants in my square foot garden 2011

Circe Invidiosa II

Time is drawing near to the photo session date of Sunday Sept 4.  I have most of the props except a drape/chiton and green liquid for the poison.  I was searching for green food coloring in sufficient quantity to color a few gallons of water.  One restaurant supply house has red and black food coloring by the gallon but I want green.  Supermarkets have the usual home cooking four packs of red, yellow, blue and green each in .25 oz containers.  There is not enough green there for my needs.  If I had thought of it earlier, I could have gotten a large quantity of green food coloring at  (You know I am old, don't you?)  As of this very moment, I have narrowed my search for Gatorade G2 Rain Lime.  Rain Lime seems to have the correct color I am seeking.  All I need now is to find enough Gatorade G2 Rain Lime in a store or more than one store.  As for the drape, I will visit a fabric store and see what I can find that will work.  I found this silky blue print on Joann's site.  I need to see and feel the fabric before I purchase.


JW Waterhouse - Circe Invidiosa

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Irene Moving Out

Immediately upon awakening I went to my bedroom window to assess the damage from last nights storm.  A few branches down but no trees.  More importantly, the electricity was never interrupted.  I did the rounds of all the second floor windows and saw about the same.  There is significant water puddled or shall I say ponding in the rear of my backyard.  My neighbor's yard, to my NE, has ponds where water usually never stands.  The fact that the two large trees within 10 feet of my house did not fall on my house has my nerves calmed quite a bit.
This is the rear of my house from the rear of my backyard.  The large trees can be seen on the left of the house.

Irene has Arrived

I write this entry just arriving upstairs from shelter in our basement due to a tornado warning.  This is the first time in my 60 years living in the Philadelphia area that I have ever even thought of taking shelter from a tornado.  Don't get me wrong this area has seen some tornados. A tornado hit in Limerick, PA July 24, 1994 not far from my present suburban home.  That destructive tornado took the lives of a young family and destroyed many a home on that street.  There was another that reportedly lifted a telephone booth (remember them?) along with someone talking on the telephone and set down both the booth and the person across the street.  This happened within the limits of center city, amongst those narrow streets and tall buildings.  Tornadoes rarely happen here.

From my bedroom, I continue to hear tornado warnings on TV.  The Governor of Delaware suggests that all Delaware residents sleep in their basements tonight.  Unthinkable for this area.  Toto, are we in Kansas?  If we are to sleep in the basement tonight, I will need to straighten up down there.  Could be that by the time I am finished, it may be morning.  Looks like a big job ahead of me.  I might not be getting any sleep at all tonight.  I hope the electricity isn't interrupted by a fallen tree.  If the electricity is interrupted the basement may flood because the sump pump won't have power.  It won't be a bad idea if we make ourselves comfortable in some large RubberMaid totes tonight.

Local TV coverage of hurricane Irene

Friday, August 26, 2011

Finding a Stolen Camera Made Easy

photoequipmentsmallWill the wonders of technology ever cease?  A photographer had his gear stolen out on the Left Coast and had just about given up all hope of ever recovering it.  He then found GadgetTrak a site that searches image upload sites for serial numbers that match his DSLR and got back all his gear.  It even works for computers and mobile phones.  This app can take a photograph of the thief using the computer or mobile phone camera.   Check out his story at

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Circe Invidiosa

Today I visited IKEA and purchased a hand blown bowl and a carafe to use in my Circe Invidiosa project.  (I can visualize the green liquid pouring into the pond now)

I also learned, later this evening, that a threat of a huge hurricane hitting the area.  Last year when I visited the photography location, it was after a heavy rain.  The grass was combed downhill, covered with debris and the grounds were muddy.  In that conditon, unusable for the photography session.  If hurricane Irene comes through over Sat-Sun, the grounds will not have time to recover from the rain.  Only to add to my worries, there is the matter of whether the model will show.  I may have to postpone this project as I did my Equality project.   DAMN!  All I can do is hope for the best.

Imminent Hurricane Irene

The East Coast is preparing for the arrival of a hurricane, hurricane Irene.  Click here to see Irene's current status.  This morning I traveled to my mother's house in South Philly to help my brother clean the downspout opening on her flat roof.  (Leaves and seeds from the tree next door clog the opening and then leaks appear.)  I usually listen to NPR in the car and BBC is on from 09:00 - 10:00.  You know world news.  At 10:00 I had no idea Irene was headed as close to Philadelphia as it is now forecasted.  It wasn't until the evening news on TV that my wife made me aware of the panic from NC to Boston.  I should watch more TV.

Winter storms have a rule of thumb for supplies- for each 1" of snow forecast, you must purchase one gallon of milk and one loaf of bread.  I am not sure what is the hurricane supplies rule of thumb.  Could it be one gallon of water per person per day plus an electric generator for loss of electricity, plus a chain saw to cut the fallen trees, plus 10 pounds of ice to keep your refrigerated food cold longer plus batteries for your flashlights and radio, plus gasoline for your car, plus mops, buckets and sponges?  I should watch more TV news, I am sure they will tell me my needs.

Talk is of a cat 2 maybe cat 3 to hit us here in the Delaware Valley.  I will prepare for the worst and hope for the best.  What more can I do?  Stay thirsty my friends.

American Red Cross Hurricane Preparedness

"Mandatory evacuation of Okracoke Island, NC"

"Mandatory evacuation in Cape May County" 

"NYC to evacuate Lower Manhattan - Close Subway Sys"

How to prepare for a Natural Disaster- slideshow

Lowe's Hurricane Preparedness Guide

New Photography Project:Circe Invidiosa

I have been dying to do another personal photography project.  Back in the spring I had the Equality Project in mind which turned into an enormous endeavor and was postponed until next summer.  Now I am working with one model using the John William Waterhouse painting of Circe Invidiosa as my inspiration.

I chose a curvaceous young model.  She still hasn't given me the thumbs up but I am proceeding with searching for my props and looking for a location.  I want a clear glass or plastic bowl as in the painting- wide and shallow.  I also need a dress of a chiton style or a fabric that I will fashion into a chiton type drape.  I have a location in mind but need to visit again to be sure the landscape hasn't changed and the pond is not covered with green algae at this time of year.

I am searching several places for a bowl.  I have looked online at IKEA, Crate and Barrel and Bed Bath and Beyond, Overstock ...  I have also been looking in Lowe's at the lighting displays that are on clearance for a glass diffuser on a ceiling light fixture that could be used as a bowl.  I was also searching for vessel sinks that may be scratched or special order returns for a low price.  There are also a few garage/lawn sales each weekend plus Marshall's, Home Goods and thrift stores to visit.  As for dresses I saw a possible dress at Target but I think I am leaning towards fabric fashioned into a chiton type drape.

In any case, I will be busy in my free time.  I guess it won't be free time, if I am busy.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Square Foot Garden 2011 II

View of my backyard from my sliding glass door
Closer view of my 4' x 4' garden

Square foot gardening gets the name from the fact that you stake out the garden in 1 foot squares.  So in my case a 4' x 4' garden has 16-1 foot squares.  Each tomato plant is placed in the center of its own square.  I planted four Delicious, one Mr Stripy, two Cherokee Purple and two Sweet Millions grape type tomato plants.  I also planted a few Thai pepper plants.  These little Christmas tree light bulb shaped fruits pack a punch of spicy heat and they are prolific producers.  I also planted one Sweet basil, one Rosemary, one square of sweet corn and one square of Stevia rebaudiana or sweet leaf or just Stevia.

There were two elements to this bed that I overlooked but became apparent quickly.  The first to become a problem was drainage.  This loose sandy soil with all its amendments was placed into a bed I cut in the rocky clay of the lawn creating a bowl that holds water.  This May, soon after planting my young plants, heavy rains came to my backyard.  In four days 1.6" of rain fell.  My bed was wet, really wet.  My tomatoes began to die.  I lost the Cherokee Black and several Delicious.  I should have put in some kind of drainage or put up the money to raise the beds.  I did neither and had to deal with the wet soil.  I purchased replacements tomatoes but not the same variety.

View of the North facing side
The other problem I encountered with the placement of plants in the grid.  I placed three of the tall indeterminate tomatoes in the rear(north from east to west) row, leaving open one square for sweet corn seeds that were not purchased at the time of tomato planting.  I placed three additional indeterminate tomatoes in the row to the south of the first row on the east end.  The third row starting in the east, I planted the two Sweet millions, the Rosemary and the Sweet Basil.  The last row(southern most from east to west) I planted the two Thai peppers, an empty square and the Stevia.  This arrangement ended up shading the Rosemary completely.  The foliage produced by the indeterminate tomatoes is massive.  With my red/green color blindness I really need to search for the tomatoes in the jungle of foliage.  I have found some fruit so ripe that most of the fruit needs to be trimmed to get to something edible.  The corn square is shaded also, that combined with the square being planted with too many corn seeds has stunted the stalk growth plus limited the pollen to get to the corn silk.  The result are spotty kernels on the small ears.  Lessons learned this year not to repeat next year.

Northwestern most square planted with corn

View of corn square from the West

View of West side of 4' x 4' garden
corn on right basil third sq from left Stevia on right

View of South facing side
Stevia on left, two Thai Peppers on right
Rosemary hidden beneath the vegetation second row back second column from left

View of South facing side with indeterminate tomatoes in rear

Closer view of Thai Peppers on right

Friday, August 19, 2011

Square Foot Garden 2011

I spoke of my square foot garden in a past post.  I used the book Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew to create my vegetable beds in past years.  Back then, I used the square foot garden in raised beds and I got great results.  I wanted to make raised beds this spring but the cost of the wood and other materials was too high for my budget.  This year, I dug down 1 foot into my rocky, clay soil.  I sifted the soil through a 1/4" hardware screen removing all the rocks and large stones.  I then added general purpose sand, peat moss, vermiculite, and some other amendments I had in my garage.  Some of the amendments I added were blood meal, super phosphate, calcium, bone meal and a water holding material that is used when seeding slopes with grass seed.  I believe this material is a cousin of the water hog granules used in disposable baby diapers.  So the result is a 4' square bed of loose sandy mix level with the lawn.   The soil mix is not very different than the soil in South New Jersey, which is great for tomatoes.

There are some differences, though and I will write of them soon.

Ground level soil in 4' x 4' SqFt bed with black soaker hose visible

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Harvest 2011 Has Begun

Sweet Basil, Thai Basil and Sage
I am never able to find a good tomato at the supermarket or produce store.  They are all hard and lack good taste.  Except for the grape tomatoes.  I love them and eat them like candy.  In order to get a good ripe tomato, you must grow them yourself.

For years I have been without a vegetable garden.  I didn't seem to have time for it.  I was working a 40 hour week plus our family owned and operated a seasonal snack bar at a driving range/miniature golf/executive golf course from 2000 through 2007. You know, just when planting season rolled around the business needed to be opened.  Go figure,  Now that I am old, (just turned 60 in June) and only working 39 hours a week, I have plenty of time for a vegetable patch.

Over the 18 years we have been at this present house in the suburbs, I have moved my beds from place to place around my property.  The last few locations were not successful.  The vegetable beds were neglected because of their location, which was out of sight from my windows nor did I have the soaker hose system.  This year I located a 4'  x 4' square foot garden just past my patio in plain sight from my 8' sliding glass door.

Here is some of my bounty.  They ripened on the vine, too.  Did I say I love tomatoes?

Tomatoes(Sweet Millions, Mr. Stripey and Delicious) and Thai Chiles

Monday, August 15, 2011

Perseid Showers 2011 Missed Again

I have been trying to view the Perseids at my home for some 17 years.  Most of those years the weather has not cooperated.  This year was no exception.  The sky has been overcast this last week.  I need to get to an area on this planet that historically has clear weather and little light pollution so that I may view the Perseids and the Milky Way in all their grander.  Milky Way and Perseid Showers  Some day.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Old Hippie 65th Birthday Card

I created this photographic image a few years ago while working with an aspiring model.  I created the greeting card last year.    When I created the card, I had in mind my failure to attend Woodstock and the millions of people that claim they did attend.  It has sold a few times since putting online at Greeting Card Universe.  I sold one today.

How to Water Your Garden While Cooking Dinner III

I wrote about two ways to water your garden while doing other chores.  I will now explain my third and last inexpensive way to get the job done.

Here is how the third system works.  You will need enough soaker hose to cover the areas that need to be watered.  (In my case, I purchased two fifty foot lengths, one per season over two years.)  Spread out the hose in each bed so that all of the plants in that bed get enough water from the soaker hose.  (I use two different patterns.  Either a spiral or an S-curve pattern.  The spiral pattern round a tree.   An S-curve in most other beds.)

For the spiral, start at the tree trunk.   Circle the tree laying down the hose in a spiral with about 12" between each successive ring until the outside edge of the bed is reached.  Using the S-curve, snake the soaker hose back and forth with about 12" between each lay of hose.   Be careful not to make a bend too tight or the water flow will be diminished.  Once the hose is spread cover it with compost.  This will hide the hose and keep the water from spraying into the air loosing it to evaporation plus keep the soil moist longer and feed the plants, slowly.

In either pattern the far end of the soaker hose must have a male threaded mending fitting and a cap with a rubber/plastic washer to prevent leaks.  The other end, or supply end, will have a female threaded mending fitting.  Now here is the difference in this system from either of the other two systems.  The supply ends must have quick connect fittings, as will the garden hose end.  The quick connect fitting on the garden hose will have its own shut off valve. You are now able to quickly connect to a bed and adjust the water at the bed.  No more running back and forth to see if the pressure is correct.  Then you will run the water to each bed using a timer as I explained before.  Once that bed has been thoroughly watered, disconnect move the hose to the next bed, connect and adjust valve at garden hose end.

This system still uses the same soaker and garden hoses but does not move them from bed to bed.  By keeping the soaker hose in the beds all season it will reduce the damage done to the plants when the soaker hose is placed into and removed from the beds.  This third system does not use all the gang valves as in the second system and thereby needs more labor to connect/disconnect and move the garden hose from bed to bed.  No matter which system you choose, one of them will work for you.  Let me know which you choose and why and how it works.
Soaker hose around tree

S-curved method
As a post script -The quick connect fittings may also be used in the first system.  Doing that will add the valve at the garden hose end and eliminate the need to walk between the spigot and the soaker hose to regulate the water pressure.  It will also allow the quick disconnection of the soaker hose and connection of a nozzle onto the garden hose.

Female quick connect fitting with valve on hose and male quick connect on nozzle

Lowe's Link
SWAN  1/2"Dia. x 75'L Soaker Hose

Item #: 288510

Gilmour  1/2" POLY HOSE REPAIR - 


Item #: 36788

Gilmour  1/2" POLY HOSE REPAIR - 


Item #: 36776
Gilmour  5-Piece Quick Connect 

Starter Kit with Shut-Off

Item #: 99316
Item #: 228740

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

2011 Perseid Showers and the International Space Station

I just received a post from NASA about the Perseid shower this year.  Later this week coinciding with the Perseids, will be the appearance of the ISS over some cities in North America.  You can see the post here NASA and watch a video about the Perseids here, 2011 Perseids video.

I hope you catch sight of a fireball.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

I Think the Hummingbird Wants to Play with Me

As I said in several previous posts, I have been trying to attract hummingbirds to my garden for years.  Ever since I saw my first while I still living within the Philadelphia city limits.  It was there that a hummingbird visited a Fushia planted in a hanging basket hanging near my front door.  In my present house, in which I have lived for over 18 years, I planted several Lonicera sempervirens 'Alabama Crimson' to attract hummingbirds.  I have seen one hummingbird in my garden for the last three years.  

I am not sure it is the same one each year but, I never see more than one at anytime.  In any event, I love to watch these creatures so much that I find myself exiting my sliding patio door several times an hour to see if I can catch it around the honeysuckle that is on the side of my house.  I usually find it there in the morning and evening when the sun is not hot.  As I slowly inch my way around the corner of the house it usually begins to fly darting a few feet from the vine, up, down, left and right.  If I get too close it may fly away.  Most times, it flies over my neighbors house and then west into a Silver Maple in my backyard.  Because of its size I am unable to tell on which branch it perches.  Other times it flies towards  the front of my house then to the neighbor's Trumpet Vine which is probably a Campsis x tagliabuana kudian "Indian Summer"
My photograph of the hummingbird at my neighbor's Trumpet Vine

or it may fly up and over my roof to a smaller honeysuckle I have in the rear of my house.  One of the times, today, it flew to my neighbor's Trumpet Vine.  I lost sight of it while it actually flew wholly into each flower.  Kind of like the shell game, only to find it on a branch of the climbing rose I also have trained on my trellis.  It was just perched there checking me out, from a safe distance.  Maybe, it was playing hide and seek with me.  If it was playing, it was definitely winning.  
Checking me out from a safe distance
This was photographed using a 200mm zoom lens which would make it 4x magnification before cropping
I put down my camera, did some weeding in my flower beds and went inside to wash my hands.  I looked outside the sliding patio doors at the zinnias planted about 10 ft away.  I was looking for gold finches eating the zinnia seeds, when the hummingbird appeared at the door.  It was hovering about 1 ft higher than my head and seemingly looking right into my eye, asking, "Are you coming out to play?"  It didn't hover for long and buzzed off towards the honeysuckle on the side of the house.  I turned to my wife and told her my impression.  She gave me one of those looks as if to say, "You are loosing it!"  She turned and flew off over my neighbor's roof turned west and perched in one of the Silver Maples in my backyard.  I was able to tell on which branch she perched.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Hummingbird Attracted by Honeysuckle

I have seen hummingbirds in my garden over the last three years.  The first year I caught site of one in late August.  One is the most I have ever seen at one time.  Last year I saw one earlier than late August and this year I saw a hummingbird in early June.  Every time, except once, the hummingbird was at the honeysuckle vine.  Early this week, I saw a hummingbird at my yellow butterfly bush.  I was wondering if the dry conditions, caused by lack of rain in the last month, had anything to do with that situation.

Today I saw a hummingbird on the side of the house near the honeysuckle trained on a trellis that hides my chimney.  It was darting about as hummingbirds usually do, then perched on the vine for a little while.  I didn't have my camera with me at the time.  The sky was densely overcast and it had been raining heavily for hours.  The sun was also nearing the end of its ride through the heavens and the light level was low for quality photography.  The hummingbird buzzed around a little, perched a little, repeating that activity a few times.  During one of those cycles it flew close to me, seemingly without seeing me.  It did finally notice me when I moved and flew over my neighbors roof around to the west of my backyard and into one of the several Silver Maples there.

I was in and out of the house while grilling some hamburgers for dinner and I checked twice to see if the hummingbird had returned to the honeysuckle.  I caught it out of the corner of my eye the first time I looked.  The second time I checked, it darted away and I didn't see it again for the evening.

photograph from  < >
I am beginning to wonder if there is a hummingbird nest in the honeysuckle vine that I can't readily see.  This year when I pruned back the vine on the trellis, I found a robin nest that was built last year that I didn't realize was there.  Could there be a hummingbird nest in the vine.  Their nests are small and I may be looking at it and not recognize it.  I may not find out until I prune again.  

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

How to Water Your Garden While Cooking Dinner II

In my last post I told you how to assemble and use a simple inexpensive watering system.  Now I will describe how to dress up your system.

Just to reiterate, you now have a 8'-10' length of 1/2" soaker hose attached to your garden hose.  You arrange that soaker hose in your beds and around bushes and trees.  You then turn on your spigot at a low pressure, set a timer to sound an alarm in one hour and you attend to other chores until the alarm sounds.  At that time you move the soaker hose to a different bed, bush or tree and repeat until all of your plants are watered sufficiently.

Here are some other attachments you may add to your system to make your work even easier (you know the adage, "Work smarter, not harder").

First off there are longer lengths of soaker hose that you can cut into custom lengths that will fit your beds or around your bushes and trees.  These lengths of soaker hose can be attached either using male and female hose ends or by hose repair couplings.  You may also need some lengths of regular 1/2" garden hose.  If you will be using the longer lengths of soaker hose, adding valves is a good idea.

Start by purchasing a gang valve with four outlets.  Each outlet will have a dedicated valve.  You can now have four discrete watering systems.  I suggest one be dedicated to your garden hose which you will use for washing the patio, filling your bird baths, watering hanging pots and other purposes.  The next valve will go to one bed or the first plant in a longer line of plants.  The third and fourth will follow, likewise.

You may also want to add valves along a long run to turn off a bed that has plantings that may not need as much water as those in the beginning of the run.  My vegetable square foot garden tends to get excessively wet, because of the way I built the bed.  So, I have a valve to turn off or restrict the water going to my square foot garden.

Then there is the addition of a timer.  Timers are available as either wind-up mechanical or battery operated digital.  The mechanical is less costly.  I had a mechanical timer and I liked using it but it broke a few years ago and I haven't replaced it.  I guess I really don't need it.  The timer and alarm works better for me.  If the water timer goes off and I don't realize it, I may not get back outside to turn it on for another leg of my system.

I may have gotten too involved with this whole soaker hose system, but I like it.  I will add in some photos and captions below to try and illustrate.

In my next post I will describe another system without using the gang valve which uses more labor but, it may be the system for your needs.

This is the spigot that supplies the water to my backyard soaker hose system.  You can see the 4 valve gang unit on the ground to the right and a Y splitter on the left.  The splitter on the left supplies water to the left side of the bed that runs the width of the house or a long run to five bushes and a bed around a tree 30 some feet from the spigot.  I have a sheet of plastic under the bed by the house to try and keep water from entering the basement and that bed can get oversaturated quickly.  That is why I have the valve there.
This is a close-up of my 4 valve gang unit.  As you can see I have only one original threaded hose end on any of the hoses going to or from the gang unit.  If you look closely you will see that only one valve of the four is on and that one goes to the beds that run behind my patio and to the vegetable square foot garden.
I hope you are able to see the green hose with a yellow mender running to my lacecap hydrangea.  That run then continues to a rhododendron and a bed that circles a Norway Maple.  I just finished running the hoses this spring and didn't have time to cover them with soil or mulch.
This is the continuation of that run from the house to my Sambucus nigra-black lace, Clethra alnifolia-summersweet, Cercis canadensis-redbud, Hydrangea macrophlla normalis-lacecap, Rhododendron & a bed around a mature  Acer saccharinum-silver maple and both hosta and hemerocallis of unknown varieties