Watering woes

It seems we might have a leak … not us personally, but the site as a whole. We seem to be getting through a swimming pool’s worth of water between ten at night and eight in the morning, which is hardly like, even given the balmy weather and the fact that everybody is watering like mad.

So we’re taking our meter readings every day and preparing to argue the case with our water company (what a sense of dread I feel as I type those words) while fielding the complaints of our allotment-holders who are very unhappy about the water pressure.

It is low. It’s so low that if it was a pulse it would be terminal. Himself mutters about it all the time. I don’t actually have a problem with it, because I was raised in the ‘minimum watering’ school and think that irrigation is a precise affair to be carried out with as much dedication as weeding. Not so most British people who are used to sloshing water around like mad. I spent several months in the Sahara and believe me, it teaches you the value of water!

So, our council has outlawed sprinklers, which I think is a great idea (they increase ambient humidity by releasing up to 60% of the water they convey into the air, instead of it reaching the ground – no good to the plants at all) but many allotment holders like to turn on their sprinkler and go off and do something else, so it’s a constant battle to stop them. I’m not without sympathy – if you’re a single allotmenteer, watering time is dead time, you’re just stood there holding the hose when you could be doing something you think is more productive, and if you don’t have a fellow worker to weed and dig and harvest while you water, you’re spending twice as long on the plot as two-person teams. But water is a precious resource and we just can’t squander it in the way that too many people seem to want to.

I use bottle watering whenever I can, along with watering cans and rainwater capture systems. Our asparagus bed, for example, is a no weed system – it should never get wet unless it rains, and each crown has its own dedicated water bottle which I fill with rainwater, so the surface weeds don’t germinate because the water goes straight to the roots of the wanted plant with nothing meeting the needs of the unwanted ones. That’s the theory anyway. Every so often, Himself will forget and play the hose over it and a few days later I’ll have to weed it because a whole bunch of adventitious seeds will have sprouted!

Still, my 'front garden' is looking great - nice to have some more flowers on the plot!

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Anonymous allotments4you.com said...

I am with you on the conserving water front. I am a lone allotmenter but I don't use sprinkler or hosepipe...I have my watering cans and also 5 large water butts to collect the rain water.....I have some pots of salad which I water daily and also the stuff in the greenhouse..as for the plot...as of yet apart from when I put the seedlings in it hasn't been watered and it's coming on just as well as every other persons....wish the 'no water, no weed' theory worked for me....I'd be laughing!!

June 26, 2010 at 12:44 AM  
Blogger londoner said...

Not that it's anything to do with your current water woes but saw this ad - http://www.selections.com/GF2636/drip-feed-plant-irrigation-kit-4-pack/ - this weekend and wondered if you had any opinion about these watering spikes? Leaving my plants at certain times is a worry. Have you tried them or know anyone on your allotment who has?

June 26, 2010 at 10:19 AM  

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