Thursday 3 September 2009

To water or not to water?????

Well today was the first day back at school for all the children living in my area ...and what do we get up to?? Beautiful sunshine?? NOPE!!!.....RAIN.......and we aren't talking a little bit of rain, or even raining cat's and dog's, I'm pretty sure it was raining horses and cows it was that heavy!! I felt very sorry for all the children that had to go out in that this morning...and for myself who had to go out to work in it too.

Anyway the rain and out most recent allotment newsletter inspired me to write this post so I guess the weather wasn't all bad.

So I'm sure you've guessed now that the post is going to be about watering. Now I know that if you grow in a greenhouse/poly-tunnel or have things in tubs then watering is inevitable and I also know that if you are growing in small sheltered garden or on patios that even when it rains the wind is often blowing in the wrong direction so the soil where you have planted doesn't get a good soaking so I would like to point out from the very beginning that I am only talking about things that are planted directly into the earth on an allotment or in a wide open area...(that should stop about half the comments!!!) (lol)

hosepipe. this is a post that is also a kind of opinion poll I guess and I really do want peoples thoughts on the matter, you see I am definitely not one for watering the garden...even with the very dry spell we had in June, not once did I water my allotment plot.

I have put three old dustbins on my plot and these catch rain water for me. I use this when I am planting my seedlings or seeds. I like to dig quite big holes/trenches and then flood this with rain water and let it soak in before putting my seeds/seedlings into the ground. Then I firm them in well and 'Voila!!' All is finished.

watering can
watering can.

I'm a big believer in using rain is totally natural and has no harsh chemicals or treatments added and is also a lot softer (especially as I live in a very hard water area) and so better for your plants. I am not a big believer in extra watering...lots of people on the plots have hosepipes and if we get a couple of days without rain then you see them stood for an hour or more soaking their allotments. I don't think this is good for the plants. Roots are designed to go down...and that's where the water is, if you water unnecessarily then your plants will become shallow rooted as the roots will not feel the need to push deeper into the soil....this will also make them less stable. I also find that if you put tap water on soil it bakes the surface of the soil leaving a hard crust which can tighten around and damage plant/vegetable stems. I don't feel that any of this is good for the plants and is also a waste of water........after all you don't see the farmers out watering their crops after a few days of no rain do you??? Surely they can't be that wrong with all the growing and harvesting they do each year!!

water butt.
old dustbin becomes a water butt!!

I know that there may come a time when we have a drought and it will be a case of I have to water or lose my crop...but in this extreme situation I would dig a small trench around my seedlings and then water that trench keeping the soil around them loose and aerated so as not to damage stems.....and to do all this I would have to use a watering can as I don't have a hosepipe on the plot as I don't think it's necessary. Do you water your plots?? How often and how much water do you use?? People on my plot tend to water quite a lot which has now incurred an increase in prices of the plots as, and I quote "The water consumption was so heavy that a substantial increase in water contributions is inevitable next year"...this make me quite mad as I have not touched the allotment taps once all season!!

So your view please...I would dearly like to know what you think..and whether or not you think I am wrong!!

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keep it clean...keep it relevant...I look forward to reading your comments!!