Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Hosepipe ban

Today the North West of Britain has a hosepipe ban introduced. This means the inhabitants can fill their swimming pools and ponds with a hose, but cannot water the garden with sprinklers and the like.

Here in the South East of England we have no ban as yet, but all my garden water butts, and I have quite a few, are all empty or nearly so. I have resorted to lugging my bath water downstairs to water the flower gardens. I wonder if my flowers appreciate the "stress reliever" bubble bath, the "pamper and nourish your skin" bubble bath or the "aching muscle relief" bubble bath - the last named has been used rather a lot lately! I only use these on flower beds and my home made compost only goes back on those beds, so I do not worry about the possible tainting with chemicals that may ensue.

I have always resisted watering on the allotment, apart from when plants are establishing themselves. I have been of the view that there is plenty of water deep in the soil and that the plants should be left to their own devices to find it and not encouraged to be lazy! But clearly this cannot apply to shallow rooted plants, such as radish, and other roots, including particularly celeriac, which is notoriously difficult to grow well in a dry summer.

This year all my best principles have gone out of the window. The strawberry plants have wilted, the potato crop is threatened, the lettuces are slow getting going, the celeriac are standing still and not growing at all, in short most of the crops desperately need more water. So every other day or so I give them all a jolly good soak. This is far more satisfactory than giving everything a dribble every day. And after watering, the straw in the farmyard and stable manure, spread around the plants, is acting as a jolly good mulch, helping to conserve the water for the plants rather than letting it evaporate and go to waste.

PS Note the organic slug pellets. I will never use non organic pellets on the allotment.

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