I adore my allotment. It’s a refuge, an individual peaceful haven that I retreat to for some nature related therapy when life is becoming all encompassing.
Originally, I took on our plot when my children were toddlers, as I wanted to show them how to grow food, where vegetables come from and how we can look after wildlife by choosing appropriate plants. I love anything nature-related and am a keen environmentalist. What has always troubled me with regards to allotment life is when I see people, particularly during the summer months, merrily drenching their earth with a hose. It occurs to me how unaware they are of the amount they are using and I often wonder if they truly understand how much their plants realistically need for a most successful harvest.
It is easily done and people can be excused for thinking that using as much water as possible for growing plants in an allotment site is always a fantastic thing. However, there are ways of reducing wastage which in turn (if you sometimes err on the side of lazy) means less regular visits to water your plants!
Here are some considerations:
Timing and Precision
If you water your allotment in the middle of a sunny day then chances are, a large proportion of the moisture will simply evaporate away before you’ve even left the site. Perfecting your watering times is key. Ideally, you should aim for first thing in the morning before the soil is too warm or last thing at night once the sun is down.
However, it isn’t just timing that needs consideration. Your watering technique is just as important. Always ensure you water at the base of the plant so the moisture immediately reaches the roots. If your accuracy is less acute then you will merely watering the empty soil surrounding your crops thus leading to water wastage.
Care for your soil
Well tended soil will always aid water retention. If you look at your typical garden soil, it is often prone to separating and appears dry to the touch. By adding organic matter around the base of your plants, not only do you help retain moisture, you also find that the nutrients within the matter (such as compost) break down and feeds your plants wonderful vitamin rich food.
Plant in blocks rather than rows
If you plant in a block formation rather than in traditional rows that are so commonly seen in allotments, then you tend to lose less water. By working together, the water escaping from either side of your plant will merely be absorbed by its neighbour and therefore no water is wasted. It’s that group mentality where everyone works together.
Collect free water!
If you consider that rain water is by far the best refreshment for your plants, it makes absolute sense to take advantage of this free and environmentally-friendly source for your allotment beds. There are many types of quality water butts available these days. You can purchase one to suit your house style and even attach a diverter such as this water butt filter that not only attracts the water from your house gutter system, it also filters out the leaves and other objects you do not want clogging up the water butt.
Finally and least popular suggestion for all allotment owners…
Use a watering can
By manually watering your plants, you are conscious of exactly how much water you are using and thus avoid any excessive wastage. Yes, it takes more time but you really become aware of the volume of water your plants need to successfully grow and that guilt of using a hose is made redundant.
For further water saving products for your home or allotment, visit https://www.freeflush.co.uk for all the latest products and suggestions.