Amazing, beautiful weather, but what a workout it is to do the watering every day! We can’t get up there in the morning, which is the best time to water, but each evening we’re there. It starts off a pleasure – who doesn’t want to be strolling around in the sunshine after working in an office all day?
But, after the 5th walk to the trough it begins to wear thin…
We are very lucky that 9 years ago we received a grant from the North Wessex Downs AONB to have a borehole dug. So, with a bit of additional plumbing, and a generator, we are able to get our water directly from the aquifer to water our allotments. It still pays to conserve water where we can though – to save our legs and arms with the watering can trips.
Top tips for watering:
• Don’t make your plants compete for the water with weeds – make your beds as weed-free as possible.
• Avoid watering in the main heat of the day – most of the water will evaporate.
• Water at the base of your plants – the leaves don’t need the water. This is where our adapted plastic bottles really come in handy. We take the lid off, cut the bottom off and invert them into the earth by our squashes and courgettes. We water by filling the bottle so the water goes straight to the roots and into the water retaining manure under the plant.
• If you can’t water everything every day then be sure to water a lot each time you do visit – give plants a real soaking so that the roots receive the water they’re searching for.
We’ve had a problem with blackfly this year – made a horrible mess of our broad beans. We think it may be because the ants are doing so well in the dry weather. Ants ‘farm’ aphids for the honeydew they secrete and they kill the good guys like the ladybirds and their ever-so-hungry larvae. I have to admit we’ve resorted to chemical warfare, but may have left it too late for most of our beans.
I hope the beautiful Summer weather continues for a while yet, though a thunderstorm would be appreciated – with rain, but not too hard and no wind… oh, and make it during the night please … and not during our Open Day on Sunday (8th July)!
Belinda Robinson, HAHA Hungerford Allotments