Water.

That very precious commodity that we tend to take for granted. We just turn on a tap and it’s available. If we have no water meter we tend to not worry how much we use. However those with a meter know that the more we use the more we have to pay, Lansdowne Allotments are no exception and we will be billed by the water company for whatever we use.

This year we have had the longest dry spell since 1976. The last real rain 25ml we had was the 4th June and about 20 ml at the end of July but it has still left the ground very dry. One could say we could go another 40 years but weather conditions are never certain so we must plan for the worst scenario.

The committee is committed to having a tank or storage area at every tap on the sites. This way we just need to get our watering cans full by dipping into the tank.

For plot holders who are some distance from a tap we suggest saving rain water on your plot. This by guttering sheds or a water collecting devise to run the water into a barrel. We have guttered our shed and can run the rain water into a) a 800 litre tank and also into a 400 litre bath. This on normal years ( ha ha, not a drought year like this year) is enough for our usage.

Watering: There is watering and there is watering. If you use a hose pipe and spray over the ground or the crop, that is a waste and not good practise. a) you lose water through evaporation, especially on a sunny day. b) the water is not going directly to where the crop needs it ie the roots. c) too much watering the crop directs its roots near to the surface instead of down and is more susceptible to not coping with dry conditions.

The things that you can do to limit the watering you need to do, are when sowing seeds water the drill, sow and cover with soil. However a tip from our experience on the allotment we propagate eg carrots, beetroot, parsnips at home in the greenhouse or the kitchen window in 2” modules or 3” pots, sprinkle a few seeds on the top. When germinated with a good root structure plant out without splitting up and plant in a well watered hole. The use of compost especially on areas that have had some rain or water this acts as a mulch and helps retain the moisure.

Next time the plant can benefit from a drink is when like peas and beans are podding up nearer to harvesting. We look forward to tips and points of view regarding water catchment and water saving.

In essence we should take care how and when we water and do not take the supply for granted.

John Young (Chairperson)

For more information on watering during very dry weather visit bbc.co.uk