Some 20 years ago I listened to a talk by a meteorologist who was also a keen veg grower. This was when I realised the most likely reason why I would have to give up my allotment as I got older was the fact watering would be too much for me

The optimum rain fall during the growing season is 1 inch of rain per week, which is 4 gallon per sq yd. Now with 480 sq yds that’s 1920 gallons a week if it does not rain , a UK imperial gallon weighs 10lb so during a dry summer that’s a few tons of water to carry and very time consuming.

This is when I started working out ways to make watering easy, first thing was a rain gauge , so I knew how much water to add to the rain fall if it was less than 1 in. Next I used mulches to preserve water, but found with vegetables it encouraged slugs.

Seeper hoses needed mains pressure and was not only slow but difficult  to measure how much water had been used. Gravity fed water was ok for areas under cover like a tunnel or greenhouse but not for the whole plot.

Ten years ago a 12volt pump from America became available, Shurflo, much better than our seaflow. These run from a 12volt leisure battery, car batteries are not suitable ,the charge is soon used up. A solar powered charger helps to extend the  life of the battery and usually the battery is charged when I take it to the allotment and only needs to go home once during the summer for a full charge.

The pump will not water all my allotment in one go, the watering is done in sections,I just close one valve and open another.. The sprayer I use covers a 20sq yd area , the pump delivers the 80 gallon in 26 minutes while I do other things. Theres a 12 volt timer wired into the system which is set for 26 minutes so if I forget the pump it switches off when the time is up. I am looking out for an alarm to fit that will sound when the 26  minutes are up


5 Responses

  1. Beanstew says:

    This blog is a masterclass on how we humans can adapt to meet climate change by using just enough water, and no more. It’s a million miles away from the indiscriminate way I splash water about when the need arises. We all need to become more like Tony, and also learn/adapt all the growing techniques used to save water in drier countries.

  2. VegVamp says:

    Very useful and, in my case, timely advice Tony. I have been watering all week in this recent wonderful weather we’ve had, but have probably been wasting water as Sheila points out. I’ll work out how much my hose delivers and, armed with your figures, do some sums. Thank you.

  3. cilla says:

    I agree with that, Bean. My puny efforts to save water are not running the tap for brushing teeth and saving the washing up water to water pots and plants in a drought.
    You are very innovative Tony and I wish you lived next door to me. ;-)

  4. Very useful, Tony and a lesson for us all indeed :good:

  5. gertie says:

    This is amazing Tony :good: I am still using the mains, and have not yet any water butts in the garden space :bad: There’s an advert I saw once about a lazy cat who wanted to …. ‘Be more dog’
    Well I think I should try to … ‘Be more Tony’ :good: :lol: :rose:

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