HOW MUCH RAIN DOES THE VEG PATCH NEED
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