Guidance for use of water

 

For environmental, as well as financial reasons, the society is encouraging members to minimise their use of water, while continuing to grow a good range and quality of produce.

  1. The first step is to improve the water retention properties of the soil. Digging in manure or other organic matter during the autumn and winter can do this. Green manure can be grown and dug into the soil in the spring.
  2. Collect as much water as you can during the rainy season. All sheds should have water butts. Water collection systems have been devised using corrugated plastic over compost heaps, tool stores, etc. There are water butts by the site hut for members to use.
  3. Beans are theoretically, thirsty crops. This can alleviated by digging a trench in the autumn and filling it with organic material.
  4. Remove grass and weeds from around the base of fruit trees and bushes to reduce the competition for water and nutrients. Apply mulch in the spring to keep down weeds and hold in water. A layer of newspaper is a good covering with any available mulch – hop waste, mushroom compost, manure, etc.
  5. Be aware that weeds compete with crops for water – especially in the early stages. Remove perennials over the winter. Hoeing around crops, breaking up the surfaceof the soil, reduces evaporation.
  6. Plant and sow as seen on continental gardens and allotments – in hollows with ridges around to direct rainfall onto the crops.
  7. Usually, crops need watering during during the early stages. They should be able to cope once established.
  8. Start crops in cells/pots and plant out when they have developed a good root system. Pour water into the hole before inserting the plant.
  9. If crops are wilting and in need of water – only water early in the day or late in the evening. A good watering is better than regular sprinkling as this will encourage roots to go deep. (Do not water Tomatoes late in the day as this will only encourage blight).
  10. Inform a member of the committee if there are problems (e.g. a leak) with any of the water tanks.