Author Topic: New Allotment  (Read 1053 times)

limakilo

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New Allotment
« on: August 24, 2017, 12:24:32 »
Hello everybody,

I've been to pick my allotment today and should have my keys very shortly. Whilst walking the site, I asked if there was any water on site, and unfortunately, there is not.

How big of a problem will this be? I'm in the north west of England, so rainfall is fairly regular. I'm looking to put a shed up, with two barrel water butts. For me, I'm looking for high efficiency, and starting from scratch I'm going to be looking for innovative ways to water my allotment, ideally not manually.

Perhaps I could double stack the butts to increase capacity?

Any help is greatly appreciated.


Jayb

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Re: New Allotment
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2017, 12:35:59 »
Hello and Welcome to A4A  :wave:
Congrats on your soon to be allotment  :toothy10: Looking forward to hearing more about it when you get your keys.

I've got my veggie plot at home, so can use mains water if I have to, though we are on a meter and it is expensive. I've got the usual buts and barrels which are fed by the greenhouse and polytunnel. But I'm really looking to do more to water save so I'm really glad you posted. I know several here don't have access to water on their allotments, looking forward to advice.
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limakilo

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Re: New Allotment
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2017, 14:38:00 »
Hello and Welcome to A4A  :wave:
Congrats on your soon to be allotment  :toothy10: Looking forward to hearing more about it when you get your keys.

I've got my veggie plot at home, so can use mains water if I have to, though we are on a meter and it is expensive. I've got the usual buts and barrels which are fed by the greenhouse and polytunnel. But I'm really looking to do more to water save so I'm really glad you posted. I know several here don't have access to water on their allotments, looking forward to advice.

I'll be back here with 101 questions often so don't worry about updates!

Since I got accepted (I did not wait long, the site has been there before but relatively recently been reopened), I've been looking over all kinds. Clearly main priority at the moment is clearing the plot which is fairly overgrown. I expect to find some buried treasure.

Once this is done, I'm going to look at laying perhaps some underground hose. Can't remember what's it's called, but you lay a hose under your beds, and it can be gravity fed from a butt. First I'll need to identify how effective and efficient it is. Perhaps it can be done with cheap hose pipe, with something like old cut up tights wrapped around any newly added holes. Might be a project, but time not spent watering could be spent suppressing the weed Rebellion. Or drinking tea.

In my head, I'm looking to have shed feeding at least two butts (400 litres approx). Obviously the water supply is dependent on rainfall, so also going to try and find a cheap and effective way of reducing evaporation. I imagine daily and weekly it's only a small amount, but in the summer months and in general it must add up.

caroline7758

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Re: New Allotment
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2017, 14:39:04 »
A previous tenant of my plot somehow part- buried four water butts (the big blue drums) at different heights then put spouts made from drainpipe in the sides so that each feeds into the next as it gets full- no rainwater wasted and I've never run out of water in 12 years! Whoever it was, I salute him/her!

Tee Gee

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Re: New Allotment
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2017, 15:05:40 »
The North West is a big place where exactly? (Nearest Town)

As you will see from my Avatar I live just over the hill from you in Huddersfield and I never water my allotments well outdoors at least.

Mother nature does that for me as a rule, although I help her by digging in loads of farm yard manure or as it now 'horse muck'

This along with the natural rainfall has supplied my plot with all the moisture it needs for the past thirty years or so.!

OK I have to water my 3 greenhouse, luckily I have a mains tap on my plot, although if I didn't have this then I am sure I would have resorted to water barrel collection.

This link on how I have kept my allotment might help you!

http://www.thegardenersalmanac.co.uk/Data/Allotments/Allotments.htm


If that is not enough there are lots of people on this forum who will, although they may not be as close a neighbour  to you as I am........I usually get the rain showers on my side of the hill after you lot on your side of the hill get yours, and I manage so I don't think you will have a problem!

BTW; Welcome to A4A

MervF

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Re: New Allotment
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2017, 15:26:24 »
I had a shed on my old allotment so I put guttering along both sides, and joined the 2 gutters so that they went into a downpipe which filled one butt.   I then drilled a hole in the side of the butt about a third down so that I could put a piece of pipe (I used 2" I believe) and joined that into the side of another butt.   I had 4 butts all joined together and very seldom ran out of water.   It worked very well for 15 years until they closed the site down.

Tee Gee

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Re: New Allotment
« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2017, 15:42:29 »
Was it similar to this Merv?


limakilo

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Re: New Allotment
« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2017, 16:05:53 »
A previous tenant of my plot somehow part- buried four water butts (the big blue drums) at different heights then put spouts made from drainpipe in the sides so that each feeds into the next as it gets full- no rainwater wasted and I've never run out of water in 12 years! Whoever it was, I salute him/her!

Sounds interesting, could certain save height by part burying. How do you get the water out of the part buried ones?

limakilo

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Re: New Allotment
« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2017, 16:11:43 »
The North West is a big place where exactly? (Nearest Town)

As you will see from my Avatar I live just over the hill from you in Huddersfield and I never water my allotments well outdoors at least.

Mother nature does that for me as a rule, although I help her by digging in loads of farm yard manure or as it now 'horse muck'

This along with the natural rainfall has supplied my plot with all the moisture it needs for the past thirty years or so.!

OK I have to water my 3 greenhouse, luckily I have a mains tap on my plot, although if I didn't have this then I am sure I would have resorted to water barrel collection.

This link on how I have kept my allotment might help you!

http://www.thegardenersalmanac.co.uk/Data/Allotments/Allotments.htm


If that is not enough there are lots of people on this forum who will, although they may not be as close a neighbour  to you as I am........I usually get the rain showers on my side of the hill after you lot on your side of the hill get yours, and I manage so I don't think you will have a problem!

BTW; Welcome to A4A

Thank you for the reply!
That is promising news you have delivered. North Liverpool, about 5-10 minutes from City Centre.

I will have a look at the website tonight, thank you!

caroline7758

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Re: New Allotment
« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2017, 17:36:52 »
Sounds interesting, could certain save height by part burying. How do you get the water out of the part buried ones?

Kneeling on the ground and bending down- even the lowest one has the top above the ground, although I now realise from Merv's post that they could probably have all just stood next to each other! And to be honest I'm in Yorkshire so maybe get a bit less rain than you, but I've not often had to use the lower ones!

MervF

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Re: New Allotment
« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2017, 19:09:50 »
Was it similar to this Merv?


Yes but I used white plastic waste pipe positioned about half way down the butt and had a plastic tap on each butt.   That way I could fill a can from one butt and have soaker hoses from the other three if I wanted.

Pescador

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Re: New Allotment
« Reply #11 on: August 24, 2017, 19:10:32 »
Similar to TeeGee, I only water in after planting. After that they're on their own!
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MervF

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Re: New Allotment
« Reply #12 on: August 24, 2017, 19:13:31 »
Was it similar to this Merv?


Yes but I used white plastic waste pipe positioned about half way down the butt and had a plastic tap on each butt.   That way I could fill a can from one butt and have soaker hoses from the other three if I wanted.
I forgot to say I did stand my butts on stands so that I could get a can under the taps

Digeroo

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Re: New Allotment
« Reply #13 on: August 25, 2017, 05:59:23 »
Using techniques such as mulching can cut down on the amount of water you need.  And increasing the amount of bio matter in the soil, so it holds water. 

Some crops such as courgettes seem to be able to pluck water from the air.  At 6 am their leaves are dripping wet. 

I find butts on stands a real pain I prefer to take of the lid and fill the can, waiting for the tap to fill the can is so slow.


Vinlander

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Re: New Allotment
« Reply #14 on: August 26, 2017, 09:43:04 »
Once this is done, I'm going to look at laying perhaps some underground hose. Can't remember what's it's called, but you lay a hose under your beds, and it can be gravity fed from a butt. First I'll need to identify how effective and efficient it is. Perhaps it can be done with cheap hose pipe, with something like old cut up tights wrapped around any newly added holes. Might be a project, but time not spent watering could be spent suppressing the weed Rebellion. Or drinking tea.

Seep hose might work with rainwater if you can make sure it's really clean - you need to filter at source (the downpipe) and make sure nothing grows or lives in the tank (absolute darkness and a good seal).

I'd be interested in anyone's experiences with them - I only know that using one on tap water means it limes up in half a season (I used a butt that's occasionally topped up from the mains). I suppose they would work better on mains pressure, especially if not allowed to dry out.

Drip feed systems can be fairly reliable but are fiddly for rows - good for polytunnels though. You do need a timer but apparently the cheap ones don't like low pressure systems - I'm thinking about a steampunk one using the weight of a plant in a small pot to turn off  a ballcock - that way you get delivery tailored to demand - though you'd need to prune the plant regularly to keep the sensitivity!

Any ideas?
With a microholding you always get too much or bugger-all. (I'm fed up calling it an allotment garden - it just encourages the tidy-police).

The simple/complex split is more & more important: Simple fertilisers Poor, complex ones Good. Simple (old) poisons predictable, others (new) the opposite.

hartshay

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Re: New Allotment
« Reply #15 on: October 01, 2017, 23:28:37 »
We are in Southport on a dry sandy peat loam soil.

Although we have water on our site I never use it on the plot as the plants always find the water deeper down.   

TBH I only water cucumbers etc in the greenhouse soil and never tomatoes after June once they get going. 

The water on site is for making brew or washing hands!


OldBob

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Re: New Allotment
« Reply #16 on: October 10, 2017, 23:35:58 »
I have three butts in a row, joined near the base to each other. The water comes in from shed gutter at one end, the only tap is at the butt at the other end. To keep debris out, the downspout opens into a bucket at the bottom of the first butt. Keeps the water clean and helps prevent fine rose on watering cans from clogging. In a really dry spring when you are trying to get plants established there is not enough water. Mulch and organic content in the soil is the answer. Do not water unnecessarily, dry looking soil may be moist beneath, better to look at the plants. Do they look dry, droopy? Sorry for the late reply, but if this helps you or anyone else it will be worth it.

laurieuk

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Re: New Allotment
« Reply #17 on: October 11, 2017, 09:22:21 »
I used seep hoses for several years with my sweet peas and runner beans it may well depend on where you live how much it blocks up.

Tee Gee

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Re: New Allotment
« Reply #18 on: October 11, 2017, 18:25:58 »
I think many people tend to over water and by doing so they alter the flavour of many veg.

Many times on this forum and elsewhere people write in they prefer homegrown stuff to commercial stuff  because of the taste and generally I agree with this.

One just needs to look at those gigantic computerised greenhouses where the plants sit over trays of water,to which 'feed' is added. One could say they are growing in a  " partial hydroponic" manner meaning this must affect the water content of the veg hence the watery taste of many veg.

As I mentioned above I don't water stuff that is grown in the open ....... I rely on rainfall.

If it is under cover I obviously have to manually water but even here I am often a bit frugal with the water and as a general rule I don't necessarily water every day.

For example tomatoes! I never water more than three times a week similarly with sweet peppers.

I find if I do my fruit tastes a bit 'watery'

I always play the weather and temperature but most of all I look at the state of the soil and the plants leaves as these generally tell me if I have to water or not.

Another general rule I use is: if the plant has a hollow stem it gets more water than those with a solid stem. The reason for that is a solid stem is usually always moist so plants remain turgid longer whereas with a hollow stem this can drain off just like the fluid in a thermometer when the temperature drops often with drastic results as you can get an airlock in the stem when it fills up again.....ask any top Dahlia grower!

These methods originate from my exhibiting days where watering and feeding was often crucial to success.

I always thouroughly prepare my soil in advance so that it holds on to any surplus moisture, plus I water with a watering can so that I know the amount each plant is getting.

So basically I do what Mother Nature does she makes the leaves fall and the plant tops to die off which improves the soil and she makes it rain to water new plants the following year.

Then if we believe the scientists 'weather change' is going to give us wetter summers so maybe we won't need to water at all .

With water butts I ensure the tap is at leas 6"-8" above the bottom of the butt and this creates a silt trap so the water coming out the tap is virtually silt free. Then I clean the silt out annually.

Have you guessed my pet hate?

I absolutely hate watering particularly with a hose as it always seems to cause no end of damage behind me as I pull it through plot.

So this is why I have studied the process of watering and I why I water as little as possible.

And the golden rule is never give a 'little often' it is better to give a lot occasionally so get rid of the hose and use a watering can.

Apart from anything else it gives you more exercise as you walk back and forth from your water source.

So ther you are my thoughts on "watering"






ed dibbles

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Re: New Allotment
« Reply #19 on: October 11, 2017, 19:23:27 »
I agree. If you scrape back the soil when the surface first dries you usually find there is plenty of moisture only an inch or so down where plant roots are. In fact keeping a loose friable dry surface keeps the moisture in longer by breaking the capillary action that arises when the surface is in contact with underneath.

:)

Allotments 4 All

Re: New Allotment
« Reply #19 on: October 11, 2017, 19:23:27 »