With the dry weather, we have been dedicated in our watering regime, determined to keep our precious veg and other plants as well-nourished and cared for as we can. This year is all about giving things a try and making mistakes that we can learn from in the garden and we are proud of what we have achieved so far, but even we know that a dry spell is not good for a garden. We can’t really take credit for the amount of blossom on one of our apple trees but we feel blessed to own something so beautiful and want to look after it as best we can, so we wanted to ensure that we would be able to care for it along with everything else.
As we have a water meter installed, we were also keen to be as sustainable and cost effective as we could, so one of the first things we did when we arrived was add an extra water butt to the one already gathering water from the shed. D, being a handy sort of chap, replaced some of the guttering on the garage, in spite of never having done it before, and even managed to link the 2 butts, so that one acted as the overflow for the other. He’s so clever – I wouldn’t have known where to start.
While D was doing most of the watering, I never really gave it another thought, beyond thinking how romantic it was to be growing our own and living the dream. However, when he was home late one night and the watering fell to me, I soon discovered the reality. The thrill I got from turning on the tap and having water gush out into the watering can quickly palled as I discovered the job required trekking up and down the garden five or six times, refilling each time. And it’s a pretty long garden.
I mulled this for a while and then hit on a solution – we needed more water butts at the top end, feeding off the summer house. Surely that would be simple, right? Of course, as with most of my bright ideas, it’s simple for me – it wouldn’t be me actually doing it. I floated the possibility and, within a week, we were back in B&Q in the guttering aisle. One thing about D, when he decides to do something, he doesn’t let the grass grow …
Installing the guttering wasn’t easy. There wasn’t much room for the ladder between the side of the summer house and the veg plot and the roof wasn’t really designed to take guttering anyway. Added to that, I had decreed that the butts were to sit round the back, so that they would be out of sight, so he had to take the guttering round the corner. Still, he could also see the sense in the idea, so he ploughed on without complaint and with his usual inventive nature. The result may not be pretty, but it works and will double our watering capacity (not to mention saving our legs quite a bit). I did laugh, though, when it came to testing it. Those of you who have followed this blog from the beginning will remember how we planted the greenhouse. We have now followed this by watering the summer house – liberally sprinkling the roof using the watering can, to test that the water ended up in the butt. We do know what are plants and what are building structures, honest!
We have our kind neighbour to thank for the success of our new butts as well. Behind the summer house the ground isn’t very level and we were struggling to find a way to make the first butt straight. While we were mulling over the options, our neighbour offered us a pallet he had in his woodstore. It did the job perfectly.
Of course, once they were done, we waited for rain more eagerly than we ever had before. We had to wait a while – we have had a warm and sunny spring so far – but eventually it came and it has halved our watering time. The results are positive so far and everything is looking good. Who knows, we might actually succeed in growing something after all!