Harvesting is probably my favourite thing to do at the allotment, but a task that can use up loads of time, and feel more like a chore, is watering the allotment. It’s essential to keep things growing well, but you’ll be pleased to know that few plants need watering every day.
Vegetables have a lot of growing to do in a short space of time, so they do need a fair amount of water, but only at certain times in their life.
The most critical time is:
- at seed sowing and
- when they’re still babies, as soon as they become sturdy little plants they need much less water.
Not all vegetables need the same amount of water, this is what works on my plot
I’ve found that too much water can make some plants, especially tomatoes, grow quickly with soft sappy leaves and stems, just the sort of thing aphids love. Where watering your allotment is concerned, tough love, within reason, makes for strong plants and more time for you to sit and admire the view.
Potatoes need watering a couple of times a week once they reach the size of marbles and as they carry on developing.
Carrots, radishes & beetroot need watering once a week
Fleshy leafy plants need watering more often.
Courgettes need watering every 2 – 3 days while they’re producing fruit
Squash and pumpkins a little less often, the large leaves help to shade the ground so it doesn’t dry out so quickly.
Generally what every plot needs and will repay your efforts enormously is:
This makes a big difference, beef it up regularly with plenty of compost, or well rotted horse manure and it will lock moisture in the soil for longer, giving plants more time to soak it all up. Add it every few weeks as a thick layer on the surface of damp soil and to the planting hole.
It’s surprising how much water weeds can soak up, remove them regularly and keep the competition away.
I try to water the soil around the base of the plants rather than splashing it on the leaves, though this does get more difficult as the plants get bigger. The cool of the morning or evening is the best time, evening works best for me.
My plot has a stream at the end, very convenient for watering. No water butt by the shed yet, mainly because the roof has a couple of small tears in it, it’ll make life easier when that’s done, but that’s a job for another day.