>At last the rain seems to have stopped and the hot summer weather has started. It‘s getting too hot to work in the garden in the middle of the day, so this morning we were there at 8.30 a.m. Already the sun felt hot, so we‘ll have to get there even earlier tomorrow. When we left at 10.30 it was 34 degrees C. I love the heat and the dry weather, but it‘s time to think seriously about watering.
We‘ve found that a slow drip watering system is much more effective than anything we can do with a hose or watering can – it‘s also much easier as we can just turn it on and do something else while the garden is being watered. Last year we tried out a small length of pipe with sprinkler attachments for some of the tomatoes – and these were the plants which were most productive. At the moment this pipe is watering the cucumbers and two double rows of tomatoes. This year we‘ve bought some more pipe, the same TechnO make, but this time it has drip holes already incorporated in it, 3 per metre of pipe which is about the right spacing for tomatoes and peppers. This morning we attached this to the system to extend it to another double row of tomatoes and a double row of peppers. We have plenty left over so we‘ll use it for other plants too as we need it.
This is the plan of what we‘ve done so far (click on the plan to enlarge it):
The haricots verts, potatoes, broad beans, peas and mangetout peas are all nearly over now so they won‘t need it this year. We haven‘t included the courgettes in the watering system as the drips are not well spaced for these because they are planted further apart. Courgettes here come in a huge glut between June and the end of July, after which it is too hot for them and the plants die, however much water we give them, so we‘ll water these separately for the next few weeks. We’ll water the Roma tomatoes and the chili peppers with a slow-dripping hose straight from the tap.
The drip feed pipe in the tomato bed:
The sprinkler system in another tomato bed:
As you can see, we‘ve planted lettuces between the double row of tomatoes – a tip from our neighbour last year. We‘ll have eaten the lettuces by time the tomato plants grow too big and in the meantime the lettuces get some much-needed shade from the tomato plants and they benefit from the water.
Kate at Hills and Plains seedsavers knows much more about watering in a dry climate than I do. Thanks for your help, Kate! I‘m going to try her terracotta pot system as soon as I can buy some cheap pots, so more about this later.