Water

Greenhouse plants need a considerable amount of water, especially on hot, sunny days, and it is essential to ensure that the water, from whatever source, is not contaminated in any way. As a rough guide to quantities required, a single sturdy tomato plant carrying several trussc-» of fruit will require at least i.s I (21 pints) of water per day applied to the root zone, in addition to that required for spraying over the foliage and damping down tin* greenhouse.

rainwater If the greenhouse has been fitted with gutters it is a good idea to lead the rainwater into a water hurt or tank, for rainwater is soft and suitable for all plants. In the larger greenhouse, the tank can be situated within the structure, either above ground or sunk into the soil. The water will thus be warmed to some extent; and although there is no scientific evidence to show that warmed water is better than cold, many gardeners prefer to use it.

mains supply If.1 permanent mams-water supply is taken to the greenhouse it will have to comply with the local water-authority regulations; this may mean that you have to run the supply pipe in a trench 750 mm to 1 m (30 to 36 in) deep. A semi-rigid plastic piping simplifies this task, and if compression fittings are used this brings thejob into the realm Of the handyman. A mains supply is essential if you wish to install a mist propagation unit or a drip system of irrigation, and you will also have to include a fine filter 111 the coupling line. Where pot plants are a major part of the cropping programme, installation of a permanent sub-irrigated bench allows the plants to take up just the amount of water they require when they need it. Systems of this type also require connecting to the mains.

Incidentally, it will be a good idea to enquire (if you do not already know) whether your mains water is hard or soft. Very hard (that is, alkaline) water should not be applied to acid-loving plants, such as azaleas. The more ambitious gardener mav wish tit install ,1 water-softening system. A cheaper alternative is to use stored rainwater.

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