Drilling For Moisture

My allotment is on a 'dry' site with no standpipes or water troughs so the shed is to provide not just storage but a much-needed way to channel and collect the rain. Normally, the provision of water is part and parcel of the local authority's obligation. If it's not provided you can write to the council and ask for its supply. But my site is on land that makes up part of a large estate owned by an earl and this, according the allotment secretary, changes the rules. My 'lotty' neighbours say that our landlord would rather give us the boot and build houses than give us water.

Coming from a site that did have running water I can't pretend I don't miss it. but when in Rome or on a new plot, all gardeners have to adapt to the surroundings. So, like my neighbours I'm cutting back on starting my vegetables in pots in favour of the widespread local practice of sowing directly into shallow lines scraped in the soil (seed drills). Of course this has its downside as plants can't easily be rushed into growth in a greenhouse and smothering weeds are a greater threat when seedlings are small. But on the other hand apart from a good soaking of the drills before sowing, the crops require far less water and become naturally deep rooted and able to cope in the dry. This treatment isn't ideal for everything and I'll be raising outdoor tomatoes, chilli peppers and sweetcorn in a greenhouse at home.

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