Monday, 31 March 2014

Rain Barrels To Collect Water And A Quick Look In The New Polytunnel.

 I bought a secondhand rain barrel last week  and I bought a bigger one from my favourite German (Aldi) garden centre yesterday.  I just thought it would make life easier if we had water close to the polytunnel and to the productive vegetable garden.  A lot of people are getting mains water meters installed in their houses.  So perhaps it's time to start conservingwater?  We have a well but I still don't like water being wasted.  Rainwater is supposed to contain lots of nitrogen to make the plants grow.
This is the bigger version.   It cost us forty Euro and came complete with fittings.  I am going to make some garden teas for the veg and flowers in the water barrel.  I will get an old hessian sack or pillowcase and fill it with either sea weed (I live next to the sea), nettles or some Comrey ("Knit bone") leaves and suspend it with a piece of string.  Then it's dilute your tea to ten parts to one.  Just so we don't kill our plants with kindness.  Does anybody else make a garden tea or liquid feed?
 Here's the latest pictures from the polytunnel.  You can see the garlic growing in the bath.  We just used some that we bought from the vegetable section in the supermarket.  I am watering it twice a day at the moment.
 Cabbages growing in the other bath.
 Beetroot and there's peas in the pots.
Strawberry plants, Lettuces and more peas.
 Banana shallots that we bought in ye olde supermarket.
Think these are leeks.  We decided to grow everything in trays and pots so that we get a good crop rotation and (hopefully) less chance of plant disease building up in the soil like Clubroot ("Finger and Toe") and white onion rot.....?

What are you growing at the moment?


  1. Can't understand why more people don't use these rain collectors, they're handy for where you want the water, and it's heavy stuff to carry about. Could even connect a hose to the tap if it's downhill to where you want it.
    Garden tea I've heard of but never made it, and don't know anybody who has. Again, I don't know why. Like the sound of the seaweed, it's great stuff for gardens, I used to collect it, it's got all the trace elements as well.

    Looks like the poly-tunnel's starting paying its way already.

    Bit better here today, sun's shining and a bit warmer, got the front grass cut this morning, hoping No 2 son can spare an hour to do the back.

    Raggy cat spending a lot of time outside, its sunbathing on the decking.

  2. Yes Cumbrian. I agree we should collect rainwater. Especially when we get so much for nothing.

    Seaweed is great for the vegetable garden. I have read stories of Aran Islanders (the one's off the West coast of Ireland) growing potatoes on rock with seaweed and well rotted animal manure. Years a go boats use to dredge Bantry Bay for the calcified coral and sea weed. Victorian gardeners use to collect guano (bird droppings), night soil (human sewage) and even the bonemeal came from the battlefields of Waterloo. Most modern 'bag manure' fertilizers are made from extracting nitrogen from the air via oil fired electricity. The electric prices go up and so does the fertilizer.

    The poly-tunnel is great. Especially when you can go in it even when it's raining. Somebody not so far away from me talked about installing a washing line. Don't think so.

    Started off raining here then it went windy and warm and now it's reasonably warm again. Did you read about the Sahara sand storm covering cars and buildings in Ireland on Saturday night?

    See the UK government is paying 5 million pounds to dredge some of the Somerset levels. Talk about closing the stable door when the horse has bolt.

    Good old Raggy cat.

  3. I'd like to have some big tanks installed when I build the extension for rainwater but I doub tI'll have the budget for it at the time.
    I'm planning on making my own tomtato food with comfrey tea this year. There is a downside though - it stinks! And I mean it really stinks!
    Seeing how much you've got growing makes me want to get a move on! I've got so much to sow!

  4. Are there no grants for rainwater tanks in England, Kev? Good on you for harvesting rainwater. I think anybody who is on mains water it's a good way of saving money, especially if you have a water meter.

    Please post a blog about your tomato food comfrey tea. Nettles are also very good for garden teas. The plants are growing like mad and we can garden even when it's raining. Thanks!


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