Gardening without hosepipes

Wansteadium’s gardening blogger, Ron, 90, offers his thoughts on how to get ready for a summer without hosepipes.

Amusing, isn’t it, that the minute we have a hosepipe ban introduced it doesn’t stop raining for two weeks.

Still, it’s pretty clear that short of a miracle, we’re going to have to do our gardening without hosepipes this year. Carrying watering cans will, I suppose, give us all some exercise, but you’d be wise to be doing a bit of planning ahead.

Courgettes and sweet corn ne0ed a lot of water. Maybe give them a miss this year?

Tomatoes need to be watered every day to stand any hope of a good healthy crop. But they can very happily be grown in pots or tubs – especially the smaller varieties. So maybe that’s what to do this year – and keep the pots near the tap!

Runner beans do need a good amount of water, so I’m minded just to plant my beans and see what happens. Who knows, the forecasters might be wrong and we might have enough rain, but I don’t really anticipate giving them the water they really need, at least not with a watering can. You could dig lots of compost into the trench where you plan to plant out your bean plants, that might help retain some moisture. Or do what we used to do years ago, and scrunch up old newspapers and bury those in the trench beneath the soil and compost. It’s an old technique but might just be worth dusting off.

In the meantime, while we’re waiting for the finer weather, I’ve put every bin, pot and empty tub out in the open to catch as much rainwater as I can, and with heavy rain forecast for the rest of this week this is a good plan. I have got a water butt, but that’s already full. So I’m improvising with a plastic dustbin as a secondary butt, and I’m emptying all these pots into it whenever I can. It all might help.

And in the meantime I’m enjoying looking out over the greenest lawn I’ve ever had in the middle of a drought.