After a year of watering up the allotment with my trusty watering cans we finally installed the IBC water tank which holds 1000 litres when full. After being in place for a few weeks now, the drought finally being well and truly over it is has begun to fill with the steady rainfall. Last week it was just over the 100 litre mark, since then we have had several showery days so hopefully when I return it will be heading towards the next marker.
It is clear the wet weather has meant that the crops will not require regular visits for watering, however I plan to leave the tank to store over winter to ensure it is full for next summer. This will allow me to use natural resources instead of the mains supply, which is more often than not, in use at the other end of the field.
The three water butts that we initially purchased have been given to my sister. They had set aside the tank from his work place, the cost of purchase and collection of another would have balanced out the outlay initially paid so, it works out well as they have several different outbuildings and sheds which will allow them to utilise them from a variety of sources efficiently.
Initially I will probably still use my watering cans, as I can use it sparingly with little waste. looking at the tank It could probably be adapted to attatch a hose but that will be at a later date, but I am extremely excited to be preparing our resources for next year.
I have also piped an overflow into my old water butt, this I have added nettle cuttings directly into the water to produce a plant feed. I used this last year and could definitely see the difference in the health and production of my tomatoes, which have struggled to produce strong plant growth without it. If you are adding it to a new tank it is best to add it into a hessian sack to keep the nettles and water separate.
The product has a very distinctive aroma; however it contains (Ca) Calcium, (Cu) Copper, (Fe) Iron and (K) Potassium. According to the Allotment Book, by Andy Clevely, the potassium boosts nitrogen and sustains the health of the plant, the Iron helps form Chlorophyll which is essential to the plant’s production of sugars and growth. The calcium adjusts the acidity and nutrient access to the plant and the copper is good for general nutritional improvement. All in all, it is clearly beneficial to anything you are growing.
Recently I purchased a comfrey plant, which I intend to add to our wildlife garden. This has very similar properties and can be cut down and placed directly into the soil as an additional fertiliser or made into a stew. Once you have your chosen fertiliser, it will then require diluting to use as required. This will reduce the need for spending on tomato and general plant feeds, hopefully providing the basis for a strong and abundant crop.
ref – Collins; The Allotment Book, Andy Clevely 2006 (Fertilisers and feeding – p150)