Sunday, 1 May 2011


Yesterday, in the heat of the morning sun I was ruing leaving my waterbottle on land as I was sat along with crew and cox waiting for the start of our regatta race. Water, it seems, is rather necessary. And not just to row on.

As we trudged back to base, boat on shoulder, bitter at being ROBBED BY CHEATING *@!? WHO CUT US UP AT THE START FORCING US TO STOP BUT AMAZINGLY DIDN'T GET DISQUALIFIED, I felt a pang of guilt. My veg is sitting there baking too without having had so much as a drop in the last 2 days.

Now, you and I just grab some water from the tap, or bottle. But for plants it gets technical.

What's the best way to water them efficiently? I'm reliably informed that you can buy a nozzle for your hose from Asda for £2 that has 7 different ways to spray water. Apparently, one can mist one's seedlings, cone one's flower beds and, ahem, “shower” one's raspberries

And how much water do they need? I've come across two schools of thought. One is to nurture them, feed them as much water as they ask for and you'll guarantee their survival.

Pah, says the other school. Pansys. Make them fight for their water, their roots will go deeper in search of it and they'll be all the stronger for it. It reminds me of a Johnny Cash song 'A boy named Sue' where the dad justifies his son's feminine term of address by saying he knew it would be character building.

And whichever school you want to rock up to, how do you know if you're achieving your aim? I mean, plants just don't talk (although I could be swayed on that one)

So every couple of days my 10 broad bean plants get a watering can's worth, as do the raspberries. The garlic, onions and peas (about 5 of each) share one. I think that's a fair balance. 

But lets say you've come over all protective and decide to do a decent amount of watering every day or so. Well, now you've got to contend with a far larger form of guilt. Climate change. Yes, by filling up the watering can, you're taking away more precious resource, using more energy to keep the nation's water system alive and goodness knows what else. That's for another day (although some would say, if I wait any longer there won't be another day).

My concern is that with the grow your own movement becoming ever popular, are we ready for the psychological fall out for when the garden centre runs out of water butts?

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The Hapless Kitchen Gardener

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I only feel hapless because some people make it look easy to grow 10 ft marrows or a banquet of greens whereas my courgettes got nabbed by killer slugs and I only got one raspberry. So tips and stories from people less hapless than I are more than welcome. As a disclaimer though, none of my comments should be taken as expert advice on which you can rely! © Unless stated otherwise, and with the exception of guest content where that guest retains copyright, all photos and posts are the copyright of Tom Carpen and may not be used without permission.