Sunday, 22 March 2009

Eccentric-Looking Allotment Project No.97

We're without water on my allotment site again this spring because of a massive underground leak. My plot isn't looking as wacky as usual at the moment either, since the bender greenhouse has bitten the dust and I can't put the tipi greenhouse back up until I find new poles for it, so this weekend I've been ressurecting my solar still which should help on both scores.

Our water is metered and not as good for some things as rainwater, so I always collect the rain in loads of mismatched plastic containers I've pulled out of skips. But for the last couple of years we've had no rain for weeks at just the time I'm trying to plant my seedlings out, and with vandals wrecking our water supply I've had to carry water in from the carwash around the corner just to keep everything going.

So how to collect fresh water on site when it isn't raining and the taps don't work? "The Global Warming Survival Kit" by Brian Clegg had an idea I thought I'd try out.

I already had a big hole in the ground, about three metres square and 30cm or so deep, where the tipi greenhouse used to be. I dug a smaller, deeper hole in the middle to put a big plastic container in, and then stretched clear plastic sheeting over the top and held it down around the edges with bricks. The idea is that water evaporates out of the ground, condenses on the underside of the plastic sheet and runs into the middle, where small stones keep the lowest point directly above the container to catch it all.

I got a good few litres a day this way over the summer last year, and when it does rain the sheeting also collects lots of water in the top, so now I should end up with a decent supply of water whether it rains or shines between now and planting time.

Of course today has been cloudy and windy, just to annoy me.


Jane said...

That's impressive. It's like a kind of upside down dewpond. I'd like to try it.

Princess Banter said...

I'd love to give you some sun... over where I am, there's too much of it! :) The grass is greener syndrome, hehe!