The drought in Chipping Norton continues with yet another week of hot dry weather. While it’s enjoyable for the people population, the plants are not so enthusiastic. Finally the decision was made … to throw caution to the wind, go out an invest in a 50m hosepipe, and fill up our tank from the allotment water tap.
But first on the agenda was the broad bean harvest! We had decided to grow as many broad beans as possible, get them out early and refill the beds with some late peas, to make the most of the space. After a spot of maintenance, we were ready to begin.
250 plants later, we had filled 5 buckets with beans and the compost bin was brimming. Having tried 3 different varieties of broad beans last year, we came down in favour of Bunyard Exhibition. The final yield was 16.75kg, from 1½ packets of seeds (compared to 14kg last year from 3 packs!). This of course, meant a major podding and blanching exercise back at the ranch.
Broad beans aside, our next mission was a shopping trip to invest in the new hosepipe. Even that wasn’t straight forward! This involved a 30 mile round trip to Banbury, as only shorter hoses were available locally.
The best laid plans however … armed with our new hose, our existing 50m one and a handful of connectors, we headed to the allotments that evening. The plan was to run hose 1 from the tap and connect it to our neighbour’s hose. Our 2nd hose would then cover the distance from the neighbour’s plot to our water tank. Wrong! The distance to the tap to the neighbours hose (firmly clipped to the fencing) was more than 50m and it was a different gauge!
Another kindly allotment keeper, who was the only other person onsite at the time, lent us his and we did manage to replenish the tank somewhat. But as fast as the water was going in the top, we were emptying it from the bottom to give the plants a good watering. After about 90 minutes, we had to abandon the refilling project as dusk was falling – the result? Only about 75ltrs left in the tank … oh … and a rather nasty mosquito bite!
If you’re wondering why we didn’t simply water the plants with the hose, I’m afraid that is a hanging offence on our allotments. Hoses may only be used to fill up tanks and anyone breaching the agreement could be reported to the powers that be! So being good, decent and honourable allotmenteers, we carried bravely on with the watering cans.
So as I write this, I’m awaiting the delivery of yet another hose, bought online this time. The cost of carriage is considerably less than the time and petrol involved in another trip to the DIY sheds. Tonight, we’ll be back up to the plot to refill the tank, assuming of course there isn’t a queue for the one and only water pipe on our section of the plots. Note to self … don’t forget the insect repellent!