Make the most of the seasonal April showers.
With drought forecast for this summer, the greenhouse gardener has plenty on their mind this April. With hosepipe bans in force in many parts of the UK already, the greenhouse gardener without a greenhouse tap, or indeed without a water supply could find themselves in trouble.
Plan ahead now before the real summer starts in earnest. Can you install a garden water source near the greenhouse so that you can move watering cans of the clear stuff to your plants with less effort?
Have you got water butts connected to your greenhouse gutters and are they collecting water correctly??
Just one or two heavy showers will fill a water butt from a suitable greenhouse roof.
If you’ve got house, greenhouse, garage or shed roof space dripping into no mans land then it’s time to connect up the gutters and harvest the rainwater for your garden.
It makes no sense using drinking water to water your garden plants and you can even use the rainwater for washing flowerpots, paving and if you filter out any dust particles, for washing the car (if you must).
With a greenhouse tap you can connect a dual splitter and divide the source into two providing water on tap for the seedlings that need clean mains water and a micro drip system that will keep your plants hydrated in the heat of the summer and if you are away.
You’ll read a lot about using grey water for the garden this summer. It’s the recycled wastewater from the house. Take care. While you can use cooled bath water on the garden it’s not a good idea to use it to water edible plants or crops.
Keep your rainwater for that purpose and restrict the use of recycled house water for the established ornamentals.
If you can siphon off the final rinse water from the washing machine (a great reason to choose ecological washing liquid) you can use this on ornamental garden plants.
Likewise, cooled, nom greasy washing up water (another good reason to choose ecological washing up liquid) can also be used.
Place a couple of watering cans by the back door and empty out vegetable washing water and cooled washing up water into them. They will soon fill up and the water can be used on your garden plants.
Don’t get into the habit of watering your garden plants. Water on demand, i.e. only if the plants are showing signs of stress. Greenhouse plants are a bit different as they succumb quickly to the warmth of the greenhouse and the compost that they grow in can dry out quickly.
Keep it moist using self-watering trays or micro drip irrigation. Shade the greenhouse to prevent excessive heat and water at night or in the early morning so that your plants have time to really soak up the moisture.
Don’t let greenhouse plants dry out completely, compost, especially peat-based compost can be very hard to rewet once dry. Place watering saucers under large planters on the ground or allow the plant roots to grow through the planters into the soil beneath where they can reach the soil.
Allow your greenhouse water to reach ambient temperature by keeping a watering can full of water inside the greenhouse. This will prevent cold shock to young plants and seedlings. Don’t let the threat of drought stop you growing your greenhouse dreams.
Don’t forget that only a few years back we had the wettest drought on record.