Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Raining in the Polytunnel

It's June. The sun has been shining. And the swallows are feeding young. Could it be that summer is threatening to arrive?
It has been a bit chilly here on the East coast though, with an unusual northeasterly wind blowing straight from The Wash and across The Fens. Still, the soil has warmed up and the plants know it, especially the weeds.

I've been trying to care for the seedlings in the polytunnel and moving them into the ground outside as soon as I thought they were big enough to look after themselves. But the wind and the sun have been drying out the soil and those poor baby plants haven't quite had time to send their roots down far enough.
Up till now the rain situation has been almost perfect this year. A couple of nights of rain each week.

But last week the hosepipe came out to save the young sweetcorn, the beans and the newly emerging seedlings across the veg plot. The baths are now empty of rain water, mostly gone on watering can relays into the polytunnel.
I prefer not to have to use tap water for the garden, but at this time of year the plants are not leafy enough to shade the soil and their roots are not deep enough.

And in the polytunnel, which no rain penetrates, young plants can wilt to the point of death in seemingly no time at all. I tend tray upon tray of baby vegetable plants, herbs and flowers every morning and evening, more often if I can. But give them too much water and they go the other way.

So I've been endeavouring to move as many plants as I can to the great outside. But every evening I have to stop early in order to water the plants in the tunnel.

That is, until this evening.
For this evening it rained in the polytunnel.

Well, technically it wasn't really rain, more a hosepipe connected up to an overhead irrigation system. But it sure was a shock for the plants. I hope they appreciate it.

In the process I got absolutely drenched, for the spiders had taken up residence in the pipework and their webs (and bodies) clogged up the sprayers. It was far easier to dismantle them and clear out the pipes and nozzles with the water still on!
I did, however, forget that my phone was in my pocket. It completely packed up, but was back to its old self in the morning.

As for those swallows. We have three nests this year, down from last year's five.

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