We Don't Value Water Enough

Michael Wale on gardening in W3

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Anyone who toils with the soil is never satisfied. Now the rains have come we wonder if summer will ever return, especially as we head into Wimbledon and Henley, two events helped by sunshine.

But there are all sorts of complaints about Ealing Council not allowing hosepipes on some of their allotment sites, or cutting off water altogether. In fact switching off the water might bring us all to our senses. Every allotment shed should have guttering and a water butt into which nature will pour its rainfall. The same with greenhouses. We do not value water enough, unlike the Aussie owned Thames Water, who pour sewage into the Thames and charge us the earth, if you excuse the pun.

When the great Irish philosopher Joe Hughes re-planned our water system he put one water tank to four allotments. Therefore, it was fairly easy to fill and carry a water can to your plot. Not that easy as you may think for the more elderly. It seems Ealing Council have not thought this out. Laying new water system is a comparatively easy operation these days with the hire of a narrow digger and plastic piping which unrolls easily. There are the Thames Water rules to comply with, but they are straightforward. 

As to the actual gardening, when we can get on the soil, the worry is that newly sown seeds will be washed away. But the everything that is up and growing loves the rain. It has minerals in it. London water is heavily fluorided to protect our teeth. Plants don’t have teeth, and they don’t like it. I don’t blame them.

Acton Gardening Association Shop - every Sunday 11-1pm on Bromyard Avenue.

The View From The Shed, by Michael Wale is available from Amazon Books

18 June 2011