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How to save waste water for the gardenWhether you have a comprehensive irrigation system in place or you’re still trying out some new ideas in your polytunnel, you’ll find that all water is precious. This is because your polytunnel is protecting your plants from the elements and therefore they can’t easily gain access to rainwater.

Therefore, when it comes to making sure your crops are well hydrated, every drop counts. Start thinking of ways to save waste water and repurpose it for your crops. Not only are you giving them regular access to water, but you’re being more eco-conscious too.

The methods for saving waste water don’t have to be too advanced – even some of the simplest methods can be effective.

How to save shower water for the garden

If one of the main ways that you’re thinking of saving waste water is by saving shower or bath water for the garden, then you’re considering recycling your greywater. Providing the water is clean – that is, it’s not filled with shampoo and soap that could harm your crops – then you can collect and reuse it.

Saving shower water isn’t common practice yet, but it’s slowly becoming a clever means of getting water to crops. If it complies with the Greywater Systems Code of Practice and it’s been treated enough, you should be able to introduce your own greywater system in your garden.

Storage tanks and treatment

You will need to carefully plan out how you collect and treat your greywater. The system will need to be sized up and pipework clearly labelled so that it doesn’t become confused with your washing and drinking water.

As you’re using the water outside the home, the level of treatment will be very basic to ensure that your crops aren’t impacted by any chemicals from shower gels and other bath products.

Upkeep

You’ll need to regularly clean your system and keep it clear of debris. You’ll also need to run regular checks and add disinfectants.

You can safely irrigate any food plant with greywater if the water doesn’t come into contact with the edible portion of the plant and you should also make sure you don’t use it for root crops. Find out more here.

More ways to save water

How to save rainwater with polytunnel guttersIn addition to saving your shower water, there are more ways to save waste water for your crops.

One of the main ways to do this is to harvest rainwater by attaching a water butt or barrel to your downpipe. We offer polytunnel gutters too, which provide an easy solution for collecting rainwater from your polytunnel. You can then decide how you’d like to water your crops with it from there.

If you’d like to create an advanced means of getting this saved rainwater to your crops, you could link your rainwater harvesting system to your irrigation system. Whether you opt for a manual or automated means of irrigation, by creating a link between the rainwater you collect and the irrigation method you use, you can recycle nutrient-rich water that will benefit your plants and crops.

Why do we need to save water?

Conserving water and reusing waste water offer many benefits. Although most of our planet is made of water, most of it is salt water, making it unusable for watering and irrigating crops. Treating water is both essential but costly, ensuring we have enough drinking and bathing water to go around.

Using the waste water used to clean our dishes or rainwater, which has been through the water cycle, are therefore excellent ways to water your plants. Plus, in addition to ensuring your crops are getting the water they need, you are recycling water that would otherwise go to waste, which can help the environment.

To learn more about polytunnels and the clever ways you can introduce irrigation systems to your structure, find out how we can help you here.

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Irrigation systems offer an effective artificial way of supplying water to your crops that do not have easy access to rainwater. This means that water is applied to crops using pipes, sprinklers and by other means to ensure that they are being watered properly and regularly.

When you invest in a polytunnel, you can protect your plants and produce from the elements, giving you the opportunity to extend growing times and introduce crops outside of traditional sowing periods. However, while shielding your crops from the weather can be a good thing, it also means they will require suitable irrigation to keep them watered.

So, whether you’re planning your fruit or want to focus on veg, read on to get an in-depth look at irrigation and the methods you can use to make sure you have a healthy harvest this year.

What is soil irrigation?

Soil irrigation is where you look at how your choice of soil is impacted by irrigation. While it’s crucial that you choose the right soil for the crops growing in your polytunnel, it’s also important to consider how the irrigation methods you use can have an influence on how it behaves.

By selecting the right soil and teaming it with an irrigation method that complements it, you’re sure to find that your crops will flourish. Here’s a look at how irrigation impacts on two of the main soil types that you’re likely to use:  

Clay soil

Clay soil can be tricky when you’re ready to plant your crops out. This is because it is hard when dry and slippery when wet.

So, while you might have a comprehensive irrigation system in place, a clay-based soil will slowly soak up the water and keep it there. If you’re planting in this type of soil, you’ll need crops that require a lot of stored water. Slowly apply the water and, once it has soaked through, you’ll find that you won’t need to apply more every day because of how well water is retained.  

Sandy soil

Sandy soil behaves differently to clay soil. This soil is easy to use for planting because it responds well to immediate watering. Water moves quickly through but isn’t stored, so you’ll need to irrigate quickly and in short bursts. This means you’ll have to keep returning to the irrigation process to make sure your crops are responding well in the sandier soil.

Irrigation.jpgWhat irrigation methods to use in your Polytunnel

Once you know what soils you’ll be using, you can then start thinking about the different types of irrigation that you might like to include in your polytunnel. The method you go with will depend on the size of your polytunnel as much as the soil type that you’re using.

We have polytunnels in sizes from 6ft right up to 30ft, giving you the opportunity to tailor your irrigation system to suit the one you choose. We also have a range of irrigation equipment so that you can be sure that your crops are perfectly hydrated. This equipment includes:

Overhead irrigation pipes

Pipes and fittings form the nuts and bolts of any irrigation system. Whether you want a no-nonsense sprinkler system, or you would like to adapt your water delivery system with a tube, pipes and fittings, you have the option to design your own irrigation plan.

Tap-Timer.JPGTap timer

If you can’t tend to your crops daily, or even weekly, a tap timer allows you to get water to your fruit and vegetables when they need it. This simple device can make it possible for you to go on holiday, safe in the knowledge that water is getting to your crops.  

Overhead manual irrigation kits

These manual irrigation kits are a series of sprinklers that attach to the roof of your polytunnel. You simply connect the water delivery pipe to your garden hose and apply the water to the plants that need it at intervals that suit you.

Premier automatic irrigation kits

This operates like the manual version; however, you can team it with the tap timer to set an irrigation programme to suit you and your crops. You can set up this system and leave it to run without having to return to your crops daily.

Know your irrigation

Whatever irrigation methods you opt for, you’ll find that the one you choose will help your fruit and veg to flourish while continuing to protect them from the elements inside their polytunnel. To find out more about the different ways to irrigate your crops as well as discovering construction guides, visit our dedicated section here

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If you are one of the many people who have joined the recent allotment trend, you will find that polytunnels come in handy. As well as protecting your crops from the elements, these are spaces in which you can lengthen the growing season and carefully plan your produce.

Plus, if you have any children or grandchildren and want to show them how to grow their own, this is the perfect place for them as they can head inside and take charge of their own fruit and vegetables.

If you select the right one, you will also find that they are long-lasting and durable. To help you choose the best polytunnel for your allotment, here are some useful tips.

Buying the Perfect Allotment Polytunnel

As you start looking into buying the perfect allotment polytunnel, you will find there are some important points to consider. These are:

Planning Permission

What is your allotment like? Do any other gardeners on the site have polytunnels already? As a polytunnel is classed as a structure, it is worth checking to see if you need to get permission for adding one before you start searching for the perfect one for your plot.

Size

Best Polytunnel for AllotmentHow much space do you have to cover? Thinking about the size of your plot and deciding if you want to keep some land outside of your polytunnel early on is a good idea as you can then decide what size you need. 

We offer polytunnels in a range of sizes, starting from 6ft, so you are sure to find one that suits the dimensions of your allotment. Unless there are size restrictions in place – again, check with the site manager before you add your polytunnel – you can choose the one that best suits your plot. The 8ft wide polytunnel is a popular choice for an allotment. 

Share the Space

Best Polytunnel for AllotmentsDepending on how your allotment operates, you may find it useful to share a larger polytunnel with fellow gardeners. As well as being a great way to get to know fellow green-fingered plot owners, you can use the shared space to build in confidence if you are new to the allotment. Why not allocate a large raised bed or grow bag inside the polytunnel for each gardener to grow their own tasty produce and share growing ideas and tips with one another?  

Planning Your Polytunnel

Once you have your polytunnel all set up on your allotment, you can then spend some time thinking of how you would like to plan it out. To make it the best polytunnel for your allotment, it is worth taking some time to research how to maximise the space you have.

There are many ways you can arrange your layout, however, and you can get creative with the set-up. Keep in mind how much space you may want to set aside outside the polytunnel for other plants and crops on your plot so you can work out what will be kept inside.

To help you create the optimal layout for the polytunnel on your allotment, there are various accessories available that are designed to protect and boost your crops. If you work out what you want to do with your space, you may find that you can add in more crops to the plot.

Make Your Polytunnel Your Own

Although you may be limited by the size of your allotment, a polytunnel gives you the opportunity to personalise the space and create an area that you can really focus on. Plus, by keeping your crops safely tucked away inside, you can leave your plot safe in the knowledge that everything is well-protected and growing well.

To find out more about polytunnels for your allotment and for some detailed construction tips, find out more here.

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