I’m sorry you haven’t heard from me in ages – I guess you both are managing without me and my opinions! Today I want to talk about water again.
After the resolution in April 2019 we have tried really hard to keep our weekly water consumption below 2m3 and have been fairly successful, except when family have come to stay. We allow this as acceptable as they are clearly not using water in their own house.
Last night though, we actually used the hose and tap water to water the garden. That’s terrible! I hate that we did it BUT we have five water butts, all now empty. Like many others during the coronavirus crisis we embraced gardening from the beginning, planting seeds and ordering plants left right and centre. What we didn’t expect was that the dry weather would carry on and on and on! All our new stuff would die without frequent watering.
It’s been fantastic, being in the garden almost every day (don’t look at the state of the house) either nurturing, transplanting and admiring our new plants or just sitting on the swing seat with a coffee. Sitting with a coffee has been the most frequent I have to say. We have ordered and planted seed potatoes, cabbages, tomatoes and runner beans which are doing well (mostly) and grown some lettuce, onions, spring onions, carrots, basil and cauliflower from seed with mixed results. Added to this the lady over the road, who is clearly a far more experienced gardener than us, has given us chard, pak choi, beetroot and tomato seedlings which are faring considerably better than our own. We’ve also had a couple of batches of bedding plants and tried growing some flowers from seed. The only successful ones so far are Cosmos and possibly a couple of dahlias.
Our pride and joy is our (almost) wildflower patch. We (by we I of course mean my lovely husband) dug out a patch of turf and threw in some bee bombs and random seeds we had left from last year. As he dug it, it started to look a bit like Australia. It doesn’t look like it now but that’s its name anyway.
Now that I’ve finished showing off, all this presents us with a couple of problems – firstly space in the beds, but more critically water. At first we watered everything liberally, expecting the rain to come soon and replenish. As this hasn’t happened, we are going back in time.
Anyone remember 1976? We had a drought. It was horrendous. I know that we’re not in drought conditions now, but we try really hard not to use too much tap water for ethical reasons, but also because we have to pay.
So first we must take stock – what are we already doing?
- The cisterns are small and both are dual flush
- We have 5 water butts
- We keep a bucket in the kitchen into which we pour any used water which can go into the water butt (eg rinse water from hand washing or vegetable peelings)
- We keep a jug of tap water in the fridge so that we don’t have to run the water cold
- We run our dishwasher and washing machine on the eco setting
- We have a flow regulator installed in the shower head
So thinking back to 1976 to find more ways to save water,
so far all we have come up with are:
- Keeping the water used in boiling vegetables or eggs – apparently the nutrients are good for the plants (as long as the water is cooled). I did query the use of water in which potatoes or pasta have been cooked but Wessex Water say it’s fine.
- Any water run for cleaning teeth before the first shower is from the hot tap. The hot water takes forever to reach upstairs so this saves running the shower for as long
- When (if) the water butts fill up we’re going to fill some buckets from them and use rainwater to flush the loo sometimes. Obviously this will only work in wet weather or we’ll be right back where we started!
- We’re trying to get into the habit of saving our washing-up water. We use Ecover so not too worried about any nasties. I also saved the water from washing floors today.
- I wash my hair in the show less frequently and have experimented with using shampoo less often – I have actually found that conditioner only is really good sometimes.
- Buying a sixth water butt – not sure if we have space for that.
So that’s where we are; praying for rain, at night only if possible and keen for new ideas to save – can you help?