Plot Notes

A personal journal, open for the world to read, recording the progress of a novice allotmenteer on his allotment.



Weed it and reap.

Monday, 9 May 2011

String Theory

The bargain water-butt which I bought last year turned out not to be such a good deal. At some stage during the Winter, when it was full of ice, a couple of hairline cracks appeared in the base of the butt with the result that all the water escaped from it as soon as the thaw arrived. I mentioned this to Penny who is my next-door-but-one neighbour on the allotment site. A couple of days later a replacement butt appeared behind my greenhouse courtesy of Penny.

Since taking on her allotment plot Penny has become something of an amateur hydraulic engineer.  Behind her shed she has an array of water-butts, some of which have water pumps inside them which are powered by a car battery which she keeps in her shed. The butts catch rain from the shed roof and they are connected to each other like a series of reservoirs descending down a valley. From the butts she has plumbed in a network of pierced hosing which criss-crosses her entire plot. The system is very sophisticated and with a flick of a switch she can water all her crops from the comfort of her shed. I wouldn't be surprised if, by the time she has completed her water engineering project, she has a remote control handset which will turn on fountains, coloured lights and fireworks to perform a spectacular water and light display to a backing track of the 1812 Overture.

I am very grateful to Penny for letting me have one of her surplus water-butts.

My greenhouse has gutters running along its length but I have not got any downpipes for delivering water from the gutters into the collection tank. I have overcome this problem with the application of "String Theory". I have run three pieces of string along the gutter. I have tied the string to a lump of broken brick which I have then placed in the bottom of the water-butt. The idea is that the rain water will run along the gutter and then follow the lines of string into the water-butt rather than gushing out onto the ground at the back of the greenhouse. In the video below you can see me testing the theory.


Last night we had a heavy downpour. Today my water-butt is half full and so I am happy to report that String Theory seems to work in more than just theory.

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