Category Archives: Tools and equipment

New watering system for the polytunnel

We have several automatic watering systems in the kitchen garden: a network of soaker hoses in the two large glasshouses and two serving the polytunnel borders, along with micro irrigation for the chillies growing in the smaller glasshouse. These are attached to timers that turn on the water supply at set times and for set durations. They are in use from late April or May until the end of the season, when watering would otherwise take up a lot of time. Both the micro irrigation and the soaker hoses deliver water exactly where needed in a controlled manner. I tend to water infrequently outdoors, but the undercover spaces must be watered regularly, especially during the summer. Continue reading

Vitopod propagator: first impressions

Early February is an ideal time to sow chillies, peppers, and aubergines, which typically take a few weeks to germinate and benefit from a long growing season to ripen their fruit. Towards the end of February or through March, the tomatoes can be sown, followed by the cucurbits: summer and winter squash, cucumbers and melons. These are all tender crops that will not germinate at low temperatures, will be harmed by frost, and will have growth retarded by cold conditions. Seedlings do not always recover fully from an early check in growth brought on by low temperatures. With low temperatures, poor light levels, and the danger of frosts until the end of April, here in the south, and even later further north, it is rather challenging to raise these seedlings at home, and with something in the order of 180 pots to deal with this becomes quite a chore. Propagators are a fairly vital piece of equipment in this process. Continue reading

Hozelock Aquastop – maybe not such a good idea

I have always been a fan of Hozelock products and have used them for many years with no complaints. Perhaps some of the competing products might also offer reliable service, but I have no intention of trying them when I am happy with this brand. The one time we tried a different make of hose, it did not last even one day – as soon as the pressure was applied, the hose developed bulges and leaks in several places, even though we did not have high water pressure – and we have never tried another make since. Hozelock products tend to be a bit pricey, especially in the garden centres, but going online to somewhere like www.garden4less.co.uk, one can find a good range of products at much lower prices. One Hozelock product I have had to remove from my watering system, though, is the Aquastop connector. Continue reading