Sunday, 1 May 2011

It really has been dry

A quick visit to water and harvest. We took our first spinach of the year and cut some more asparagus, this time to give away. We watered most things again. Still no sign of any carrots.

The new month means the weather statistics are being published for April. it seems that it has been the warmest April since 1659 and the driest month (not just April) on record. The recording station at Leeming only received 2mm of rail all month. This is following a record-breaking dry March, so all of the watering really has been necessary. The temperature extremes are most marked given that December was one of the coldest on record too. Climate change really is happening, though predicting the details is almost impossible. 

The last time we had a hot, dry spring (2007) it was followed by such torrential rainfall that Hull and surrounding areas were very badly flooded, even leading to loss of life. I would like some rain (lots of rain) but not that much.

Many people have told me not to water the allotment, with stories of how it will encourage only surface roots or how the plants will be dependant on me watering. I don't know if any of this is true, but I do know that last year when we didn't water we got poor crops. I'm still not sure why watering is any different from rainfall. It's not as if rain somehow fills the ground from below. Water is vital to all plant growth, leaves need the water to combine with carbon dioxide (and a few trace nutrients) to make all of the sugars the plant needs to grow, light being the energy source to drive it. Plants are largely carbon from the CO2 and hydrogen from the water. Without water they cannot grow. I'll see what happens, but our plants will be watered if it doesn't rain.

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