Rainfall and cultivation under cover

Ecological watering in polytunnels

Rainfall and cultivation under cover represent an invaluable combination for gardeners. This natural water allows huge savings. As hot spells cause evaporation of water stored in soil, more and more areas are nowadays affected by drought. As a result, water costs rise and local authorities may decide to restrict water use during the day. This situation encourages collection of any amount of rainwater. There are many methods available and some devices can be obtained on the market. A good alternative is to design them yourself.

Rainfall and cultivation under cover

Collecting rainwater is also an ecological solution to water plants in a garden tunnel. This goes hand in hand with domestic vegetable production, which contributes to taking care of one’s health and environment. Growing vegetables on a plot is the guarantee that each of the crops harvested will offer a benefit in many ways. These goods do not contain additives, have not been grown with chemical and artificial fertilizers. This goes without saying that they did not travel hundreds of kilometers, but were harvested only a few minutes before ending up on the plates.

How to collect rainwater?

As far as domestic gardens are concerned, it is possible to collect rainwater using gutters fixed to buildings, greenhouses, etc. This resource can of course be used for purposes other than gardening. Cleaning, car washing and many other tasks can be considered. As rainwater is slightly acidic, it is suited to green spaces and daily care of plantations. Just install pipes and direct the flow into a tank where the liquid will be stored.

Rainwater containers

Many tanks are available on the market. They are more or less decorative, with small or large capacity. Such models will imitate vases, barrels, tree trunks, etc. A plastic installation will be less likely to get damaged. Its capacity will have to be adjusted according to the average rainfall in the area concerned. It is also important to take into account the overall need for rainwater and the amount that one can use, as stagnant water is not suitable for long. After about 21 days, water becomes incompatible with gardening, depending on the conditions. It is therefore necessary to check whether water is still suitable for watering.

A container that can hold several hundred liters (250, 350, 500) will be a good choice. It will be filled and used cyclically, providing permanent access to this basic resource. The right models are equipped with filters and anti-overflow systems to avoid damage to nearby equipment.

Watering or collecting rainwater?

Watering is based on temporary water retention and subsequent spraying, so that water returns to the soil. The assimilation rate depends on the absorbency of the substrate. Filtration is influenced by structure, grain size and porosity of soil. The following devices are adapted:

drainage pipes – this solution only requires a small financial investment, which is why they are often found in private gardens, but their disadvantage is a low storing capacity.

filtration system and polytunnels – these devices are placed under the ground. Water from the tank is dispensed at a suitable flow. Their main advantage is that they are modular devices and combining them with others leads to beneficial effects for large scale production. Their disadvantage is that stored water may need to be purified.

Absorbing wells – water entering the device passes through filtration layers made of fine-grained soil. It is important to note that this method can be selected on sites with low permeability substrates. Wells require little space, but their maintenance is not the easiest task. They are also characterized by a low absorption capacity.


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