Rain on clay

There is a stereotype abound that it rains a lot in England. Well, sure it does – in comparison with California or the Sahara. It certainly rains a lot on the other side of the Pennines, a ridge of hills which run down the centre of the North of England. The East, however, is prone to drought in summer.

Two summers ago was different. I waxed lyrical at that time about the extremely unpleasant conditions, so suffice to say that the rain today is needed and, though inconvenient if you left your washing out while you were away from home on some errands like me, not about to destroy crops. It does nonetheless highlight the disadvantage of clay soil.


Puddles in the garden

Actually, my drainage isn’t so bad. Those puddles won’t be there tomorrow, especially as it is supposed to be sunny and warm. But the area pictured above is obviously compacted and in need of the addition of some organic matter….

… A job for another day. In the meantime, I am busy collecting the rain. The tubs pictured below were emptied an hour ago and are already full again. After two years of constant exposure to UV light, they are perishing, so it looks like I need to
get thinking of a new way of saving what comes out of the sky. (I don’t have any drainpipes on my propery.) Maybe that is something I could ponder on as I enjoy the lightening (and empty the tubs again).


© Helen Butt, August 2014

About Helen

I have always been interesting in living a more environmentally friendly lifestyle and used to do what I could. Now, I have come to realise that we have reached such a point in terms of environmental degradation that it is more important - perhaps - to focus on building resilience. I therefore do as much as I can to reuse, grow my own and encourage a supportive community, for example. I also keep reading and learning all the time.
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8 Responses to Rain on clay

  1. Catherine C says:

    Some type of downpipe is definitely needed,but why have you no drainpipes from your roof? We have 3 barrels connected to each other from one drainpipe, but will not be enough for next year when our water will be metered and we will only be allowed a certain amount before we have to pay extra. There seems to be no allowance for people who try to grow in their own veggie garden to keep bills down to a minimum. So it’s a vicious circle of will be able to afford to pay for the water needed to grow, or just give up and buy horrible supermarket veggies again!!

    • My tap water is metered, which is part of the reason I collect rainwater. I do agree with metering, though I can see that in some circumstances it could be counter-productive. At the allotment where I was the water wasn’t metered though, so is it for you, or are you talking about your home?

      I don’t have any drainpipes because I am on a block of four terraced houses, where the downpipes are on the two houses at the end. There is one at the front of the house just onto my neighbour’s property but I couldn’t very well have a water barrel on their lawn. I think therefore it’s a case of finding more tubs at carboot sales and the like.#

      • Catherine C says:

        Oh yes, sorry….I am talking about my home, cause this is where we have our veggie garden. Us watering our veggie garden will be classed as what we use at home, and there is only the 2 of us, so major tax money on top of all the rest. But must get more butts…lol

  2. Lovely post Helen you know the gutter pipes some sow they peas and beans in then gentle put them in a neat row ? could you not put one along a fence and add some thing to help you collect the water into have a blessed day

    • That’s an interesting idea. I could put one along the side. Maybe sloping slightly down so that the water runs straight into a tub of some description. In winter, I could store up loads of water and in summer it could become a planter.

  3. Reblogged this on Linda's wildlife garden and commented:
    lovely post thank you for sharing

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