Should I be collecting rainwater?

Rain gutter for rainwater collection fixed to a polytunnel.
Haygrove Garden Tunnel water collection system.

Is water becoming less available?

Despite recent downpours, reservoir levels across the country are not as they used to be because of lower-than-average rainfall in May and June. As seen in July, the impact of climate change and the mismanagement of water companies mean that hosepipe bans are becoming the norm in British Summertime. As a result, if you aren’t collecting and storing rainwater your garden tunnel veg patch could suffer from underwatering.

How will water shortages affect my plants?

Young seedlings are most vulnerable to water shortages as their roots haven’t yet grown into the deeper layers of the soil where there’s more water availability. Once plants are more established, adding organic matter can reduce the amount of water your plants will need, so it’s a good idea to buy or make your own. However, this will not entirely remove your plants need for water in the summer. This is why collecting and storing rainwater is the most savvy of gardening practices.

How will collecting rainwater benefit my plants?

As well as lowering your carbon emission, rainwater collection will benefit plant growth as rainwater has a lower pH and won’t harm the nutrient availability like water from the mains (which contains chlorine, fluoride and other water treatment chemicals). Unlike in some areas of the US, collecting water in the UK is completely legal. Additionally, using stored water is more economical than metered water, which is only becoming more expensive with inflation. Many allotment plots don’t even have their own water supply, making rainwater collection vital. Even in dry areas of the UK, 24,000 litres could be collected from the roof each year! 

The roof of the  Haygrove polytunnel provides an excellent catchment area if you decide to collect and store water for your garden.

Garden tunnel with a rain gutter for rainwater collection.
A Haygrove Garden Tunnel fitted with a rain gutter last year.

Haygrove Garden Tunnels have the unique option of adding gutters that are attached to a galvanised steel bar that fits inside the polytunnel. This steel bar makes the gutter completely stable and also adds additional strength to your tunnel. By fitting gutters to your Garden Tunnel, you can harvest the rainwater from your polytunnel into a water butt and use it to irrigate the plants inside your tunnel.

Be resourceful, sustainable and conscious of your plant health. Never worry about water shortages again!