Posts Tagged water butt

IBC cladding


The IBC ‘s are now clad keeping sunlight, leaves and animals out.

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Drought declared & 10 top tips on water saving

Today, offically the South East has been declared as in drought.

If you’re a regular reader to my blog, you’ll know I’m not that worried because I’ve beefed up my water catchment to just under 4,000 ltrs.  Currently they’re all full (infact overflowing!) and I’ve been draining them to make room for the next rainfall.  The backgarden is so full of water I’m constantly wary of being sucked under when making my way about – and when I return to the house I’m usually a few inches taller due to the mud.

I’m also already on a water meter.  My showers are a mere 3-4 minutes a day and at a push I’d be happy to shower every other day.

I don’t think everyone has the room for 3×1000 litre IBCs above ground, but if they did I think they’d find the idea of drought much less terrifying.

Some tips:

1.) Don’t leave the tap running when brushing teeth
2.) Avoid power showers, when showering turn off after wetting down, soap up and then wash off miltary style.  I’m proud my wife has been doing this for years… I hate doing it and rather have a shorter shower – but I have GI Joe hair.
3.) Use a bowl when washing up.  Throw excess water down the toilet to ‘flush’ it.
4.) Install a flush bag – contact your local water company, they have lots of free clever gadgets for taps and toilets.
5.) If washing up, whilst waiting for the hot water to run through, catch the cold in a bucket, it can be used on your veg.
6.) Only slightly soapy water can be used on flowers.
7.) Like a long shower?  Take the washing up in with you.
8.) Ignore the lawn.  It’s grass and it’ll grow back.  Concentrate on fruit and veg plants.  Install a root waterer (cut the bottom of a bottle off and bury it next to the roots – or use a section of drain pipe!) and water the roots direct
9.) Only water plants last thing at night or first thing in the morning before the sun comes up.
10.) Mulch round plants with straw/manure.  This just means spreading some around the base of the plant.  Less water is lost through evaporation.

Is there likely to be a hosepipe ban in Essex?  If the BBC’s website is to be believed, possibly not as we’re only listed as a moderate risk as opposed to Londons high risk.  Only time will tell!

More to the point, tens of thousands of new homes are in the planning stages around the area, yet where is the water coming from to supply them?

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Sadly it’s come to this


Sadly I seem now to be excited by rushing home to find out how much water has accumulated in the IBCs. Last night for instance, I got 100ltrs.. We’re now up to 275ltrs in the first IBC – over 1/4!

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Suppressant Membrane Industrial Stuff!


First set of membrane went down. It goes the full length of the allotment area. After putting it down, we realised that it’s pretty waterproof. Oops. Well it’ll be good for water conservation.

The IBCs were moved so we could run the membrane underneath. This ought to prevent weeds coming up around underneath them.


The IBCs were moved so we could run the membrane underneath. This ought to prevent weeds coming up around underneath them.


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Well the first step of our allotment is to uncover the ground and level it. And mow. And mow. As you can see, it’s looking tidyish now, the last bit still needs a mow and the shed moving. I’m then going to dig out the weed killer and give the whole area a dose.

If we’re lucky we’ll soon be laying down the membrane.

Rest of the garden’s a bit rubbish.


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IBCs and Chickens…

The IBCs needed levelling so for a few hours Friday and today I spent my time smacking bricks with a sledge hammer.



Yesterday I visited my friend Kris in Norfolk. It was a surprise 30th Birthday party and we turned up about 3hrs late. Kris is a bit of an inspiration as he has an amazing backyard allotment and many chickens. I tried to help round up one of the feral ones, but no luck.


He’s offered for me to go up and learn some basics, which’ll be handy when we get our own chocks.

Hopefully this week off I start on Thurs I’ll get the boxes all set up and get some stuff growing!

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Intermediate Bulk Carrier (Or an IBC Water Butt)

Recently our garage flooded.  We’re at the top of a hill, but we’re also in a bit of a dip there.  The hill is mainly all london clay which is excellent for pizza ovens but not necessarily great when your main surface water disposal is a soak away.  Soak aways are basically big gravel pits.  The water level of my garden is pretty low and I’m pretty sure I have a spring where the old pond was, so dealing with water can be a bit of a pain.

“Normal” water butts of the type available at the local garden center can be £30.  Reconditioned blue shipping containers can be £7-15 – both carry 220ltrs.

An IBC (intermediate bulk carrier) contains 1,000 ltrs and can be bought as cheaply as £35.  Ideally you should try and get one that contains a food rather than a powder or hazardous chemical – commonly you’ll get vegetable oils or fruit juices, both of which can be quite easily drained and dealt with.

For for £70 I’ve bought two such containers on eBay – just search for ‘water IBC’ and hopefully you’ll come up trumps with one nearby – they’re expensive to ship about so you’ll need a van or one very close by.

These two will be hitched up by my outbuildings and I’m going to redirect both drainpipes direct to them.  Next to them I’ll also be keeping the compost bins and I may look into using a seeper hose so I don’t need to do much watering!

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A walk about the plot



Yesterday evening I made it down the allotment, only originally intending to drop off the water butt connector I’d bought.  Clair was down for the first time in a while attempting to finish the digging she’d started a few weeks ago to prepare her mini-plot.


I did a bit of weeding in and around the plot.  The ‘harlow carr’ bed is starting to take shape now we’ve got some plants in it.  We’ve now got broad beans, lollo rosa lettuce, courgettes, sun flower, leeks, elephant garlic, red/white onions, strawberries, sweetcorn, herbs, tomatoes and chard.


harlow carr bed


Similarly I checked over the three sisters bed which is currently only sporting a couple of pumpkin and courgette plants.  I’ve lined this bed with a few marigolds as I had nowhere else to put them, and they seem to be doing quite well.  Similarly in the potato bed I’ve done the same, and between the rows we’ve planted basil (which didn’t survive) and a mild broad leaf lettuce.  The early potatoes are up nice and high now.


The rhubarb which I split has done exceedingly well.  It’s shading the beans I’ve planted and allowing them to climb the poles without being blown off.  The lack of light has also meant they’ve grown a lot quicker.  We’ll see if there is much difference in the amount of beans produced between the two.


clair and blackbird


The asparagus bed is pretty much been devastated by the wind.  The stems have fallen over or broken off, but I’m hoping for better next year.


The cold frame is full of chili plants ready for the mini greenhouse I’m planning to erect next to our shed and the sweet corn I’ve sown is just germinating now.


The mangetout we planted in our new bed are doing well and are climbing high.  Similarly the cabbages which were donated to us a while ago are looking quite good and are starting to firm up a bit.  The carrot bins are flush with carrot seedlings now and have put out their first set of feathery leaves.




One of the pictures shows Clair with her new friend – a cheeky blackbird which was so tame it was only about a foot away whilst she was digging.  Didn’t mind me getting up close with my camera phone either. 


water butt leaking

Finally my water butt (the new one) when used sprung a leak.  It emptied in about three minutes much to my annoyance.  At least it’s one less I’ll need to drain when I fit the new hose this weekend.

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Last night I finally got down the allotment and was finally joined by my nearest and dearest.   It’s surprising how much longer the days lasts (yes I know the clocks have gone back) but seeing as during my first proper week down the allotment I was arriving at 5pm and finishing at 6pm when it got too dark, I’m surprised that already the day is lasting half an hour longer as I arrived at 5 and we weren’t packing up until it got particularly cold at 7:30 (and it was still light too!)

I decided that it was time I moved the water butt and discovered what lurked beneath.  Some time ago one of my neighbours gave me a few goldfish to put in the bottom.  I’m sad to say that over the winter I’d paid little attention to them and the water was worse than a bit murky.  However as I got down to the bottom where it was really quite silty, one gold goldfish and three still immature goldfish were lurking (that’s how many were originally in there!)

I was surprised at how much effort was required to move the water butt.  It’s now in a fairly shady location beside the shed rather than 1/3 of the way across the plot.  The main reason for moving it was for the shade for the fish, however the other issue was that I had to run a 16ft bit of drainpipe over the compost heap to get to it.  It did look fantastically madcap, but it was in a particularly silly location and looks much better now and is also ensuring our shed doesn’t blow over.







Talking of which, the next DIY job is to re-roof the shed.  The winds haven’t done it any good at all and the roof felt has started to come off.

The fish have been temporarily relocated into the pond whilst the water butt settles into its new location and the fresh water from the tap looses its chlorine.  The pond is supposed to be for wildlife and I know what happens when you get frogs spawn in a pond with fish.  I’ll have four fat fish and not a lot of spawn.

I’ve also discovered the first asparagus shoot and planted out the earlies.  It’s a bit late, but what the hell eh?

Whilst I was digging away planting out potatoes my better half was weeding the strawberries and swearing each time she pulled up a strawberry plant that had dug itself into our path.

I finished off by back filling the old pond (not the one with the fish in, the one with the horrible stagnant water) and tidying up the compost heap.







It also looks like my other neighbours have acquired our incinerator (even though they have their own) because it was smoking away, on their plot.  Did have a moment of panic when I noticed it had gone, but I borrow their wheelbarrow enough without asking!

Spring has definitely sprung – not only are the daffs out, but I’ve also seen leaves on most of my fruit bushes and my apple tree!

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Check out my pipes

Below is a lovely picture of my drainage solution.  Hi-tech support solutions (bits of broken pallet and drainpipe) really add to the character.

drainage solutions

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