In the pendulum of weather that is our new reality, last year's extremely early and hot spring, followed by severe drought, has been replaced by a cool, late season-start and tons of rain. It's now the 2nd wettest year for Madison on record! It's been a frustrating whiplash year for many gardeners (and farmers) in Wisconsin, but thanks to the hoop house and raised beds I haven't been too far behind, and I'm just enjoying the lush landscape.
|We might bump this out a few inches for clearance on light-rain days. I can't decide if the barrel or flexible bucket is best yet.|
So with last year's lack of rain, the hoop got watered along with the rest of the garden. Our water set-up is awkward (we have eventual plans to remedy it); it's hard to be motivated to drag out the hose when the only spot you need to water is 10 x 12 and in the farthest uphill corner from the faucet. So I've been experimenting with catching rainwater on the roll-up sides of the hoop, and it worked well enough that I invested $4 in a length of gutter this weekend. The gutter is simply screwed into the hip board on one end, and attached with a simple bracket at the other.
Last evening it rained for the first time since we installed it, and we ran out mid-storm to watch the progress. Success: even in a short downpour we easily caught 4-6 gallons while we were watching, and it took me a few minutes to fill up my big watering can and distribute the bounty. I think my plants will be happy with real rain too: we're on city water and besides the cost, I am glad to avoid chlorine and other additives.
|The roll-up sides are just secured with bungees to keep them out of the way, and with the gutter attached to the hip board we avoided putting any fasteners through the actual plastic.|
|The simplest of brackets...|
It's the simplest of ideas: I keep thinking I wish I had done it last year, and then I remember that it never rained!