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Hardy gardeners in Bexley rise to the challenge of the hosepipe ban

PUBLISHED: 10:49 05 April 2012

Allotment holder Tom Wheeler prepares for the hosepipe ban at his Sidcup allotment

Allotment holder Tom Wheeler prepares for the hosepipe ban at his Sidcup allotment

Archant

Gardeners and allotment holders across Bexley are gearing up for the hosepipe ban which comes into force today (Thursday).

As southern England is officially experiencing a drought after exceptionally low rainfall over the past two years, people are banned from using a hosepipe or filling their swimming pools, paddling pools or ornamental fountains.

People who breach the rules face fines of £1,000.

Steve Smith, who is the secretary of Bexley Federation of Allotments and Leisure Gardeners, said: “We already have a hosepipe ban, we have not been allowed to use any hosepipes for several years and the taps are turned off.”

Allotment holders have not been allowed to use hosepipes on their sites for the past three or four years.

There are 36 sites across Bexley with an estimated 3,000 allotments.

“We have tanks instead, which have covers on which are made by us,” Mr Smith said, “people put their watering cans in them and water the allotment.”

He said allotment holders may change their growing habits with the drought and he is considering growing more squash and tomatoes if it is a hot summer.

He said they would also look at growing more drought resistant plants.

Mr Smith said most gardens have clay soil and he does not think the drought would put people off taking on an allotment.

“People are so into the grow your own that they will put up with it.”

After the hosepipe ban in 2006 and 2007 Bexley Council replaced bedding plants with drought tolerant shrubs and perennial plants throughout parks and open spaces to save water, and reduce labour and waste.

Spokeswoman Pauline Rootsey said council staff are concerned about the impact the latest restriction may have on new planting schemes and sports pitches, and are taking advice from Thames Water and looking at ways to the opportunity to use recycled water, known as “grey water”.

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