Across the UK, children of all ages are beginning to benefit from the hands-on learning experience that a school polytunnel can provide. From getting the soil ready for planting to harvesting fruit and vegetables, pupils can participate in a wide range of lessons and activities in a polytunnel. They can then benefit from a season of hard work by enjoying their produce at school or at home.

However, watering your school’s polytunnel can often become a time-consuming task. Having no pupils and teachers around at weekends to keep your plants well-watered can also affect the health of your crops, causing them to wilt or die. In a recent article, one Welsh schoolteacher bemoaned the fact that ‘at the weekend all the crops would die because they weren’t getting watered’.

Plants respond to a lack of water by closing down areas of their vascular system which, in time, results in wilting plant leaves, sagging stems and flower/fruit abortion. On the other hand, a lack of gardening knowledge combined with over-eager pupils can result in your plants getting too much water - another concern for the amateur gardener which causes root rot, oedema and more.

There are several steps your school can take to ensure that your plants and crops are given the right amount of water. Firstly, given the right support from your colleagues and residents, you could set up a rota to ensure that someone is responsible for watering each weekend. But then you may return to school on Monday to find your crops over-watered, or even worse, not watered at all.

To prevent any mishaps such as these, automatic watering is a great choice, especially for schools who are unable to regularly tend to their gardens. An automated irrigation system can help avoid water waste and ensure controlled, precision watering cycles for optimum plant growth. No more need to pop into school on scorching hot weekends to ensure that your plants remain hydrated.

Our water timers are simple to install and programme and will work with your existing irrigation system if you have one. If you don’t, we can also supply a range of irrigation kits to suit your needs and preferences – from a pot/grow bag dripper kit that targets plants directly to an overhead water sprinkling kit that can provide naturalistic blanket coverage across your whole polytunnel.

With the right settings, an irrigation timer can save your plants from wilting or drowning. But you can’t just set it and forget it. As your plants become established, and as the seasons change, you will need to adapt your watering schedule accordingly. For more information on how much water your plants will need during their lifetime, check out his handy guide from WikiHow.