Watering the garden can be a real chore during summer or it can be an opportunity to study your garden. Enjoying looking at plants you might otherwise miss. To me at least it’s a chore and therefore one that I want to do as quickly, yet effectively as possible.
If only we could have hot sunny days and rain once a week, overnight of course. That would be perfect but the weather rarely plays ball and gardeners, like farmers, often bemoan the lack of rain.
Without water, your plants will die. Its as simple as that. Loss of water through leaves, known as transpiration, means that plants constantly need to draw water from the soil via their roots.
With many houses now having water metres fitted it makes sense to make use of the free stuff that falls from the sky. Attaching water butts to drain pipes is fairly straightforward, just make sure you choose a butt with a tap near the base and raise it on a stand or secure pile of bricks.
My mother lives in Spain and every shower in the villa has a bucket to collect surplus water. The washing up water always makes its way onto the garden and is the cause of many tomato plants springing up from the seeds left on plates. Just shows how easy tomatoes are to grow!
Don’t use grey water containing disinfectant or strong detergents. Personally, I wouldn’t use grey water on my food crops but as they’ll be washed before use anyway that’s just a personal quirk.
Pots, Containers and Baskets
To make life really easy, don’t have any pots, containers and baskets! I tell myself that every year but every year I ignore my advice. Where’s the joy in a bare patio and a front door with no hanging baskets?
Chose drought tolerant plants, mix some water storage crystals in with the compost and place the containers in the shade on really hot days. You will still need to water them most days.
How to reduce watering?
– Apply mulch to your beds, borders and pots. Grass cuttings are a free, readily available option but other, organic materials are available
– Ensure that the water is directed at the soil and not at the leaves of your plants
– Water in the cool of the evening so that the plants have all night to soak the water up through their roots
– Disturbing the surface of the soil will increase evaporation so avoid weeding and hoeing during hot weather. Sorry, I know you won’t want to but you really must!
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