Don’t waste a drop
PUBLISHED: 16:36 08 June 2006 | UPDATED: 14:42 12 May 2010
THERE are many ways of saving water in the garden. Here are some to try during June. Catch all the rain you can by fixing water butts to your downpipes from the roof. Make sure a water butt is raised above the ground so it s easier to fill a watering can
THERE are many ways of saving water in the garden. Here are some to try during June.
Catch all the rain you can by fixing water butts to your downpipes from the roof. Make sure a water butt is raised above the ground so it's easier to fill a watering can and keep it covered so the water stays clean.
This water can be used for all plants except little seedlings which do need a drop of cleaner water from the mains.
Plant close to your water butt. Now the danger of frost has passed, we can start planting out half-hardy flowers and vegetables for summer display and cropping.
However, any plants you put in the garden are sure to need watering so if you plant them near your water butt you will save yourself a lot of unnecessary walking up and down.
Be careful with the water from your water butt.
Make sure it gets to the plants that really need it. Those in containers and the ones you have planted recently are most urgently in need of watering.
The others can extend their roots out into the soil and should manage quite well on the natural rainfall.
Before planting, dig as much bulky compost material into the ground as you can.
It'll make the soil much easier to work with and will help to reduce the amount of watering you have to do.
For larger areas, it will be much cheaper to buy loose loads of mushroom compost or composted green waste. For smaller areas, a few bags will do the trick. Spread it on the surface at least 100mm thick and just dig it in with a fork.
When planting out vegetables such as courgettes and tomatoes and any other large leafy plants, sink a flower pot into the ground next to them.
This can be filled with water which will percolate down to the roots, making sure that all the water you give them gets exactly where its needed.
Don't let it drain away. The water you give to a plant can be wasted by draining away from its roots or evaporating off the soil surface.
Give the plant enough water so that it gets right down to the roots, but not so much that it drains away.
The precise amount will depend on the plant and the soil, but one-third of a watering can will normally be enough for something you've planted quite recently.
In hot weather you are likely to lose a lot of water through evaporation.
Watering early in the morning or late in the evening really helps to reduce this loss as does directing the water beneath the leaves of the plants.
Another thing you can do is lay a sheet of hessian or other material over the soil after watering as a temporary mulch.
Why not try composting?
You can never have too much compost on the beds. It makes the soil hold water like a sponge and helps plant roots to find water and nutrients for themselves.
Why not use your prunings and clippings to make your own compost?
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