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Watering can 1
Here are 9 tips for getting the most out of every precious drop of water to keep the effects of drought at bay.
  • A task that can be adapted for people of all ages and abilities
  • Keeps your garden well nourished and growing well
  • Watering plants is an ideal task for children because it gives them responsibility in the garden without requiring too much knowledge and skill, although that will increase over time
  • Learning the best ways to water and take care of a garden is a great starting point for children to learn about plants and the conditions under which they thrive
  • You may need to get a smaller watering can that makes it easier for a child to use, or advise them not to fill the can up too much

In the British summer there is often plenty of rain, but through those dry spells it is good to have some tips to keep the garden healthy. Here are 9 tips for getting the most out of every precious drop of water.

Is it needed?

The soil might be dry on the surface but is it underneath? Delve a bit deeper and if you find it’s damp, then don’t waste your water.

Time it right

Watering early in the morning or late in the evening avoids the heat of the day and will help prevent evaporation. Remember that windy weather also aids evaporation.

Watering plant

Take aim

Be precise with your watering and target the roots, that’s where the plant needs the moisture most. Avoiding water on the leaves also reduces the risk of them becoming scorched by the sun.

Count to 20

A good soaking every so often is better than a light daily sprinkling. Giving your plants a 20 second dousing will push water deep into the soil and help roots grow deeper and stronger.

Have some bottle

Plastic bottles can be recycled to irrigate plants. Cut off the bottom of the bottle, make holes in the lid and half bury it close to the roots. Once filled with water, it’ll gradually refresh the plant.

Harvest rain

Every year, 24,000 litres of rainwater could be collected from your roof, so having water butts strategically placed to collect it makes money-saving sense. Rainwater has some acid content which is ideal for most plants. Plus, water stored in butts will be warmer than mains water which can shock root systems in warm soil.

Water butts

Keep on top of weeds

By removing weeds, you stop them taking water that your plants need. Use your hoe regularly to keep them in check. Hoeing keeps the soil crumbly, allowing water to soak in more easily to nourish the roots.

Layer-up

Moisture in your soil can be conserved by mulching. First make sure the soil is moist and then that the mulch is deep enough (at least 5cms). Using mulch will not only retain moisture but feed the soil and help keep weeds down. Mulches are loose coverings or sheets of material placed on the surface of soil.

Watering 2

Pick plants that can cope

As our climate changes, it could pay to think about having plants that are better able to cope with prolonged dry spells. Erysimum Bowles Mauve, Lavender, Stachys byzantina (lamb’s ears), and Verbena bonariensis (pictured below) are among plants that can adapt to drought.

Verbena bonarensis

Gardening tips

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