With parts of the country in a hosepipe ban following the UK’s third driest month on record in March, you might be wondering how on earth you’re going to keep your garden well-watered this year. Water used in the garden can amount to half of a household’s total water usage. But if you’re smart with your watering, it is possible to have a lush and productive garden while saving water and money at the same time. Here are five simple tips.
1. Water efficiently
When it comes to watering the garden, little and often is not always best. In fact, your plants will appreciate a good soaking so the water can penetrate deep into the roots. It’s better to water the garden first thing in the morning, so it doesn’t evaporate away in the warmth of the day.
Don’t over-water your plants – leave them until they show the first signs of wilting. This will encourage deep, healthy roots and therefore stronger plants.
2. Avoid using a hose
Hoses typically use 225 litres in 15 minutes, which aside from anything else will stack up to a costly bill. Switch to a watering can instead, which will use far less water and give you a more direct flow. We keep compostable watering cans on our webshop, made out of the carnauba tree. When it reaches the end of its life, simply chuck it on the compost heap to decompose.
A useful tip to get water right where the plant wants it most is to cut the bottom off a plastic bottle and remove the cap. Bury the bottle bottom up into the soil next to the plants, so when you pour water down the bottle, it saturates the roots.
When watering hanging baskets, place potted plants underneath to catch the excess water.
3. Invest in a water butt
Harvest rainwater from your roof with a water butt. Did you know that 24,000 litres can be collected off the average roof in a year? A water butt is well worth the investment. Your plants will thank you too, as they prefer rainwater to sterilised tap water. It’s reassuring to know that, despite the current hose ban in parts of the country, rain water can be conserved so you can still give your thirsty garden a good soaking.
4. Plant drought-tolerant plants
There are plenty of drought proof plants that will thrive in even the driest spells. Lavender, for example, looks at its best when it hasn’t been over-watered. Also, its heady aroma will make your garden smell divine as the evening draws in. The pomegranate tree, with its juicy ruby red jewelled fruit, does well in dry conditions too.
5. Increase your plants’ natural resistance
Give your plants the fuel they need to thrive without relying on water. This powdered plant boost actually increases your plants’ drought resistance by improving its water and nutrient uptake. Mix some of this in with your compost and you’ll also reduce the chance of infection by soil pathogens. The formula contains beneficial fungi, which form a protective layer around the roots, helping to strengthen them and promote growth. And of course healthier roots leads to healthier plants. It also comes in a formula specifically for fruits and one especially for seedlings and young plants.