Watering your garden - dos and don'ts
Watering your garden is an essential task that can make all the difference in maintaining healthy and vibrant plants. Whether you're an experienced gardener or a novice, getting the right amount of water to your plants can be tricky. Too much water can drown the roots and lead to root rot, while too little water can cause plants to wither and die. Plus, it’s made trickier by changes in the weather. As summer approaches, proper watering is essential to keep your plants healthy and thriving throughout the hot and dry summer months. However, it can be a challenge to strike the right balance between giving your plants enough water and not wasting a precious resource.
There are a few different ways to water your garden, and each one has its own advantages and disadvantages. If you have a small garden or container plants, hand-watering with a watering can or hose might be the way to go. This method allows you to control the amount of water each plant receives, but it takes a bit longer. If you want to be more eco-friendly, you can use a water butt to fill your can or connect your hose. If you have a larger garden or lawn, sprinklers might be a good choice, but they can waste water through evaporation and runoff. Drip irrigation lines or drip hoses can be more efficient, as they deliver water directly to the base of each plant, but can be more expensive to set up.
When it comes to watering your garden during hot weather, timing is everything. To keep your plants healthy and hydrated, it's best to water them in the early morning or late evening when temperatures are cooler and the sun isn't as strong. This allows the water to soak into the soil before it evaporates, so your plants can get the most out of it. Be sure to avoid watering during the hottest part of the day, as this can actually damage your plants by magnifying the sun's rays. Watering in the evening can also help cool down the soil and prevent fungal growth, which can be a problem during warm and humid weather.
During droughts and dry periods where we don’t get enough rainfall, hosepipe bans are often introduced to protect the existing water. However, there are still plenty of ways to keep your plants hydrated. One of the easiest methods is using a watering can or bucket to target each plant individually. If you want to be even more environmentally friendly, you can install a water butt to collect rainwater, or use greywater from the washing up, washing machines or baths. You can even connect pressure washers to water butts, which means you still have a way to use them without running them off the mains supply. Remember to water your plants early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid evaporation, and focus on watering the roots rather than the leaves to ensure the water goes where it's needed.
By minimising the need to use water in your garden, you’re making it more suited to cope with the effects of climate change. Switching from the mains to rains using a water butt or a rain barrel makes a big difference. Watering your garden in the summer can be especially costly and wasteful, so try watering your plants deeply once or twice a week instead of watering them every day. Using mulch and drought-tolerant plants can also help retain moisture in the soil and reduce your water usage. Using the appropriate watering tools, like a watering can or drip line irrigation system, can ensure you're watering your plants accurately and efficiently. By implementing these methods, you can keep your garden thriving while reducing water usage and costs.