To prevent your plants hanging their heads this summer, make sure they get plenty of water. There’s no shortage of rainfall in June, but it can be deceptive. Much of our rain comes as intense afternoon thundershowers, not a gentle soaking and most plants depend on even moisture. Watering them is essential now the weather is warmer and drier.
Watering the garden can take a lot of time during the summer months, especially if there is a prolonged dry spell. If you are new to gardening, it is easy to think the simplest solution is to unravel the hose each evening and shower the whole garden using a hose-end sprinkler. But there are far more effective and less wasteful ways of keeping your garden plants well watered, while reducing the amount of labour it takes.
To start with, concentrate your efforts only on those plants that really need it. For example, container plants, such as pots and hanging baskets, are entirely dependent on the water you can supply and will need to be a top priority when watering, especially if growing in a conservatory or greenhouse.
Water thoroughly once or twice a week rather than little and often, this encourages plants to put down roots in search of water rather than coming up to the surface. Containers and hanging baskets need watering every day and sometimes even twice a day if it is hot and windy. For large shrubs or trees, leave a hose trickling around the base for an hour. Hedges are also best watered with a trickle hose (a length of old hose punctured with little holes) left running for an hour or so.
Water is a precious commodity so instigate good practices such as using kitchen and bath water (as long as it is neither too dirty, greasy nor full of detergent) for watering, collect rainwater and investigate ways to recycle water for your irrigation. Avoid using tap water, however, for lime-hating plants such as camellias – they will not thank you for it! Automatic watering systems are economical with water, as well as convenient, so consider installing one sooner rather than later.
A friend of mine once had a summer job at one of England’s premier nurseries. He told me that the nursery owner always had his new employees spend the first two weeks doing nothing but watering plants. By teaching his staff how to water a plant properly, the owner ensured the health and vitality of his inventory. But he also used this initiation period to identify the best employees: people who paid attention.
[gravityform id=”1″ name=”Contact”]