If, like Secret Garden Club HQ, you live in an area under a hosepipe ban, you may be wondering how your plants are going to survive the drought. We’re putting our own measures in place and we’d be interested to hear from anyone who has any other water-saving tips and strategies to share with us.
1. Concentrate on drought-resistant plants. It may be a little too soon to be thinking about a cactus garden, but plants that like a Mediterranean lifestyle won’t mind a bit of drought. In our Secret Garden Club session next Sunday, we’ll be looking at Mediterranean fruit and vegetables – such as aubergines, chillies, tomatoes, courgettes, grapevines and figs – and discussing ways to beat the drought. (Click here for booking details).
2. Mulching. Spreading a layer, either of organic material such as straw, or manure, or bark chips, or inorganic such as plastic sheeting, or gravel, is a great way to conserve the moisture already in the soil, since you greatly reduce or even eliminate water loss through evaporation.
3. Water plants in the evening: again there will be less loss due to evaporation than if you water during the heat of the day.
4. Use a watering can with a long nozzle rather than a rose and target the water precisely at the roots of the plant rather than splashing the leaves. That means more water goes where the plant can use it best.
5. Another way to ensure the roots get all the water is to cut the bottom off an empty 500ml plastic water bottle. Unscrew the cap and remove, then push the bottle, cap-end down, into the soil next to the plant. Fill up the inverted water bottle from your watering can and the water will be directed straight to the roots. This is an excellent way to water leafy plants like tomatoes, which do get thirsty in summer, and aubergines.
6. Install a water butt, if you don’t already have one.
7. If you can, divert your ‘grey’ water: water from the bath or shower, from the washing up. The amount of detergent in a normal bath or shower won’t be enough to harm your plants.