Gardening: Ten ways you can save water during the summer heatwave
THE hosepipe ban may have been lifted but with no sign of rain, what can gardeners do to save water?
1. Water early and late: Watering early in the morning and late at night reduces evaporation.
2. Water consistently: Avoid a 'feast or famine' approach to watering which can affect plants' health and cut the yield of fruit and vegetables. Grow bag waterers are great for fruits and vegetables. You can fill a trough on which the grow bag sits and the water is passed through the underside of the bag via spikes covered with capillary matting.
3. Zone your garden: An area planted with lavender, sedum, phormium and other plants which enjoy a dry spell, can be watered sparingly.
4. Put containers in the shade: Water less often by temporarily moving pots and containers into a shady area. If you are going away for a few days, put them on capillary matting to keep the compost moist but not soaking.
5. Water accurately: Focus on the base and roots of a plant. Watering from above the plant can result in water being wasted as it drips off leaves beyond the roots.
6. Mow less often: Letting your grass grow a little longer helps to protect it from dry weather and also allows it to recover quicker when it does rain. Longer grass also encourages more wildlife.
7. Use a water butt: A well-positioned water butt can help to make the most of whatever rain there is.
8. Prioritise your watering: Focus on new plants and any fruit and vegetables instead of larger, well-established plants which have a much better chance of surviving dry conditions.
9. Be prepared: Don't use any water from water butts until you really need to and then use drippers to ensure you only water exactly where you want to.
10. Consider drip watering systems: A drip or trickle irrigation watering system can efficiently place water drip by drip on or beneath the soil surface – some have timers incorporated.