hosepipe bans, ideas for gardeners

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kitla
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hosepipe bans, ideas for gardeners

Post by kitla »

Our water company are applying for a hosepipe ban, no doubt others may follow if this weather carries on. I thought it would be good to collect everyones ideas for keeping the garden watered & what's worked for you. I've grown extra plants this year as I wanted my garden looking nice for our 25th wedding anniversary in September, I'm determined not to let them all die - or the veggies! I'm going to try & fill up the water butts first to make carrying water easier, but it will take forever to water everything with a can every day. I'm collecting bottles for the pot watering ideas, & bought extra pot saucers from Wilco. This site has some good ideas https://seedcell.co.uk/indoor-gardening ... n-holiday/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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lancashire lass
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Re: hosepipe bans, ideas for gardeners

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Yes I saw on the news this morning that our water supplier Seven Trent are asking people to reduce their water consumption (not yet a ban but this heatwave is not going away fast so it won't be too far behind) Here's my contribution:

1. Might be a bit late now but mixing vermicullite or perlite into the potting compost helps to retain water than a sandy soil. Roots can then tap into it.

2. Mulch - anything from grass cuttings, bark chippings, pebbles and stones on top of the soil will help reduce water loss from the soil surface (pick a stone up out of the garden and you'll find a damp patch underneath) As deep as you can safely make it (depth usually makes it cooler on the soil surface) but it might also be a haven for slugs and snails too though so watch out and take precautions (whatever method you use or slug bait). However, do thoroughly water the soil (and I mean really drench it - poke your finger into the soil afterwards to see just how far down the water has penetrated) before putting the mulch on top otherwise any rain or watering thereafter merely dampens the mulch and will struggle to reach the soil where the roots are.

You could even cover the surface with a plastic sheet first (don't forget to pierce it with lots of holes to let water through) or use weed suppressant membrane, then put the mulch on top. I found this was a very effective way of retaining water in soil on large beds at the allotment.

3. Stand pots in trays so when you water, it is not lost when it drains through the potting soil.

4. If you were setting up hanging baskets, they are designed to allow water to drain out. I always put a little tub (like a butter spread type) inside at the bottom so that it collects some water which plants can tap into. It's not much but it traps just enough water to keep plants going during a hot day (I've lost too many hanging basket plants before now) I also do the small pop bottle dribble in the middle as well when I was not at home that day.

5. Although plants can tolerate shade which would reduce some water loss through leaves, unfortunately some may start to grow leggy. If you able to, let the plants enjoy some morning sunshine but move them into a shady spot well before the hottest time of the day and then move them back to enjoy a late afternoon sunlight.

6. The problem with using a watering can is that you might end up using more water - plants in the soil should be heavily watered but then don't need to be watered for a few days. Watering by can means only the soil surface will get moist and this will dry off very quickly in the heat and need more frequent watering. It also encourages plants to grow roots near the soil surface which makes them more vulnerable when the water dries off.

7. Another trick I did on the allotment especially for water guzzling plants was to create a moat and a mound of soil round each plant so that when I watered them, the water was contained for that plant and wasn't wasted in a run off. Be careful not to create a bowl shape - when watering (or if it rains ....), the water will pool in the middle and some plants will start to rot at the base - the trick is to make a circle/ring where the roots have spread out rather than watering the crown if you understand.
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Re: hosepipe bans, ideas for gardeners

Post by Gwenoakes »

Some really good ideas above, thanks for that.
My two penny worth, put newspaper inside tubs/baskets this also absorbs water as does sheep's wool if your lucky enough to know any farmers who have them.
We have also bought loads more water butts, but it has not rained to fill them up yet.
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kitla
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Re: hosepipe bans, ideas for gardeners

Post by kitla »

Yes mulching is something I was thinking about, what's best to use? I was thinking of buying a bag of pea sized stones for the pots. Wool is an interesting idea, I get a small meat delivery every week & the box is lined with wool as insulation. This may work very well as mulch (if the birds dont steal it for their nests).
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lancashire lass
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Re: hosepipe bans, ideas for gardeners

Post by lancashire lass »

oh, nearly forgot one! And it's a classic.

In the flower beds / veg beds, sink empty medium size plant pots in the ground next to the plants and fill with just a few big stones (just to to weight it down but also shade the holes in the bottom - you don't need many) and then water into that rather than top soil - the water will reach the roots much quicker.
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lancashire lass
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Re: hosepipe bans, ideas for gardeners

Post by lancashire lass »

kitla wrote:Yes mulching is something I was thinking about, what's best to use? I was thinking of buying a bag of pea sized stones for the pots.


If you put membrane down first, then the pea gravel they should be fine )t'
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lancashire lass
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Re: hosepipe bans, ideas for gardeners

Post by lancashire lass »

Looks hosepipe bans are looking more likely BBC news
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