How can I be more water efficient in the garden?
Never water in the heat of the day - most will evaporate and if it’s sunny you run the risk of scorching your plants. It’s better to water in the evening or early morning.
- Make a little dam of earth around each plant to make sure the water goes directly to the roots.
- Long, slow drinks in the first few weeks encourage roots to grow down and will produce plants that can look after themselves in hot weather.
- Only water plants that need it. Some plants, even root vegetables, will survive on very little water. Potatoes and broad beans only need water when they are filling out, however, lettuces, tomatoes and marrows will need water throughout the season.
- If possible avoid using sprinklers and hosepipes.
- If you do use a hosepipe, ensure it is fitted with a trigger nozzle that will stop the flow of water when you release it.
- Consider using an irrigation system that will deliver water directly to your plants.
- Reduce the number of pots and hanging baskets as these all need frequent watering.
- Instead use larger pots and make sure they are well mulched and contain water retentive crystals.
- Place a container underneath to capture any excess water.
Choice of plants
- Grow suitable drought tolerant plants as these need little watering.
- Edible perennials, such as rhubarb, asparagus, artichokes and green leafy vegetables are also more resilient to weather changes.
- Look out for grey leaved plants such as lavender, sages or those with fat leaves that can store water, such as sedums, as these are more tolerant to dry conditions.
- Maintaining your garden will ensure water is not wasted on dead, diseased or damaged plants.
- Dead-head flowering plants to encourage new growth and remove any rotten or dead wood.
- The Chelsea Chop (so called because it is done around the time of the flower show at the end of May) involves cutting back by half plants such as phlox, chrysanthemums, asters, rudbeckia, echinacea and helenium to reduce transpiration and encourage them to make bushier plants.
- Pull weeds out when the shoots first appear, before they compete with your plants for precious water
Did you know?
Brown tips - can indicate a lack of water
Black leaves or roots - indicate too much water