I always feel that spring is in the air when I hear the first birdsong and see the first daffodils – that is when I take a breath of the fresh spring air, and then start planning (no peace for the wicked!)
This year’s challenge for gardeners and farmers alike is likely to be the predicted drought across the UK. At our pad we collect as much rainwater as possible in all manner of butts and some big tanks too, but we still always run out. I am considering harvesting grey water from the house which I think is fine on a veggie garden (we only use eco detergents anyway) and will really make me feel that the money spent with the water meter is better value. It will also help reduce other costs as the septic tank won’t need to be emptied as often (oh the joys of living in the sticks!)
Here are some ideas for keeping your garden great and not using too much of the old H20.
- Plant leafy crops close together so that they create a canopy of shade and reduce evaporation.
- Mulch! Lots of mulch on the soil surface reduces water loss and also helps to keep weeds at bay. Don’t apply the mulch until the soil is warm – and water the soil well first.
- Add organic matter to the soil – it helps it to hold onto the water.
- Water in the morning (as early as possible) or in the evening. This will reduce evaporation, but don’t water slug’s favourites in the evening – as that will only encourage the little devils!
- Get weeding! These unwanted plants will be drinking the water that your plants want.
- Water directly onto the soil, not onto the plants themselves.
- Collect rainwater from every surface that you can!
- Stick a tube (old drainpipe or cut off bottle) into the ground next to plants and water into that; it will encourage the plants to grow deep roots and find the water deep in the soil.
- Look for drought resistant varieties or grow really abundant plants like courgettes and tomatoes that produce prolifically and earn every drop that you give them!