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As the sun unrelentingly beats down, it's easy to let things slide a bit in the garden as the ground quickly dries out. And sadly, water stressed plants are more likely to get hit by pests or diseases.
So to help we've come up with a few tips that should make it easier to keep your plants happy, healthy, and watered.
How you water
How you water can make a surprising difference to how effective your watering is.
When possible avoid wetting the foliage of tomatoes, courgettes, cucumbers, pumpkins, and passionfruit.
Water larger plants such as trees and shrubs less often but deeply. Leave the hose pipe on plants for 5 minutes or so every few weeks.
Improve your soil structure
Soil with good structure and lots of humus holds moisture for longer and makes it easier to keep plants hydrated during the summer heat. You can improve the structure of your soil by:
Adding humus (organic matter)
Top dress existing plants with a handful of sheep pellets.
Mulch trees, shrubs, and woody perennials with Living Earth more than Mulch.
Healthy soil with good structure is teeming with life, full of billions of beneficial bacteria and fungi, protozoa, and worms. By dint of being there, they help lock in soil fertility, and improve structure, creating soil that'll hold more moisture.
Increase beneficial microbial activity by:
Fertilising with Worm Tea and Worm Castings (which can be easily made at home with a worm farm).
Using fish and seaweed fertilisers like Ocean Grow or Aquaticus Garden Booster. Garden Booster also contains Trichoderma, a beneficial fungi that helps stimulate root growth and helps protect from root rots and other problems.
Clay particles are incredibly tiny, and as a result they tend to stick tightly together. Which makes watering the soil difficult. Aerating and adding organic matter helps, however it's also worth using Gypsum Claybreaker as the Calcium ions help bind the tiny clay particles together into larger clumps, effectively increasing the particles size, improving soil structure and making it easier to aerate and water.
Mulching helps reduce moisture loss and helps smother weeds.
When adding mulch, thoroughly water your plants, add mulch and then wet the mulch down. Leave a slight gap between the trunk/stem of your plant and the mulch.
Wood chip based mulches such as Living Earth More than Mulch are best used around trees, shrubs, and woody perennials.
Use Peastraw and Lucerne around veggies and annual flowers.
Reduce your watering use by using wetting agents to help the soil retain moisture or increase the effectiveness of watering.
Made primarily from coir, Saturaid helps reduce your watering needs by up to 50%. Great in pots, hanging baskets, lawns, and garden beds. Works by channelling water into the roots zone where it's needed, reducing run off and promoting even distribution of moisture in the soil.
Add when planting, or simply sprinkle on top later on.
Water Storage Crystals
Add to potting mixes or garden soils when planting. The crystals when watered will absorb 400 times their own weight in water and then slowly release that water back to the plant when it's needed. Great in pots, but avoid using with succulents or houseplants.
Irrigation systems can save you a lot of time and really help improve your garden. However figuring out which system is right for you can sometimes be a challenge.
Select watering time, duration, and frequency of your irrigation system. The system can then be connected to micro irrigation, soaker hoses, or sprinklers. A range of different computers are available to suit most needs.
Highly versatile, build the system that suits you. Connect to a water computer and fully automate your system.
Water plants directly with the various drippers, or use jets to provide a wider coverage.
For more details click here.
Soaker hoses are slightly porous and will slowly leak water along its length.
Easily connects to your hosepipe and can either be ran alongside plants you want to water, or buried for extra efficiency.
Plug in, turn the tap on, and you're away. A range of different options available depending on your watering needs. Great for watering lawns and garden beds.
For more tips on irrigation click here.
Keeping plants watered, especially when you're busy or are going away can be tricky. However we have a new product that may well help.
Aquasolo Watering Cones
The ceramic cones can be attached to most 0.5 2L drink bottles.
Simply fill the drink bottle with water, attach the cone, push the cone into the soil near the plant you want watered and the water in the bottle will slowly leach out, providing your plant with water when it's needed.
For more info click here.