Thursday, 19 May 2016

How to Garden Without Wasting Water

Finally the sun is here!  Even the most half-hearted of gardeners will already be planning and planting their flower beds and vegetable plots for the year.  But, with the almost inevitable concerns about water shortages, how can we keep our plants green and happy whilst also cutting back on water usage?  Not to mention minimising those twice daily trips round the garden, heavy watering can or wasteful hose in hand.

Affinity Water's Water Saving Squad (love that!) have some top tips to help you become a more water efficient gardener, along with some of our tips:

  • Large containers and raised beds need less frequent watering than small pots. Group smaller pots together to help with humidity and slow down evaporation.

  • Push a short length of pipe into pots.  Water into the tube so that the water goes directly to the roots where it is most needed.

  • Choose your pots carefully: metal heats up fast, while terracotta is very porous.  Consider using stone, or have a pot inside a pot.

  • Set your lawnmower blade high and cut the grass slightly longer during dry periods to allow the dew to be trapped and reduce evaporation.  Keep the blades sharp too.

  • Group vegetables by their water needs. Asparagus, beetroot and other root crops are the most drought tolerant.

  • Install a water butt or two to collect rain water, which is better for your plants than cleaned tap water, and will also save you money if you are on a water meter.

  • Use cooking water to water your plants.  It's full of nutrients from the vegetables that have been boiled or steamed, so don't just throw it done the drain.  You can even re-use fish tank water when you change it.

  • If you are filling a new pond, leave the water to stand for 24 hours before introducing plants and fish to reduce the chlorine content. If possible, fill a pond with rainwater which is not chlorinated.

  • Water early in the morning and/or during the evening to reduce evaporation.  Research has suggested watering pots after 12pm produces optimal growth, while conversely the rest of your garden will benefit from early morning watering.

  • Choose drought resistant bedding plants such as Alyssum, Geraniums, French and African Marigolds and Petunias, or plant perennials such as Aquilegia, Campanula or Heuchera.

  • Apply organic mulch around plants and on borders to conserve water by reducing surface evaporation - and weeds.

  • Dig compost (preferably home-made) into the soil as it will absorb and retain more water than regular soil.

  • Mix water retaining crystals in planting compost to help keep the soil moist. Consider buying plastic pots with water reservoirs that store water.

Hopefully those easy tips will save lots of water in your garden this summer, although some residents may still require you to turn the hose on...

For more water efficiency advice, visit

Photo: Affinity Water team member, Grant Wordsworth and Vicky Harris from Garden Design enjoy Affinity Water’s award winning and water efficient ‘Naturally Dry’ garden.

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