Garden Watering Tips

Water is one of the most precious natural resources on the planet. It's hard to appreciate that if you live in a place that has plenty of water or gets lots of rain.

Garden Watering Tips - Rain cloud

But lots of places don't and the changing weather patterns have led to long dry spells and drought in previously fertile areas.

Water means life. Without it, you've got nothing. So no matter where you live, it's important not to abuse this essential life giving substance.

This is one of the reasons the no dig garden is such a brilliant solution for all climates, but particularly dry ones. It requires much less watering than the ordinary garden.

The materials used in the garden act like a water sink holding moisture in the layers of straw and lucerne. When it rains, the garden materials re-absorb the water they need and allow the excess to drain away.

This way, the garden is always moist but not sodden. Hence, no requirement for watering.

In the event that you feel you must water, decide NOT to spray it all over the plants in the heat of the day. Watering like this will accomplish a few things like:

1) make your plants susceptible to fungus and rot.
2) see the majority of the water evaporate straight off the garden.
3) have your plants become damaged with hot sun being magnified through water droplets on the leaves.

Of course, none of those outcomes is desirable.

The best watering system to use is a drip system. That means basically a length of hose with holes in it at regular intervals woven through the garden. The water drips out of it at ground level without wetting the leaves of your plants.

Plan to do your watering at dusk. This will allow the plants to recover from the day's heat and absorb all the water they need. It will also mean the garden will be able to absorb as much as it needs without the water just evaporating in the heat of the day.

If evening watering is impossible for you, water very early in the morning to give plants a chance to absorb it before the heat of the day.

Water fewer days, but deeper. The materials in the no dig garden will absorb and hold the moisture for use later. This will encourage your plants to send their roots deeper, making them stronger and less susceptible to dry spells.

Consider putting in a rain water tank to harvest your rain. The pure water (no additives) can be used directly on your garden and your plants will love you for it. It will improve the taste of your vegetables too!

Some other hints for those wanting to be water wise:

- If you live in a dry area, choose to grow drought tolerant plants in the rest of your garden. A resource as precious as water shouldn't be wasted on non-essential watering.

- Mulch, mulch, mulch your garden. Don't allow the mulch to come in direct contact with the base of plants as it may introduce rot.

- Always control weeds in your garden. They compete with the good plants for resources.

- Fertilise your plants. Well fed gardens suffer less from heat stress. If using liquid fertilisers for vegetables, don't over do it!

A recent documentary on television reminded me that the rain that falls today is the same rain that has fallen since the beginning of time. It is the same rain that fell on the dinosaurs and our ancient forebearers.

If you have to learn to live without it, it's already too late.

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