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How to water your plants
It’s no secret, that to get a good looking garden, you need to give it a good watering once a week – particularly during the summer months. The question is, where to water first? Well, this guide aims to help you find out. It’s packed full of practical advice that’s easy to follow, as well as some handy tips to try out.
Getting started with how to water your plants
It’s best to start with the plants that need it most, like the ones in pots and containers or hanging baskets. They rely on water from you so don’t be sparing.
It’s also worth focusing your efforts on the plants that will benefit most – these include:
- New plants that haven’t quite settled in yet.
- Shallow rooted bedding plants that can’t reach water in deep ground.
- Vegetables like peas, tomatoes and lettuce that’ll become lusher the more you water them.
Rather than watering the garden a little on a regular basis, try soaking the soil every now and then. It will do more good because the ground will hold the water for longer – handy during dry spells. Also, try to do your watering in the evening – it will stop the water from being lost to evaporation.
To keep the soil moist around the roots of new larger plants, like trees and shrubs, bury a piece of plastic pipe
when you’re planting them and angle it from the roots upwards. With the pipe now just above the soil, fill it with some gravel so that you can water the roots directly.
You can also try creating a ridge of soil all the way around the plant (about 30cm away from the stem). This will make a moat and stop the water from running off – meaning the soil can soak it up where it’s needed most.
Rows of plants
A similar trick can be used on rows of plants, like a new hedge or cane fruit. All you have to do is ridge the soil along the whole row. You can also use an old piece of guttering with holes drilled in it. Just bury slightly into the ground alongside the row of plants and fill the guttering every time you water.
If you’re planning to use containers like terracotta pots (that let water through them) it’s worth lining them with a plastic bag – making sure you avoid the drainage holes. This will stop water loss and keep your plants healthier.
The same idea can be used on wire hanging baskets – which often dry out. Try using larger baskets, rather than lots of small ones. They hold more compost which means they need watering less often. For example, a 35cm diameter basket holds about twice as much compost as a 30cm one.
If you’ve got a collection of small containers, group them together to make watering a little easier. Also choose drought-tolerant plants (see below) for pots in sunny positions, like the patio.
Drought-tolerant bedding (don’t let the names scare you)
Has your compost dried out?
Not to worry. You can either add a drop of washing up liquid to the water to help soften up the surface. Or stick a few ice blocks into it. They’ll melt gradually and wet the compost – giving it a new lease of life.
Watering by hand
Most people have a few plants that need to be watered gently by hand. You can do this with either:
- A watering can (get one with a long spout for a better reach)
- A hose lance (great for plants in awkward places – get one with a trigger for better water control)