4 ways to conserve water in your garden

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conserve waterI don’t know what the weather is like where you are, but in the UK last week we enjoyed mid summer temperatures!

We were warned that even after one of the wettest summers on record last year, we were in danger of a drought…
This got me thinking to the garden here at Chez Green, and some of the things we do to minimise wasting water during the hot months.

Rain barrels

One of the simplest things you can do conserve water is install some rain barrels.

I remember visiting a family friend when I was a child and I was mesmerised by their water trough which gathered water for hair washing! My ‘aunty’ told me they had soft hair because they used rain, rather than tap water and it bought to mind images of the Timotei girl running through the meadow with the sunshine highlighting her hair.

Your plants can benefit from rain water too! Most plants prefer rain to tap water and rain barrels do not take up much room as they lie against a wall. We have four at home and three of them do even more for the environment because they are made from recycled juice barrels!

Mulch and compost

Last week, in “5 ways to use compost” I talked about different ways to use compost in your garden and I mentioned mulch.

Mulch is such an important aspect of organic gardening and used correctly, can help reduce water consumption too.

By using mulch around plants you protect the soil from extremes of temperature, so not only do you protect fragile plants in winter but you prevent plants getting dehydrated in summer.

The knock on effect of mulching is that you need to use much less water to keep your plants healthy and vibrant.

Drip irrigation

Rather than blast a hosepipe, gentle watering by setting up drip irrigation systems (from Easy Watering who are on a mission to make watering your garden simple and efficient) helps get water where it’s needed most.

If you use a hosepipe or sprinkler you end up watering paths, patios and the neighbours garden! But a drip irrigation system uses much less water and you can direct it where needed.

If you use automatic watering systems on a timer, such as these from Easy Watering you can water after sunset. The benefits of this are that water doesn’t evaporate so quickly, meaning you use less and your plants get more.

Native plants

It’s easy to get inspired by all the wonderful gardening programmes, websites and books available but stop and think before you spend your money on exotic plants.

The best way to conserve water is to plant those that are native to your area. Native plants (which can be found on the Natural history museum postcode plants database) will be used to the environment which includes soil type, temperature and rainfall as well as being less susceptible to pests and disease.

Native plants tend to need less water and can manage with a bit of neglect as they have already adapted to the local conditions.

What about you – how do you conserve water in your garden during the summer?

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