Posts Tagged ‘mulch’

Help Your Garden Survive a Summer Drought

August 17th, 2018 | News | 0 Comments

gardening-during-a-summer-drought-can-be-a-struggle

Struggling with a summer drought is no fun, and keeping your plants quenched and happy can feel like a non-stop battle.

Don’t be a slave to the watering can!

Read on or watch the video for top tips on how to keep your garden healthy in drought conditions. They’ll save you time – and a lot of water too!

Watering

top-tips-for-saving-water-and-time-in-a-drought

Prioritise watering

When water is precious it pays to be prudent. Concentrate your watering where it is needed; young seedlings to help them establish, leafy salads to stop them wilting, fruit and vegetables like tomatoes, and anything growing in a pot.

Balance and speed

Using a watering can? Try two! One for each hand. It will help you balance and you’ll be able to water twice as quickly. If your water source is some distance from your beds, it also means less walking back and forth.

Another option is to use a portable tank, to cart water to where it will be dispensed.

Don’t blast your plants

A strong spray from a hose can knock plants about, or blast potting soil out of containers. Get around this problem simply by placing the end of the hose in a watering can so that it fills as you pour. This means you can water carefully and precisely, enjoying the convenience of a hose without wasting a drop.

Water from the bottom

Watering pots from the bottom, rather than the top, can save a lot of time and water in hot weather. Fill up a suitable sized reservoir, adding any liquid feed you’d like to apply at the recommended rate. Sink your pots into the water and leave them to soak up the liquid for at least an hour.

You can speed things along by adding a splash of water to the top of the pot before it’s left to soak. This technique helps ensure a thorough watering that makes very efficient use of your water.

Automate watering

An automatic irrigation system connected to a timer will take the strain out of watering. Set it to come on very early in the morning, before things heat up. The best set up to use drip irrigation or soaker hoses to deliver water is right at the base of your plants, near the roots.

Some can even be fitted to water barrels, so you can make the most of any rain water you’ve managed to collect.

Keep their Cool

droughts-can-play-havoc-with-seedlings-and-cause-young-plants-to-struggle

Drought can play havoc with seedlings, hampering germination and causing young plants to struggle. Here are a few ideas to help:

Success with seedlings

In hot dry conditions getting seeds to germinate can be tricky, particularly those of cool season crops such at lettuce. The solution is to wet the seed drill before sowing to give them the cool, moist surroundings they crave. Water along marked out drills, allow the water to completely drain away, then fill and drain once again before you sow.

Once you’re done sowing cover the seeds back over, but don’t water again until after germination. The moisture in the drill will drain through, encouraging the seedlings’ roots to follow.

Add some shade

Young seedlings, and cool season crops in general, perform better under the protection of some shading in hot summers. Prioritise shady areas for crops that prefer cool conditions, such as salad leaves. You can use taller crops to shade shorter ones, but in scorching weather drastic action may be needed.

Shade cloth can cast just enough shade to keep your plants happy in severe heat and can be easily removed when the weather turns cooler. Suspend it over plants to help them keep their cool.

Soothe the Soil

mulching-shades-soil-to-keep-it-cooler-and-helps-retain-moisture

Mulch around plants

Mulches are a must in any summer drought, and a mulch of organic material such as compost, leafmould or even dried grass clippings is best.

This extra layer serves two purposes; it shades the soil from the sun helping to keep it cooler, and it acts as a barrier to the sun, dramatically slowing evaporation.

How to apply a mulch

Thoroughly soak the ground before adding your mulch. If it’s exceptionally dry, water again a few hours later to recharge all that valuable soil moisture. Lay the mulch so it’s at least an inch (2 cm) thick and feed it right around all your plants.

Fruit trees, canes and bushes can be mulched with chunkier materials such as bark chippings, or fibrous materials like straw. Mulches may not be very high-tech, but they are incredibly effective in a hot summer.

 

If you have any tips for gardening in a hot, dry climate, comment below or head over to our Facebook and Twitter page.

Use Mulch to Reduce Weeds, Save Water & Feed Your Plants [video]

July 27th, 2016 | The flower garden, The vegetable garden | 0 Comments

mulchOrganic mulches are essential for a healthy, productive vegetable garden, locking in soil moisture, suppressing weeds and feeding plants as they rot down. There are lots of different materials that work well as organic mulch. Mulching is a great way to use up garden trimmings such as shredded prunings and grass clippings for instance. This video will outline how to use mulch in your garden to best effect.

Once you’ve established your vegetables you’ll need to do three things; keep them well weeded, well hydrated and give them plenty of nutrients. Mulch can assist with all of these areas for gardening success.

  • Organic mulches block light from reaching the soil, so they dramatically reduce weed growth. Therefore, saving time spent weeding your plants.
  • Mulches protect the soil from the compacting affects of heavy rain, whilst keeping soil moisture locked in for longer.
  • Organic mulches help to feed the soil as it rots down. Improving conditions of earthworms which will eventually improve the soils structure. This will then improve plant growth.
  • Mulches also attract garden predators, keeping insect pests under control.
  • Before laying a mulch, remove any perennial weeds.
  • In dry weather, thoroughly water the ground before laying any mulch.
  • Bare soil can be mulched as protection from weathers.

These are just a few tips on mulching, the video below shares more advice on mulching your garden. Leave any comments for any tips you may have.

How to Use Mulch to Reduce Weeds, Save Water & Feed Your Plants