Australia is a continent renowned for its aridness. Coupled with being in the midst of climate change, makes for certainly challenging situations to say the least for we gardener, But let’s not forgot firstly how devastating it is for our farmers though. And given their livelihood depends upon it we are acutely aware and pay homage.
On the Australian Eastern seaboard, we are presently experiencing a very dry Spring, which is following an unseasonably dry Winter, and with no decent rains predicted until Autumn for most of that area, that is a rather dire outlook. Considering parts of NSW are already declared in serious drought, and with pockets of Victoria not far behind, this Summer will be one in which we are heading into uncharted waters in some respects.
When most of the population turns on the tap, they believe there is an endless supply of water available. On the other hand, farmers, gardeners and others connected to the land certainly know otherwise.
So here’s some tips on how to make the best possible scenarios in your garden right now, be it balcony gardens, or generous sized backyard garden, because prevention is always better than the cure.
~ Invest in a rain tank if you’ve not already done so. If practicable set up some other water saving devices around your garden such as open bins to tip onto the garden once it has rained. Note : don’t let them sit for too long, it will bring mosquitos etc.
~ Creating microclimates is a great way to protect your plants.
~ What time of day you water your plants will have a lot to play in the retention of the water applied. Best rule of thumb, where possible, is to water before 8am and after 6pm at night only.
~ When you water by hand, ensure you point the hose/watering can at the soil, not on the leaves. That’s where it will do the most good.
~ Water consistently. It will affect the drainage of your soil if you water on occasion only with big deposits of water, then ignore your garden’s water needs for weeks. Think of a flood and how the land doesn’t cope – essentially you are doing the same thing to your soil. It also means the top soil can be washed away – which is where a lot of vital nutrients get lost. Infrequent water also causes the soil to become hydrophobic and believe us, that’s not what you want. A little bit often, is always a good suggestion.
~ Invest in an automatic watering system if watering is a hard thing to shoehorn into your busy lifestyle. It’s also essential if you are away on holidays and don’t have a friend or neighbour available to do your watering for you.
~ Huddling pots together to water consistently is also recommended. The actual type of pot you choose is important; whilst terracotta looks awesome, be mindful they absorb water more quickly in the heat as the ceramic heats up, so they need more care than your humble plastic pots.
~ Think about what plants you grow and where. Planting only drought tolerant plants in hot climates will truly help you win the battle of watering. Also, where possible, only grow plants indigenous to your area. You’ll save yourself a lot of heartache by doing so. A great idea is to go for a wander around your neighbourhood and observe what plants are thriving in your neighbour’s gardens and plant the same.
~ Be sure to give your pots and garden a regular feed of a liquid fertiliser. This will make for healthier plant structure and the stronger the plant, the less susceptible to disease it will be, meaning it needs less water than stressed plants. Munash Organics have you covered with our product Renew – head to our website for more info.
~ Your soil fertility and structure will play a massive part in how often you have to water. We literally cannot emphasize this enough. It’s crucial to get this bit right, and your water needs will be greatly affected. If you build up the nutrients in your soil via worm farming, composting and ensuring you mulch in the warmer seasons, you will water less frequently as the soil retains moisture more. It’s that simple. Again head to our website for information on our Rockdust and Revitalize to sort out a soil fertility regime. Your plants will thank you for it.