After the driest winter in over 20 years, and our summer now hotting up, could we be heading for a water shortage? If you’re looking to bag clever ideas to drought-proof your garden, check out these five eco tips from peat free compost maker Dalefoot Composts.
1. Invest in a water butt now. Even better buy two! Securely attach them to your home’s downpipes to harvest precious, and free, rainwater from your roof. Why not erect some basic guttering around your garden shed or greenhouse to capture the rain from those too?
2. Try out bottle gardening! Cut the bottom off a large plastic bottle and bury it upside down, without its top, into the soil next to your prized plants. Fill the bottle with water and let the hydration reach the plants’ roots first.
3. Take a leaf out of early 20th century gardening books and use the natural ‘hygroscopic’ properties of wool to trap water. Dalefoot’s Wool Compost contains sheep’s wool and so does exactly that, keeping moist for longer and helping gardeners save water. The compost also contains bracken, and combined with wool, the all-natural ingredients release a steady stream of nitrogen and other must-have nutrients to feed the plants over the growing season, so no further feed is required. Genius!
4. Mulch, mulch, mulch – use either a peat free top dressing, like Dalefoot’s Lakeland Gold (which also busts troublesome clay soil), or place a layer of gravel or stones onto the surface of soil in pots and containers. This will stop water from evaporating. The deeper the mulch, the more effective it will be.
5. Waste not, want not - If it’s really dry, place a large saucer underneath garden pots when you water them, so there’s no wasted H2O. It’s also wise to place containers together in a shaded spot in the garden.
Environmental scientist Dr Jane Barker, who runs Dalefoot Composts, said: “The key to keeping plants blooming if the weather is dry, is to water once but well. By following these basic tips, you’d be amazed the difference it will make to parched plants.
“One of the reasons we use wool in our composts is the fantastic water-retention qualities it has. An added bonus is the wool is packed with nutrients like nitrogen which is perfect for feeding plants,” she added.