How to water your garden in a heat wave: Save water while keeping plants alive.

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From roma tomato plants to lawns, much of what we grow in the city doesn’t survive a summer heat wave. London’s parks are dry, the green grass is now golden, and our gardens are not far behind.

But before you reach for the hose, ask yourself what would happen if you didn’t water your garden. Established trees that have been in the condition for a few years or more can usually hold their own when it comes to finding water thanks to a well-developed root system. Just think how often you see the millions of mature trees that line our streets and parks – the answer is never.

However, all plants in containers will need your best care as the mercury rises, and native plants in wetlands will need help as well.

How to drink water in a heat wave.

Almost all plants absorb most of their water through their root systems, so, if you need water, that’s where it should go. On soil or compost near the base of the plant and around the plant.

Watering the leaves as the sun hits them can cause them to burn, as the light is amplified by the water droplets.

How much you water the plant is also important. When the soil dries out, it becomes harder for water to reach the roots, instead it stays on the surface. It is better to water well and less frequently than sprinkling a little water every day.

A mature tomato plant needs at least two liters of water per day. Large plants and plants in containers are always extra thirsty.

You can make saucers or shallow holes in the ground around the plants using extra soil, and in containers (as long as there are holes in the bottom of the pot) you can fill the pot to the brim, before repotting. Allow to soak in.

Let the lawn go

Grass is hard stuff. If you have a lawn that is looking dry, it will recover when we get rain so resist the urge to water it.

If you want a place to sit outside and enjoy the sun, consider using gravel, wood chips or a permeable surface.

When to water

When you water is just as important as how you water. The best time is in the evening.

After the sun sets, less water evaporates before it has a chance to penetrate the soil, and the night gives the water time to soak up, giving the plant time to recharge before facing another day in the sun. Is.

Second best is early morning, but you should avoid watering in the middle of the day because most of your hard work will quickly evaporate. If your garden is a bit of a slug and snail festival, watering in the morning may work best as dampness and darkness are ideal feeding conditions for these garden gastropods.

Three ways to minimize water use in the garden

There are many ways to conserve water and minimize your use around the garden.

Mulch around plants

Organic matter is often neglected in the garden, but providing a thick layer of home or store-bought compost, well-rotted composted wood or bark chips, does wonders for water retention. .

Of course, this is best done in late fall or early winter, when summer is long forgotten, but adding it now will help seal in moisture.

Over time, adding organic matter can increase soil water-holding capacity by up to 60 percent. Incredible stuff.

Eat the hose

Hose pipes are notorious for wasting water. Most leak. Left on for just an hour, they use more water than the average person uses in an entire week – and it’s easy to be careless.

Using a watering can will force you to be more targeted with your watering and give you a better idea of ​​how much water you are using.

There’s a racing green watering can at Toast for £20, or a fiery orange one at Labor & Wait for £28.

Collecting water

If you have a place to collect water from your roof and you’re not doing it, you’ll be even more foolish.

Harnessing rain when we get it, and storing it, is like hacking the system. Why pay for it when you can get it for free?

If you’ve been put off by that blob of green plastic hiding in the corner of your garden, you can now buy some very slick watering bits, including this galvanized option from Garden Trading (£250) or a converted wine or whisky. Barrel from Celtic Timber (£195).

You can also reuse water for cooking and cleaning.