Water up­date: tips and de­vices to make life eas­ier

It’s our most pre­cious re­source in the gar­den, and there are many ways to make the most of every sin­gle drop. DERYN THORPE shows you how to go with the flow

Gardening Australia - - CONTENTS -

Dur­ing the mild days of spring, it’s easy to for­get about the hot days ahead. Many of us plant with aban­don, and aren’t nec­es­sar­ily equipped to fol­low through with sum­mer wa­ter­ing. Gar­den­ers who re­ceive am­ple rain over the warm months may get away with it, but the rest of us can jeop­ar­dise the time and money we’ve in­vested on new plants sim­ply by fail­ing to water them.

All plants need water while they’re get­ting es­tab­lished, even those la­belled as drought tol­er­ant. This is be­cause new plants have im­ma­ture root sys­tems that can only ac­cess water, oxy­gen and dis­solved min­er­als close to the plant. While a plant’s roots are es­tab­lish­ing, it may need quite fre­quent wa­ter­ing, de­pend­ing on the plant type, soil and tem­per­a­ture. And wa­ter­ing needs to con­tinue over sum­mer un­til rain ar­rives.

mak­ing it easy

Wa­ter­ing need not be a stress. The trick is to have a com­bi­na­tion of wa­ter­ing op­tions that suit you, and some de­cent gear to make the job en­joy­able and ef­fi­cient. Many gar­den­ers, for ex­am­ple, en­joy hand­wa­ter­ing, find­ing it a re­lax­ing, med­i­ta­tive ex­pe­ri­ence that lets them ap­pre­ci­ate the beau­ties of the gar­den and the par­tic­u­lar needs of every plant. How­ever, when we’re time poor, hand­wa­ter­ing can turn into a chore. Like­wise, ir­ri­ga­tion – it’s so con­ve­nient when it’s work­ing well, and so an­noy­ing when it’s not! At busy times, the frus­tra­tions of leak­ing taps and hose fit­tings, blocked and leak­ing retic­u­la­tion, and kink­ing hoses spoil the plea­sure of con­nect­ing with the gar­den.

Here are some ideas for us­ing water ef­fi­ciently, with a min­i­mum of fuss. Now is a good time to up­date your equip­ment, in­vest in water-sav­ing prod­ucts, and im­prove the mois­ture-hold­ing prop­er­ties of your soil so that the time you spend wa­ter­ing the gar­den be­comes some­thing to look for­ward to, and the water you use isn’t wasted.

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