Weathering a dry garden
Don’t let your winter garden dry out in the drought, writes Robyn Willis
It’s not only farming areas that are looking a little dry right now. The dry and warm weather experienced across the state is taking its toll on home gardens.
While the stakes may not be as high as they are for our struggling farmers, looking after your garden right now could pay off over the next year or two.
Horticulture consultant to Yates Angie Thomas says the dry conditions are expected to last another six to nine months so now is the time to prepare your garden.
Angie says to use a handheld hose or a sprinkler but take your time to go in deep.
“Do it once or twice a week but give it a really good soak so that you penetrate that top 2cm of soil,” she says.
Deep watering will hydrate the plant and encourage it to send roots deeper, which will reduce exposure to the heat.
Watering the lawn will also give your grass a fighting chance against the weeds.
Angie says it doesn’t matter if it’s homemade compost or a store-bought product, any organic matter will be good for your garden right now.
“Add as much organic matter to the soil as possible, even though it’s dry,” she says.
“It acts like a moisture sponge so that when you water or it rains, the soil will be better able to hold on to it.”
Use whatever organic material you have handy from lucerne hay and sugar cane mulch and apply in a thick layer to the garden.
“It will protect the soil and your plants from the baking sun and wind,” Angie says.
They have a tendency to dry out quickly anyway but Angie says they need even more attention in these tough conditions.
“Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security that they don’t need so much water because it’s winter,” she says.