With hose-pipe bans a week away in Auckland, we are hoping that Mother Nature will soon take over chief irrigation responsibilities but there are a few things you can do to keep your garden in good shape over the coming months.
When rain is forecast, create a little catchment area using watering cans, large saucepans and bowls or any trugs, empty drums or big storage containers you have around the house.
When it does rain, pop your indoor plants outside for a good drink!
Re-use water from the kitchen, such as cooled water from boiling an egg or your vegetables (the nutrient rich water is perfect for plants).
Keep a bucket handy to catch tap water when you’re waiting for the shower to heat, or preparing to do the washing up.
Be smart with the water you’ve got ...
- check the soil moisture in different areas of your garden as some will be need more than others (plunge your finger into the ground to knuckle height or use a moisture meter, less than $20 from your local plant centre).
- figure out which of your plants won’t mind being treated mean for a while such as flaxes, grasses and established shrubs.
- water key zones in the evening or early morning to minimise evaporation - if rain is on the horizon, delay an evening watering until morning just in case we get an overnight downpour.
- use a seaweed extract in your watering can to help plants with water retention (most garden centres these days sell seaweed-based plant tonics such as Seasol or Yates’ Thrive range)
- sprinkle water crystals through key garden zones to maximise water retention. When buying potting soil, look for bags that include water-storage crystals in the mix.
Weed your garden regularly as they compete fiercely with your other plants for water!
Refresh or top up your mulch - it’s fantastic for keeping evaporation to a minimum on those crazy rain/sun rain/sun days.
Add compost, worm castings, mulch and other natural organic matter to your soil. The more organic matter it has, the more water and nutrients it will be able to hold.
Our next blog will focus on how to care for plants during water restrictions and also how to select plants that can cope with variations in water supply. Now for the rain-dancing.