The Indian summer is already here. You have to wake up very early in the morning to catch some pleasant breeze before the actual sunrise. Long hot summer affects people as well as animals and our biodiversity. Our plants may dry if we don’t water them enough. It’s important to save water at our homes and gardens simply because water is such a precious resource. Here are some tips how we can more efficiently water the plants and use less water.
- Check the soil
Adding the organic matter to the soil improves its structure, which helps it to retain moisture. If you start composting at home you will not only eliminate 50 -70% of your waste at home but you will also add a valuable water saving resource. Also, mulching the flowerbeds and around the base of shrubs and trees in spring, prevents moisture from evaporating during dry spells.
- Water at the right time
Research shows that the timing of “when you water the plants” has a significant effect on plant growth. The best time is early in the morning because watering gives a plant a good supply of water to beat the heat during the day. . To check if you need to water or not, look at the soil about a spade-deep down. If it’s damp, it’s fine; if it’s dry, it’s time to water. If you have clay soil, it might feel damp whether it’s irrigated or not and sandy soil can feel dry, even if it has water in it. If this is the case, watch your plants and when they start to show signs of water stress – when leaves change position or get darker – note how the soil looks and feels. This way you can get more of an idea of what your soil is like when it has too little water.
- Save and reuse water whenever you can
- Save your cooking water – if you steam or boil vegetables save the water rather than tipping it down the sink! It is full of nutrients and when cooled, makes a free fertiliser for watering your plants.
- Install the water thank to catch the rainwater, especially during the monsoon.
- Choose your plant container carefully
Different materials heat up quickly or lose moisture due, so you have to think about your pot location before making a final decision. For example metal heats heat up quickly and are not good for a hot climate. Clay pots and glazed pots are probably better option to go with it.
On a hot day up to 70% of water can evaporate from the soil if you don’t have a protective layer on the top. Mulch is one of the best moisture holding strategies you can employ.
6. Plant flowers that need less water
Some plants need less water than others to grow; lavender, palms, mimosa and verbena, to name a few.
7. Use the best watering techniques for your plants
- Sprinklers: best used to water the lawn and soak unplanted areas, sprinklers have great coverage but you can’t target specific sections of your garden with them.
Hoses and watering cans: labour intensive but precise, use these to water around plant bases beneath the leaves, and leave the surrounding soil dry. This limits weed growth and means all the water goes where it is needed.
• Seep hoses: these allow water to seep out of holes in the hose. They can be buried under soil or mulch, which avoids evaporation. They allow you to water established plants in rows, but are best used on heavy soil as water spreads further sideways, covering more than it would on lighter soils.
Katja Polc, member of Vatavaran team