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Wise watering: Beat the drought

June 30th, 2007 by Karsten

There’s a good few things you can do before a drought sets in, to conserve water on your plot, and make your watering efforts last for longer.

The following 4 tips, 2 of which takes place in the preparation stages, will all help your plants to draw up more water.

Digging

The benefits of digging over you plot has been emphasised frequently here on Allotmenteer.co.uk. It breaks up the hard lumps in the soil, and so allows the roots of your plants to penetrate deeper into the ground. While the top 2 inches of soil gets dry and hot, usually the lower layers will remain cool and moist, so your plants will benefit being able to “tap into” this ressource.

Adding Organic Matter

This is one of the best ways to conserve water. While digging over your plot, adding garden compost, well rotted manure and other degradable organic matter will help to hold on to moisture. As you know I myself have dug in tonnes if manure over the past months - and it shows!

Weeding

Never forget that weeds need both water and nutrients too! Don’t leave them in to steal any available moisture that rightfully belongs to your plants. You should be weeding your crops regularly - always keeping the hoe within reach. You’ll be surprised what 10 minutes of weeding a day can do. I do this while waiting for my water butt to fill up.

Mulching

Mulching around established plants is a very good idea. It helps to contain the water, keep down weeds and add nutrients to the soil. Use garden compost, wormcastings if you’ve got a wormery, leafmould, manure or even woodchippings (this is better round fruit bushes). Never do mulching on dry ground - but wait till after it’s been raining or you’ve finished watering. Mulching dry ground is pointless.

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