As water restrictions increase more and more gardeners are becoming water wise. Here are some of our helpful tips that will save you both time and money.
- Add organic matter to enhance your soil. Soils that are rich in organic matter absorb and hold moisture and nutrients more easily, while also containing the right structure for healthy root growth.
- Increase the soil’s water retention by mulching. Spread a thick layer of mulch over the soil, ideally 7.5cm or more thick.
- Provide shade and wind protection. Planting larger trees helps to provide much needed shade and wind protection, and prevents excessive transpiration of water from foliage and the evaporation of water from the soil.
- When planting, separate plants into separate groups depending on their different irrigation needs and by choosing the best microclimate you will enable your plants to grow robustly
- Choose native species that are best suited to the local rainfall levels or drought conditions. Plants such as grasses, legumes, certain perennials and succulents all contain features which enable them to keep growing even during the dryer periods.
- Use less fertiliser and water when a plant is not actively growing. Generally, it’s best to use fertiliser that is low in nitrogen (reducing soft, sappy shoot growth) and high in potassium or potash (encouraging sturdy root development).
- Reduce your lawn area. Some alternative for your garden may include ground covers, gravel or perhaps widen your existing garden beds.
- Collect and utilise grey water and rainwater for watering your garden.
- Compost your weeds. Weed regularly to prevent weeds from drawing the moisture away from your plants. Then by using your weeds as compost you help you plants retain moisture and improve the soil.
- Widen your garden beds. This then allows you to have more soil, increasing moisture retention and providing the plant roots with greater access to moisture rich soil. This is even more important for plants near walls, fences or under awnings. In these areas, only extremely drought hardy plants can survive with a bed less than 30cm wide.
- Choosing the best irrigation for your garden. Consider using products which provide your plants with water at a slower rate. Products such as drippers, shrublers, microsprays and seeping hoses are effective ways of providing water with limited wasted run off and evaporation.
- Reduce evaporation wastage. Practices such as watering your garden early in the morning or in the evening, watering only the soil, not the foliage (unless you have plants such as ferns that require high humidity), and understanding your plants water needs (some plants require very little water when dormant or in cool weather) are all ways to reduce evaporation wastage.