Gardening, Gary, Grow Your Own, How To, Plants, Watering

 

Most of your plants need regular watering to survive, and the hotter it gets the more water they need. Watering big gardens and allotments can become a chore that takes time away from your other garden maintenance. Irrigation has been used to water large areas since the ancient Egyptians dug channels through their fields to divert river water. Luckily, you have a few more options available to you beyond diverting rivers. 

Irrigation types 

Irrigation works by supplying controlled amounts of water to your plants at set times, and there are a lot of ways you can do this. The method that is right for you will depend on how much sun your garden gets and if your plants have similar or different watering requirements

 

Sprinklers 

 

Easy to install and simple to maintain, the sprinkler system replicates rainfall by supplying water from above the plant. This is an easy way to water a large garden and if you get a simple lawn sprinkler can be one of the cheapest. There are advantages and disadvantages to a sprinkler system, and its usefulness will depend on your need: 

 

Advantages Disadvantages 
Covers a large areaCan cause overwatering
Can be automatedProne to disruption from wind
Can be used anywhereSome systems can be expensive to install
Low maintenanceNot the best system if you have different watering requirements

Soaker hose

 

These hoses are made of porous materials and release small amounts of water directly into the soil. More often used in vegetable patches and under hedges, this method of above-ground irrigation might be the best option for you if you want to conserve water. 

AdvantagesDisadvantages 
Conserves water Requires regular maintenance
Conserves soilTime-consuming initial installation 
Can be automated Low output
Waters soil directlyLimited coverage 

Drip Line Irrigation

 

Drip line irrigation is similar to a soaker hose but allows you more control over how much certain parts of your garden get watered. These systems can be placed at ground level or put over your plants if a more advanced line and nozzle system are used making it a good irrigation system for hanging baskets.

Advantages Disadvantages 
Conserves waterTime-consuming set up
Adjustable output Can be prone to clogging 
Long lifespanSlower than other systems 
Can be automated More advanced systems can have a big setup cost

 

Self-watering containers

 

These specialized containers are a great solution to keeping your plants watered if you are away for a short trip. These pots  have an upper pot that holds the soil and plant, while a lower reservoir holds the water and feeds it to the soil. Usually, these pots hold enough water for a few days, depending on the weather and evaporation rate – all you need to do is refill the reservoir. 

Tree bags 

Trees and shrubs need slow, deep watering to become established. Tree watering bags are put around the base of the tree and filled with water where they will slowly release it into the soil surrounding the rootball. They are an inexpensive and water-saving way of establishing 

Automate your system 

 

If you are going on holiday, are away a lot or want to spend time on other gardening jobs then automating your watering is one of the best things you can do. Setting up a basic automated system is simple and can be done in a few steps, all you need is a timer that attaches to your outdoor tap – this can be mains or solar-powered.

  1. Make sure your hose pipes and sprinklers are set up so you have total coverage of your garden 
  2. Attach your timer or regulator to your water source and set the times
  3. Connect everything together with
  4. Do a test run 
  5. Enjoy

 

Once you have the right irrigation set up you will find yourself with much more time to enjoy your garden and get the rest of your jobs done, making this a must-do job for the serious gardener.

Gardening, Watering

Your garden runs on water. Flowers need it, ponds need it, and water features need it. But how do you keep your garden supplied and avoid racking up big water bills? Store rainwater.  

The Benefit Of Storing Rainwater

Why store rainwater? 

Control your own supply

Unpredictable weather, especially in the UK, can make it hard to always have water when you need it. Being able to store rainwater throughout the year means you can control your own supply. You won’t have to rely on the tap or be restricted by hosepipe bans in the summer when water companies may struggle to supply. Hotter summers are only going to become more likely as we move further into the climate emergency, so storing rainwater is a great way to keep your garden irrigated.  

Save money on water bills

By watering your garden from the tap you can add a large amount of excess water to your bill. This need not be the case if you are able to store rainwater for your garden and get independence from the tap. 

Why is rainwater better than tap? 

Tap water is rainwater that has been treated to make it safe for drinking. The same processes that make water safe to drink however also remove many benefits that water has for our plants.

Benefits of Storing Rainwater

  1. Rainwater is 100% soft water. It’s free from salts and chemicals that are found in drinking water. The salts in tap water can build up in your soil and are tough on the roots of plants and affect their growth. Rainwater doesn’t have this effect and will create a better growing environment for your plants 
  2. Rainwater is slightly acidic – most organically grown plants prefer slightly acidic soil with pH levels between 5.5 and 6.5 which is slightly on the acidic side. Luckily rainwater fits into this range, making it ideal for almost any plant you want to grow, almost as if nature intended it that way.  
  3. Stored rainwater contains some organic matter – If collected from your rooftop or greenhouse guttering,  rainwater will contain traces of organic material. This will enrich the water with nutrients and improve your soil similarly to how fertilizer does
  4. Rain contains nitrates—  Nitrogen is one of the three key nutrients that plants need to thrive. It is necessary for the development of lush foliage, but it’s not usually absorbable by plants. Unless broken down into nitrates which they can only absorb from the soil, so watering with nitrate-rich water is key to lush growth 

How to store rainwater 

Collecting and storing rainwater is as simple as diverting water from your guttering to a tank or waterbutt. How you do this is up to you, but there are some common tactics: 

Divert water from your downpipe – If your waterbutt isn’t directly under an outflow from your downpipe, then consider attaching a diverter to your downpipe, or fix guttering to your greenhouse or shed and divert it. However you choose to divert water it is definitely worth doing, and waterbutts come in all shapes, sizes and designs which means you are sure to find something to fit into your garden. 

 

Gardening, Gardening & Landscaping, Gardens

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a big impact on the horticultural industry across the globe, and here in the UK, the biggest blow has been felt by the garden centres and nurseries who saw their supply chains shut down overnight.  It also saw the closure of the Chelsea flower show and the cancellation of the Britain In Bloom competition. With all this going on you’d think it would be an empty year for plant lovers across the county, but not quite – one thing we’ve learned about gardeners this year is that they always find a way. 

2020 has seen a coming together of gardeners across the country who have been using the internet to show off their outdoor spaces and wow everyone with their designs – here are some of our favourites.

Flower Show

Virtual Chelsea Flower Show

Despite going digital in 2020, fans of the flower show still got a busy schedule of things to look forward to this year with interviews and panels still happening virtually, but the most interesting part was the garden tours led by some of the biggest names in horticulture. It’s your chance to look round the gardens of Alan Titchmarsh and Monty Don to get some inspiration from the greats. 

Click one of the below to enjoy a virtual highlight from the Chelsea Flower Show:

Adam Frost Garden Tour

Lee Connely, Attracting Wildlife

Diarmuid Gavin, Garden Tour

Tom Massey, Garden Meadow

The National Trust

The National Trust has also been opening its doors to digital visitors this year, so that even though you may have been in lockdown you can still experience the great gardens of British heritage.  There isn’t a complete list of these beautiful panoramas available, but we’ve put together some of our favourites.

Click one of the below to enjoy a virtual tour of a National Trust site:

Hidcote

Giant’s Causeway

Sissinghurst Castle

Gardens Illustrated 

This mainstay of the gardeners coffee table has taken the opportunity to shine a light on some great garden design, This series of tours takes a deep dive into the history and design of the gardens it showcases. The whole list can be found here.

Around the World

There are great gardens all around the world, and a few of them are opening up their gardens to the internet, giving you the chance to see some of the world’s best gardens without leaving your living room.

Click one of the below to enjoy a virtual tour of a garden from around the world:

Monet’s Garden, France

Chicago Botanic Garden, U.S

Keukenhof, Holland

Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, Hawaii

Allotment, Gardening, Grow Your Own, Organic, Planting, Vegetables

July is the first month of the year where you get a really bountiful harvest. Loads of fruit and veg are ready to harvest this month, and there’s even more ready to be planted. Here is our at a glance guide to your allotment this month.

harvest of vegetables 

Harvesting 

  • Aubergines
  • Beetroot
  • Broad beans
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Chillies and peppers
  • Courgettes
  • Florence fennel
  • French beans
  • Garlic
  • Globe artichokes
  • Kohl rabi
  • Leaf beet
  • Marrows
  • Onions
  • Oriental mustards
  • Peas
  • Potatoes
  • Rhubarb
  • Runner beans
  • Shallots
  • Spinach
  • Turnips
  • Celery
  • Chicory
  • Cucumbers
  • Lettuces
  • Radishes
  • Rocket
  • Salad leaves
  • Spring onions

Sowing

  • Peas
  • Cabbage
  • Fennel 
  • Kohlrabi
  • Last Beetroot 

Planting

  • Spinach 
  • Leeks
  • Kale
  • Cauliflower 
  • Sprouting Broccoli 
  • Endives
  • Chickory 
  • Spring onions 

General Jobs

  • Weed regularly
  •  Mulch to conserve moisture
  • Feed tomatoes and peppers
  • Net against birds
  • Pinch out tomato shoots

Pests and Diseases

Aphids  – spraying your brassicas with diluted washing up liquid will deter them from landing on your crops. You can buy insecticides if you prefer, including a fatty acid soap to spray on the plants.

Carrot fly –   a particular problem between May and September when female flies lay their eggs the best defence to cover plants with horticultural fleece or place two-foot high barriers around the plants.

Cabbage root fly– attacking the roots of brassicas, these flies can cause a lot of damage to your plants. Female flies lay the eggs on the surface of the soil next to the stem of the plant. Place a piece of carpet (or cardboard or fleece) around the base of the plant to create a collar, this will stop the flies from laying their eggs on the soil.