Monty Don reveals he came into gardening 'through soil'
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Watering your garden can become very costly, particularly during heatwaves over the summer months. Water is a precious resource and supplies in the UK are under pressure from the effects of climate change, population increase and the need to protect the environment, such as river levels for wildlife. But how exactly can you save water for your garden?
How to save water for your garden
One of the most economical ways to save money on your water bills is to save rainwater using a water butt.
Butts are really easy to attach to your house, shed, garage or any other garden building that has a gutter and a downpipe.
Having a water butt can save around 24,000 litres of water from an average house roof each year.
Water butts are available in many shapes and sizes and can often have a tap on them to allow for filling your watering can easily.
You should keep your water butt well-covered to prevent debris from falling in or algae, slime and scum forming.
However, if this should happen, a few drops of biological rainwater treatment should keep the water clean for up to five months.
Water at the right time
In Britain, there tends to be a lot of rainfall during the year, but during the warmer months, your garden may need additional watering.
But you should take care not to overwater your garden as it can do more damage than you need to.
To check if you need to water or not, look at the soil about a spade-deep down.
If the soil is damp, you do not need to water the garden, but if it is dry you need to water your garden.
You should also make sure to water during cooler times of the day to have the maximum impact, as watering when the sun is at its highest may lead to water evaporating before it has a chance to nourish your plants.
Care for your soil
Taking extra steps to look after your soil will help to reduce your water bill.
To do this you should add organic matter to the soil to improve its structure, which will help it to retain moisture.
Preparing your soil in the autumn or winter months can also help you to reduce the loss of moisture.
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Plant flowers which require less water
Some plants need less water than others.
These types of plants include lavender, palms, mimosa and verbena.
You can damage your plant if you overwater it, and it may begin to show signs of water stress, whereby leaves change position or get darker.
You should also try to add mulch to your flowerbeds, hanging baskets and around the base of shrubs and trees during the spring period as it will help to prevent moisture from evaporating during dry spells.
You can also add water-retentive granules or gel to compost to help keep moisture in.
If you apply a mulch such as bark chippings, the best time to do so would be in late winter to help lock in water.
Make sure to keep on top of weeds because they will absorb water too, taking it from your plants.
Weeds are technically plants which grow in the wrong place.
You will never be able to stop weeds from growing completely, but there are ways you can prevent many from popping up, including avoiding bare patches of soil.
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