Drought and what to do to save your plants

There is a drought, no rain for weeks, expect hose pipe bans soon say the water companies. But what about gardeners? What can we do? The answer is to mulch.

The graphic says it all, there should be no bare soil in the garden as it dries out very quickly.

Mulches
If you make compost then use it as a mulch, it does not need to be perfect so not need to sieve.
The RHS say you can use:  wood chippings, processed conifer bark, well rotted manure, straw (for strawberries), spent hops (poisonous if eaten by dogs) and seaweed. Some of these will not be easy to get!

Cardboard could also work but not corrugated as there is concern about the toxicity of the glues used. Do not use old carpet or plastic sheet which can have very toxic breakdown products,

The basic advice is to cover the soil and water sparingly without using a hose pipe in areas where they are banned.

Watering
We also need to be aware of the best way to water plant see this page.

My grandfather was a master gardener. He was born in Australia but moved to Lincolnshire. He had a huge vegetable garden on superb light soil which was prone to drying out. For watering, he used a galvanised bucket and an old food tin, like a big baked bean tin although I doubt very much that he knew what they were. The idea was that you walked along the row of veg giving each plant half a tin of water at the roots. There was no mains water available, so his irrigation methods had to be frugal. It was a good lesson to learn. (CS)

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