Water Smart Gardening

As we’re now in the heat of summer, most gardener’s thoughts are about how to best drought and heat proof their gardens and protect their plants, all whilst being as waterwise as possible.

Start with your Soil. 

  • Soil that is water retentive obviously means your plants will require less watering. Adding the old magic ingredient of organic matter in good, regular amounts to your garden beds will help your soil profile hold moisture in and around plants roots. Organic matter such as Rocky Point Cow Manure Plus, Garden Soil and ActivGrow Soil Improver are great choices.
  • Whether you have established gardens or are starting new gardens, organic matter such as Cow Manure Plus and ActivGrow Soil Improver can be continually added to add bulk organics, improve soil water holding capacity, create good soil structure, deliver nutrients to plants and encourage good soil microbial and fungal activity.
  • Mulching thickly will also provide a buffer for plant roots from the radiant heat of the sun, reduce soil moisture loss, suppress weeds, slow rainfall down when it occurs – reducing erosion issues and allowing for effective water infiltration into the soil and add nutrients to the soil as it breaks down. Rocky Point Sugar Cane Mulch is an ideal water saving super mulch!

Watering wisely

BES - WaterSmartWe know water is one of the most valuable resources on our planet but how do we make the most of it when we irrigate? Here are my top 3 tips

  1. Water either before 10am or after 4pm. This way there is less evaporation of water occurring whilst watering. Plants are less heat stressed at these times of the day, which means they will have a more efficient uptake of water without any issues.
  2. Deeper longer watering a few times per week is much better than short quick bursts every day. Deep watering encourages roots to grow further down into the soil profile and therefore have access to subsoil moisture making then more drought resistant.
  3. Consider installing a drip irrigation system. This is the most effective irrigation method, delivering water directly to the roots and without water drift and evaporation.

Re-wetting agents, Water crystals and Natural water savers

Stopping hydrophobia and storing water within your soil and mixes.
Re-wetting agents. These work in preventing soils and mixes becoming water repellent (hydrophobic). Hydrophobia is noticeable when you water and see the water pooling or running off the soil/potting mix surface and not absorbing down into the soil or potting mix profile. Using a re-wetting agent, helps to prevent and break down the waxy film that forms across the surface tension of soils and potting mixes when they have dried out and no longer allow water infiltration. Generally, they are applied by mixing up in water and applying with a watering can or applied as a granule and watered in.

Water crystals. These granules swell up when exposed to water and turn to a jelly like substance. The job of water crystals is to hold moisture in and around the root systems of your plants. These are generally applied in a dry form and mixed throughout the potting mix or the soil profile at planting.

Natural water savers. Look out for products that contain coir (or coconut) chips as these also work as a natural wetting agent ingredient in potting mixes. Like little sponges, the chips soak up water, but allow the soil to continue to drain freely. This means your plant roots are getting soggy, but there is moisture available to them when they need it.

Australian premium potting mixes will already likely have some form of wetting agent (chemical or natural) in them from the very start.

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