I live in a very wet country so I don't need to water that often. I may water once or twice if we have a week long drought and it's particularly hot and dry. Or if I have seedlings that need regular water. That's a tip for you, if you live in a wet country (quite a few countries in Europe are!) you've no need to water that much as the rain will take care of things for you sufficiently enough.
If however you live in a particular hot country with a dry atmosphere then it may prove beneficial to make use of some simple tips on saving water.
A good rule of thumb to test if your plants need watering is to place your finger a few inches into the soil to test the levels of moisture. If the soil is moist a one-to-two inches down then you've no need to water as the soil is already nice and wet for the plants roots.
Below I've listed a few tips on ways to preserve water and also some simple ways on how to use water effectively and efficiently in your garden.
- Weed out competing, unwanted plants or sow more densely to reduce the amount of bare soil which will eventually help to create more shade spots helping to maintain moisture once more.
- Make good use of mulch in and between plants to help not only maintain moisture and reduce evaporation but to provide a slow steady flow of nutrients as the mulch starts to breakdown. Straw is best although you can use newspaper, shredded cardboard etc.
- Create mini moats (or small walls of earth in a circular pattern) in and around your plants to stop excess water flowing away from the plant when it rains or when you water.
- Water in the evening or early morning, directing the water at the roots of the plant not the leaves. “Little and often” is NOT advised as the water is likely to sit at the surface and be lost due to evaporation. Also, by watering heavily and irregularly the plant will develop deep long roots that will help it survive long droughts anyway.
- Water your veg only when they really need it. Peas and beans need more water as the flowers start to open and as the pods are swelling; leafy vegetables (Cabbages etc) need quite a bit of water but more especially from two weeks before they are to be cut; sweet corn and potatoes benefit most from water when the plant flowers, don't forget to water regularly as well as the vegetables may turn hard and sickly as a result of not watering; tomatoes shouldn't be allowed to dry out, especially as the fruits are forming as this can result in blossom end rot; give onions and leeks a weekly drenching during dry spells to prevent them going to seed early (Remember to remove any flower shoots as you see them to prevent the plant from going to seed!).
- Grey water is bad. (Waste water from the household) should never be used on edible crops. Ever. You can however recycle water used to boil vegetables in the kitchen. Allow the water to cool down and sprinkle it around your garden.