The summer has officially arrived, and along with it, the need to water our plants and our lawns. However, even though under the current regime, water charges have effectively been abolished, except for those households who are viewed as being ‘water wasters,’ it’s obvious, when it comes to keeping our gardens nourished, that we need to find a way to ensure our personal watering practices are neither wasteful nor inefficient.
Here are some useful tips…
* The best time to water is early in the morning before the temperature rises to ensure your plants have a decent amount of moisture to face the heat later in the day. However, try not to allow plants to get waterlogged as this can drown roots which need to breathe out through the soil.
* We all know that weeds can be annoying and ruin the overall look of a lush summer garden, and so, if you haven’t put preventative measures in place to suppress their growth in winter, and, let’s face it, who has the time, then you’re going to have great fun controlling those dandelions (or p**s-in-the-beds, as we called them as kids, because of their effectiveness as a diuretic), and those thistles, now the sun’s arrived. However, as someone who tries to make our garden a wildlife haven, (but also understands that dandelion roots are extremely difficult to dig out), I do like to try and preserve them to ensure the bumblebees and honeybees have a decent supply of food when they wake from hibernation. But, if you can’t tolerate dandelions and their long taproots, (which tend to regenerate), then dig them out as deeply as possible and then spray some white vinegar or apple cider vinegar down the hole, preferably during a hot day as the heat speeds up the withering process of any leftovers. Herbicides will also effectively kill off your weeds but the harmful chemicals cause damage to water, pets, humans and wildlife.
If you’re a Roscommon mammy who was lovingly gifted a hanging basket for Mother’s Day and wants to keep it looking fab all summer, here are some top tips…
* Make sure the basket has sufficient water drainage holes.
* Don’t over-water, but apply just enough until the liquid drains out through the holes.
* Only water when the top of the basket’s soil is dry to the touch.
* Provide nutrients using a controlled-release fertiliser – your local garden centre will be happy to provide advice regarding specific brands.