1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. November Photo Comp is now open with a great new theme.! Come and join in.
    Dismiss Notice

Lack of rainfall and the garden.

Discussion in 'General Gardening Discussion' started by Mike Allen, Jun 13, 2018.

  1. Mike Allen

    Mike Allen Gardener

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2014
    Messages:
    498
    Gender:
    Male
    Ratings:
    +886
    Gardeners vary in their methods of coping with dry spells that could increase due to lack of rainfall. After cultivating the soil, many gardeners simply now and then remove any weeds. Gradually the soil becomes compacted. It might look nice and clean and tidy and flat. This is of little help to the plant. Please. I am not teaching Granny how to suck eggs, or preach to the converted. We get many newcomers to gardening using the forum, so it's these folk I am trying to help.
    An purposeful act in the garden is to keep the soil open and light. Using a Dutch Hoe with te blade turned down, a gentle chiseling motion will finely btrak the soil surface. This help to areate. Now if water is short. Give the plant a good soaking and then grass mowing can be used as a mulch. Not alot of moisture will come about but every little helps. Also having gone through the aforementioned, larger areas can be similaryly treated but perhaps using black polythene. To prove the point. Lay a black bin liner down overnight and next morning lift and see the affect.
    Another emergency helper is. Recycling household waste water. I know that here inthe UK, this has been suggested by the authorities. OK it's water, but when it's water from the washing machine etc, there might be harmful chemicals. Please check out this link. http://vric.ucdavis.edu/pdf/fertilization_Householdwastewater.pdf

    I hope this helps.
     
    • Like Like x 4
    • Gail_68

      Gail_68 Guest

      Ratings:
      +0
      Hi @Mike Allen good info mate :dbgrtmb: but having a gravelled garden does help regarding weed plucking just now and again and as long as the water bill is payed [​IMG]...they will get [​IMG] regular with clean water ….I've got enough on you know mate [​IMG] with out recycling my [​IMG] water [​IMG]
       
      • Friendly Friendly x 1
      • Clare G

        Clare G Super Gardener

        Joined:
        Mar 29, 2017
        Messages:
        292
        Gender:
        Female
        Location:
        London UK
        Ratings:
        +729
        Yes, I quite agree about the hoeing. I was reading a book by Bob Flowerdew recently in which he referred to this as creating a 'dust mulch.'

        I also keep a couple of watering cans just outside the back door, plus a bowl under the nearby kitchen sink for catching the water from the hot top as that heats up, and also for washing vegetables. The bowl gets emptied into one of the watering cans, all ready for use in the garden. Water's metered here so that's an incentive to economy.

        Probably everyone here's got a rainwater butt, if not that's an obvious thing to do and you can probably get a reduced-price one delivered directly to you, via your local council or water company.
         
        • Like Like x 2
        • Verdun

          Verdun Passionate gardener

          Joined:
          Oct 16, 2012
          Messages:
          4,606
          Gender:
          Male
          Location:
          West Cornwall
          Ratings:
          +10,003
          One of the very best ways of growing plants healthily is to grow those that suit your own conditions. Ok, we all want to grow all kinds of plants from all over the world, but if we grow mostly plants to suit then watering and rainfall are not such a problem

          Here, my front garden has very dry soil in the main.....apart from one border which has heavier soil etc.....so I grow lots of med type plants.......and there are stacks to choose from. They look right and thrive. Whenever I want to plant something a little more demanding then at planting time plenty of water holding material is added; plus a thick annual mulch. Works well for me, water shortage or not.

          Back garden is different but the soil is deep, rich and water retentive. Mulching again though is a great help

          Mike, have to disagree about lawn mowings. Did this a few years back and they created a weedy soil surface. Better to add to the compost heap. Agree though about hoeing, regular hoeing. Esp in veg patch but anywhere really. Has to be done on a warm, ideally hot, dry day though :)
           
          • Like Like x 1
          • Friendly Friendly x 1
          • JWK

            JWK Gardener

            Joined:
            Jun 3, 2008
            Messages:
            19,509
            Gender:
            Male
            Location:
            Surrey
            Ratings:
            +19,883
            With my dry light chalky soil I find lots of flints, these make a great stone mulch and I pack them around plants that need a moist soil. I also use grass mowings but only early in the year before any of the grasses have flowered so there are no weed seeds in there.
             
            • Informative Informative x 1
            • Useful Useful x 1
            • Verdun

              Verdun Passionate gardener

              Joined:
              Oct 16, 2012
              Messages:
              4,606
              Gender:
              Male
              Location:
              West Cornwall
              Ratings:
              +10,003
              It is so funny to me that grit, gravel, sand,etc. is recommended to deter snails etc. On my way to the beach snails and slugs often can be seen crossing the sand. I have some gravel paths and, similarly, these pests travel across them.
              Oddly, gritty materials seem to help in pots if used in conjunction with copper tape. For precious plants copper piping is effective but it needs to be clean and free from soil :)
               
              • Like Like x 1
              • Agree Agree x 1
              • Hollie333

                Hollie333 Apprentice Gardener

                Joined:
                Jun 12, 2018
                Messages:
                5
                Gender:
                Female
                Ratings:
                +14
                With the hoeing, is that just a cm or so beneath the surface, cutting the stems of annual weeds? So is the idea that the fine tilth on top helps aerate? Doesn't it compact the soil below it? I don't really understand.... I'm new to gardening, so would appreciate the wisdom!

                Anyone got any thought on no-dig mulching to help retain moisture & promote natural aeration by bugs and beasties? I didn't get round to it this winter just gone, but I'm going to give it a go this year.

                Love the idea of using the stones around the base of plants, will give that a go this weekend. Much prettier than black polythene!

                P.S copper and snails - look it up on youtube. plenty of videos showing the little blighters travelling straight across pennies, copper strips etc. Interesting to hear the same about gravel/sand. I stick with my 10:30pm slug watch - its oddly satisfying to pop out with my husband and a head torch, though the neighbours must think we are mad!
                 
                • Like Like x 3
                • Verdun

                  Verdun Passionate gardener

                  Joined:
                  Oct 16, 2012
                  Messages:
                  4,606
                  Gender:
                  Male
                  Location:
                  West Cornwall
                  Ratings:
                  +10,003
                  Hiya Hollie
                  Hoeing means using a sharp tool to cleanly sever top growth of weeds. It also creates a thin dry surface to help keep soil moist

                  No dig is what I do. Initially turn soil deeply and dig in bulky matter; thereafter its all about mulching. For me, its about applying as thickly as poss and in the autumn. It creates, over time, a humus rich soil in the top levels perfect for most plants.

                  Stones around plants tend to harbour snails, woodlice, ants etc. so not for me. No 100% solution

                  The copper piping must be CLEAN......a friend of mine had a valuable old fashioned violet she cherished but was constantly chewed by snails etc. Copper pipe circle saved the plant.
                  Ha ha.....neighbours must think me mad too with my torch at night. :snorky:
                   
                  • Like Like x 2
                  • Friendly Friendly x 1
                  • Hollie333

                    Hollie333 Apprentice Gardener

                    Joined:
                    Jun 12, 2018
                    Messages:
                    5
                    Gender:
                    Female
                    Ratings:
                    +14
                    Thanks Verdun - I'd just been hand pulling weeds out of the borders previously. I just bought myself a hand hoe, and I haven't even had it out of the packaging because I wasn't sure how I should be using it, but I'll give it a go this afternoon now I know what I'm meant to achieve with it.

                    I have some copper piping in the garden for the rainwater butt, so I might do some experiments with this evening's slug haul to see what happens.
                     
                    • Like Like x 1
                    • Gail_68

                      Gail_68 Guest

                      Ratings:
                      +0
                      Verdun I agree with you on this...it's a load of rubbish about them not liking gravel, they travel on ours and the slabs carry the trails to prove it :)
                       
                    • Gail_68

                      Gail_68 Guest

                      Ratings:
                      +0
                      Just admit it Hollie your snooping :loll:
                       
                    • martin-f

                      martin-f Plant Hardiness Zone 8b

                      Joined:
                      Mar 15, 2015
                      Messages:
                      3,302
                      Gender:
                      Male
                      Location:
                      Sheffield
                      Ratings:
                      +10,116
                      Depending on the size of your garden its not expensive to put lights round, it cost me about £90, next door will stop thinking your mad and will be envious :).
                      IMG_1081.JPG
                       
                      • Like Like x 3
                      • Funny Funny x 1
                      • Gail_68

                        Gail_68 Guest

                        Ratings:
                        +0
                        Sound advice Martin :thumbsup:...we must encourage lights [​IMG]
                         
                        • Like Like x 1
                        • Mike Allen

                          Mike Allen Gardener

                          Joined:
                          Jan 4, 2014
                          Messages:
                          498
                          Gender:
                          Male
                          Ratings:
                          +886
                          No problems mate. My mention of using mowings is because, if the soil is tilthed and watered, the covered with the mowings. The natural cycle of events is. The mowings offer a barier to the sun and heat rays, whilst down below, there is a constant exchange going on. The mowings are gradually rotting and giving off some moisure. The soil is absorbing this and in return recycles the moisture. The plant roots take their share. I agree. Your location is often called the the cornish riveiera etc. So understandably you might plant mediterranium loke. Howevre the benefits od mowings here can an do help to conserve moisture. Late in the season the mowings can be mulched or removed. However, their purpose has paid off. The plant has survived and ik, a few weeds, so what, hoe them out.
                           
                          • Agree Agree x 1
                          • Friendly Friendly x 1
                          • shiney

                            shiney President, Grumpy Old Men's Club Staff Member

                            Joined:
                            Jul 3, 2006
                            Messages:
                            38,943
                            Gender:
                            Male
                            Occupation:
                            Retired - Last Century!!!
                            Location:
                            Herts/Essex border. Zone 8b
                            Ratings:
                            +62,302
                            I know that @ARMANDII wouldn't agree :nonofinger: :snorky:

                            Everyone has their own best way of coping with dry spells. We are in the dryest area of the country and easily go weeks (last year was four months :rolleyespink:) without rain. We have five rain barrels but they aren't much use without rain!!!

                            Loads of compost spread each year on the soil helps a lot. Hoeing is not possible in a lot of the garden (not enough gaps to get a hoe in to) and physically difficult for me, anyway. :noidea:

                            I use a sprinkler on the flower beds only when absolutely necessary and on the veggies more regularly but veggies are grown through a membrane so that helps a lot. :blue thumb:
                             
                            • Like Like x 3
                            • Agree Agree x 1

                            Share This Page