August is usually the month when a lot of us go on holiday and leave our gardens to fend for themselves

A little thought before you go on holiday and some tender loving care when you return will be enough to make sure that you can go away without worrying about all of your hard gardening work going to waste.

While you are away and your garden is left unattended, many of your plants may suffer due to lack of water. Make sure, before you go, you either arrange to have your containers and baskets watered or set up a system that can supply water on a regular basis to your tubs and pots.

Whatever the weather, it’s a good idea to get into the habit of saving water in your garden. You’ll be able to keep your plants alive in times of drought and if you have a water meter, it will save you money, too.


Water when the time is right
It’s best to water your garden in the cool of the evening or first thing in the morning if possible. Watering in the heat of the day is wasteful due to evaporation. When the sun is at its hottest around midday a significant amount of water will be lost to the air, before it can soak into the soil where it can be absorbed by the roots of your plants.

Use the right amount of water
Light sandy soils need watering more often than heavy soils. Clay-based soils can be watered less frequently but need more water. The Royal Horticultural Society’s rule of thumb is that for plants to keep growing, up to 24 litres per sq metre every seven to 10 days is sufficient. That’s about two-and-a-half 10 litre watering cans worth per sq metre.

Install a water butt
Installing at least one water butt to collect rainwater is a good start to a well-watered garden and perfect if you want to be eco friendly. It is easy to do, and if you have the room, attach them to drainpipes on the house, garage, shed and greenhouse near where your plants are growing.

Use grey water
You can use ‘grey’ water left over from washing the dishes and hand-washing. As long as it isn’t too contaminated with food scraps and grease, and doesn’t contain bleach, it is safe to use on plants. 

Mulch your flower beds
Putting down a three to 10cm-deep layer of mulch through your borders and between crops on the veg plot is one of the top garden water saving tips. It helps the soil retain moisture, keeping roots moist and limiting the amount of evaporation.

If you are growing your own fruit and veg and have trained fruit trees like espalier or cordon apples you need to prune them now. It will limit their growth and train them into shape – and they can be pruned again in the winter to remove any damaged or crowded branches and stimulate fresh growth. Some of the best varieties for training and for smaller gardens are – Cox’s Orange Pippin, an early ripener and widely regarded as one of the tastiest of all, Braeburn, ripens mid-season and is the UK’s favourite eating apple and Golden Delicious, which can be used as an eating apple and for cooking.



Tedd Walmsley

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Tedd Walmsley managing director of Live Magazines shares his views on the latest topics in media.

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