two ugly rain barrels (blue and grey) for catching roof water for the garden and a rotating composter (black) off to one side

Water wise

It might feel like things are finally drying up but, if you haven’t already, it’s time to think about water in your growing space. If you are new to growing, you’d be amazed at just how much water it takes to put food on our plates. It falls from the sky so the best thing to do is to collect it, it would be rude not to! 

A few top tips will keep you straight:

  • Grow veggies as close to where you collect water as possible to minimise travel by hand, hose or drip feed irrigation.
  • Soil with plenty of organic matter is key to managing extreme weather conditions.  Insufficient watering early in the growing season will mean some plants ‘bolt’, and go to seed early. 
  • When you have to water in dry periods avoid watering, where possible, in the middle of the day water will be lost to evaporation.
  • Take care to water the soil around the base of the plant to avoid wasting water.
  • Plant more herbs, such as lavender, rosemary, sage, and thyme. These plants can withstand dry periods and are great for bees.  
  • Resist the temptation to water flowers unless they start to wilt, and save water for your veggies. Overwatering prevents them from developing deep roots that can help them be more self-sufficient.
  • Mulch, mulch, mulch wherever and whenever possible.
  • If you are growing in pots or on a windowsill at home washing up water will do just fine.
  • In a communal setting, make sure that you all understand and follow a water-wise system for it to be effective.
  • Tell others. Combined small actions can make a big difference.

Registered charities meeting certain criteria can register for the water exemption scheme. Read more here. 

N.B In hot weather, there is an increased risk of legionnaires disease – read more here 


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