John Browning

saving water in the garden on the Adelaide Plains

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    feel like you're losing the battle to keep the garden watered?


    try these tips:


    instead of throwing out the leaves of trees and shrubs, (-and grass clippings etc), use them to mulch the soil around tender plants.


    The only exception are vegetable prunings and roots, which do need composting, (- and tomato plants which need removing completely as soon as you've harvested the last crop).


    Hanging baskets and pots can be mulched with pea straw and lucerne , but this will end up lining the nests of the local bird life.

    Try using a non organic mulch like the bags of washed pebbles sold in craft shops (and the bucket shops like Cheap As Cheaps etc). They are cheap, and they last forever. For non- decorative pots (such as the thyme,and oregano etc), keep your broken flower pots and use the teracotta shards over the soil surface.


    Avoid plastic pots (especially dark coloured ones) like the plague. They will cook your plants, if the sun hits them,. Transfer new purchases to porous pots asap.


    Sooner or later large lawns will cost you a great deal more than you can possibly imagine, in water bills, labour and broken hearts.

    Cover up as much bare soil as possible with native ground covers such as Myoporum Parviflorum, and prostrate grevilleas, hibbertia etc


    For vegie patches and flower beds dig in a subsurface weeper hose (its a porous hose made from recycled rubber particles).


    Instead of watering a little every day aim wherever possible to deep soak plants more occasionally, to establish deeper stronger roots.


    If you've got a rainwater tank, use it. Rainwater is much better than tap water for almost all you want to grow,especially seedlings.


    You can keep the water clean by fitting a leaf trap, and adding 1/4 cup of kero to stop the mozzies breeding.

    But don't listen to people who reckon you can drink the rainwater yourself, without boiling it first)


    Trees and shrubs in particular, should only get a really deep soak every couple of weeks for the first couple of summers. After that if they fail, they aren't going to make it through the next drought, whatever you do



    happy gardening


    JB :swoon:

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    Just so people don't panic, I work in a wholesale nursery and a large percentage of our pots are black or dark and in full sun. It is rare for us to lose plants, so as long as they are getting plenty of water, a black pot doesn't mean they are going to cook.

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    Thanks for all this info. It's a great help.

    I am growing veggies in pots and bags due to being in a rented house, but even that takes work in this desert heat!

    Am missing my allotment back in the UK but at the same time I can grow different things here.

    Oh and the issue I have with pots is that most plants like to have cool roots, so the black pots absorb the heat, but can be cooled by "clustering" other plants around them...or being in the shade.

    Edited by KathCats

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    Yeah. I have all my plants in pots too (mostly black lol). I get tons of fruit. I was very excited to get a mango that was beginning to get to a decent size this year, until this last heat wave, then it cooked. :-/ Next year I'll move it more into the shade and see if that helps.

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    Most of ours are in black pots also (hubby did the shopping that day).


    So far so good. Our orchids are doing well and we mostly ignore them :cute: My kind of plant :wink:


    Atm we are currently clearing one side garden of plants, shrubs and trees to work on turning it into a veggie and fruit tree patch over the winter. Saves on the watering it all this summer too. I've cut back and dug up 16 rose bushes so far and a few more to go. So many iris tubers also. They multiplied overnight it seems.

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