Six smart ways to save water in your vegetable garden – TimesLIVE

six-smart-ways-to-save-water-in-your-vegetable-garden-–-timeslive

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Water not only provides liquid for our plants to drink, it also feeds them. Water assists in breaking down organic matter into soluble nutrients, which it carries into plants via the roots.That said, water is a precious resource so it is important to make every drop count.Follow these six tips to not only save water in your vegetable garden, but also save money on your water bills: 1. WATER DEEPLY LESS OFTENIt is best to water early in the morning or after sunset to reduce evaporation, and to water deeply less often. Shallow watering causes roots to grow up towards the surface in search of moisture, weakening the plant.A thorough soaking every four to five days on light, sandy soils and every seven to 10 days on heavier soils is a general guide during dry periods. During hot weather, the period between watering should be shortened. During hot, dry weather, plants close their stomata (breathing pores on leaves) to minimise moisture loss. If plants look wilted in the middle of the day, don’t worry: they’re protecting themselves by conserving moisture. However, if they’re wilted in the evening, it’s time to water.Keep in mind that containers dry out more quickly than garden beds so get into the habit of checking them daily.2. AIM FOR THE ROOTSDrip irrigation and soaker hoses deliver water to the roots of plants, wasting very little water. They also prevent soil from splashing onto the leaves, minimising the risk of spreading soil-borne disease.Setting up a drip irrigation system needn’t be expensive. You can make a simple one by recycling old hoses. Recycled plastic bottles also make a simple yet effective irrigation system. Using a heated metal skewer, punch a few holes in the neck and shoulders of a 2l plastic bottle, leaving the cap on. Cut off the bottom of the bottle. Bury the cap end near the roots, with the cut end just above the surface. To water, fill the bottle and it will slowly seep out through the holes, delivering water directly to the roots.
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