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Effective watering

Effective watering

With temperatures on the rise, effective watering is increasingly important so that the plants get the right amount of water with as little waste as possible. Here's some tips:

  1. Water in the morning or the evening so that the water soaks into the soil and the plants have the opportunity to absorb it. 

  2. For borders, try to water thoroughly but less frequently so that the water soaks deep into the soil.  If you water your borders little and often, it'll only reach the soil surface and the plants’ roots will stay shallow to access the moisture. This makes you plants more vulnerable to drying out in hot, dry periods and less hardy during winter when roots deep in the soil get more protection.

  3. Containers dry out quickly in the heat, so they need watering regularly in hot weather.  A layer of decorative pebbles or gravel covering the surface of the compost can help to retain moisture. When planting hanging baskets, mix in some water-retaining granules with the compost. These soak up water and release it gradually into the compost to stay moist longer, even in hot, dry periods.

  4. Although drought is not a particular problem in East Lothian, gardens with sandy soil will dry out quickly and you might want to consider Mediterranean plants like Lavender, Rosemary and Cistus which are tolerant of dry conditions.

  5. When growing very thirsty vegetables like courgettes, provide a reservoir next to each plant. Cut a plastic water bottle or milk container in half, remove the cap and bury the top half upside down in the ground next to each plant (ideally, do this when first sowing the seeds or planting the seedlings). To water the plants, fill the reservoir with water, and it will soak out underground, delivering water right to the plant's roots.

  6. One of the best long-term ways to make your garden drought-resistant is to improve the soil. Adding organic material like compost or leafmould improves soil structure, helping heavy soils drain better and lighter soils retain moisture for longer. The simplest way to do this is to mulch beds with a 5cm (2in) layer of compost, manure or leafmould in autumn and allow worms and other soil organisms to work it into the soil.

  7. Don’t water lawns in short heatwaves. Although the grass may go brown and look dead, it will bounce back quickly as soon as more rain comes. 

You'll find your essential watering items at Merryhatton, either instore or online at

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