Tips for maintaining your garden during the dry season

The experts from Kings Plant Barn are here to help 

For those in drought-stricken areas, how can we offset the effects of not being able to soak the entire garden?

Make sure you have water tanks installed to the downpipes of your roof (or garage roof) to catch any rainfall and use any extra water that would otherwise go down the drain. Use the water sparingly for plants that have been planted in the last year, these will need more frequent waterings than those that are established. Any older shrubs and trees may only need
a deep soak once a week.

Plants in pots will need more water, so if you can, plant into your garden as your plants will stay moist for longer. Otherwise, get a self-watering pot or vegepod, where any runoff water is reused when the plant needs it.  Don’t forget to use water crystals and granules, which absorb water to release it into the soil as it dries.

Which plants thrive in dry areas that we should be looking at planting?

Dry tolerant plants are the way to go but will still need watering now and again. Ground cover is the easiest solution to sloped or steep, dry areas. Try planting thyme, rosemary prostrata, gazanias
and star jasmine. For more height, try day lilies, dietes, lomandra and carex.

Dry-hardy shrubs and trees include upright rosemary, lavender, cordyline (cabbage trees), flax, olive trees and even feijoas and pōhutukawa.
Don’t forget succulents and cacti, which are great for a themed garden if you are looking at restyling outdoors.

Is there anything that can be done to prevent a vege garden from drying when we’re away and can’t use the watering can or get the neighbours to help out?

There are a few ways you can make sure the garden is kept well hydrated if you are away from home for a few days.  First, look at investing in a Gardenia water computer. These nifty battery powered gadgets are waterproof computerised timers, that when set up with an irrigation system will water the plants directly for a short, specific amount of time keeping your water bill low without wasting water.

To help lock in soil moisture, sprinkle SaturAid granular soil wetter around your plant’s roots. These will absorb water and slowly release it over time. Combine this with mulching your garden with straw and you will be able to get away with not watering your vege garden for up to a week!

What about the lawn? Is there any way we stop that from turning brown if we’re away for more than a few days?

Again, you will want to install a sprinkler system and sprinkle the same SaturAid over the lawn to help keep the soil moist for longer. Make sure that you don’t mow your lawn too low before
you leave, as this can reveal the ground to more sun exposure, drying the soil out faster. Once you get back you will only have to worry about mowing the lawn again, not having to reseed it!

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