It feels like Spring has finally sprung! Last week Britain flooded outside to soak up the beautiful sunshine and it was clear people are beginning to make the most of their office gardens, parks, and local green spaces. What better way to celebrate this warmer weather than with the arrival of National Gardening Week! Keen gardeners will be spending a lot of time outdoors so here are some of our top tips when it comes to saving water and being a sustainable gardener.
Back to Basics
There are lots of gadgets and gizmos to water plants these days, but tools such as hosepipes and sprinklers require a lot of water supply and often use much more water than is actually necessary. We recommend going back to the basics and use a watering can. Watering cans enable you to water your plants precisely. You can control the amount of water coming out as opposed to a hosepipe which continuously runs water- this might be a bit more time consuming but there’s nothing more therapeutic than watering your garden at the end of a summer’s day! School gardening projects are a great way to get the kids involved in gardening, they’ll love watering the plants every week and seeing them grow.
A top tip when using a watering can is to water at the plant’s base (underneath the leaves) and avoid the surrounding soil as it reduces the amount of weed growth. It’s also important to think about the time of day you water your plants- we recommend watering your office garden before midday or in the evening when the weather conditions are generally cooler to reduce water evaporating from your plants before they have time to properly absorb it.
Get Rid of the Gadgets
When it comes to water saving, using a hosepipe or sprinkler in your garden is a definite no-go. Even though hosepipes can be made more sustainable by adding a trigger gun on the end, a lot of water is still wasted so we would advise not use hosepipes or sprinklers at all. Fret not though, there are a few more sustainable options that will save money on your water bill and help the environment too, including the use of a Water Butt, Mulch and Gel Crystals.
Sustainable Gardening Hacks
A water butt is one of the most efficient ways to keep your garden flourishing. Rainwater that collects in the gutters and pipes is collected in a huge container, known as a water butt. Some are even able to store old bath water (side note: household soaps and detergent are completely harmless to your plants so there’s nothing to worry about if you choose to reuse grey water). Water Butts can save you around 5,000 litres of water per year. This is incredibly beneficial during hosepipe bans.
Meet Mulch, your new best friend when it comes to having a sustainable garden. Mulch holds in moisture and causes less water to evaporate from the soil, just apply a layer to the surface of your soil and you’re good to go! The most common type of Mulch is garden compost, alternatively, you can use bark chippings – you’ll be able to buy these at your local garden centre or DIY store.
Speaking of evaporation, gel crystals (also known as crystal soil) are also a great way to save water loss. Simply add the crystals to clean water for a few hours, giving them time to expand, and then you’re ready to pot them with your plants. The crystals retain water which keeps your plants quenched for longer and provide nutrients for them to grow, plus you won’t have to water your plants as often.
Want to save even more water in your office’s garden? Why not use plants that survive in dryer weather conditions and need less water? Lavender, Palms, Mimosa, Verbena, Lupinus Arboreus, and Agave are great drought resistant plants that will look beautiful in the warmest of weathers!
We hope these sustainable tips and tricks have been useful to all those with green fingers! Whilst the sunshine lasts, why not pick up a trowel and get gardening no matter your experience? We would love to see photos of your gardening efforts, so tweet us a picture @Affinityfb!