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Watering Exhaustion - a change is needed!

(60 Posts)
Casdon Fri 12-Aug-22 15:02:21

I’m worn out from watering. I’ve got water butts, I’ve saved my household water, and I’ve spent over an hour this morning with my 5 (I know, excessive number) of watering cans trying to stop my plants completely expiring in the heat. We don’t have a hosepipe ban here, but I feel guilty using the hose at the moment.

A serious rethink is needed for next year. So far I’ve decided
Less pots and bigger pots
Plants being nurtured and seedlings all in one part of the garden, I will transplant when they are bigger
Nothing that needs watering at the top of the banks in my sloping borders
Mulch the vegetables
Grow less gourds as they need bucketfuls of water each every day

Please tell me what you’re doing to keep your plants alive that doesn’t involve hundreds of watering cans of effort every day?

Mamie Fri 12-Aug-22 15:11:34

We are still allowed to use the hose for vegetables between 8pm and 10am in our bit of France so the vegetable garden gets a brief watering. Then like you it is watering cans from butts, run-offs from taps etc. We have only been here 18 months so a lot of the planting is new and that is a nightmare. The grass is like weetabix, apart from over the run-offs from the septic tank.
There is a village pump next to the lavoir opposite with a constant stream of people with tanks on trailers. The water never looks very clean, I wouldn't have fancied it for doing my washing!
We do have storms and rain forecast from Sunday.

Greg37 Fri 12-Aug-22 15:18:40

I do find mulching helps but I'm still using my hospice while I can. I've too much time and money invested in my garden to lose it all.

Millie22 Fri 12-Aug-22 15:24:25

I've no suggestions but I understand exactly how you feel.

I feel a bit guilty using the garden hose ... no hose ban yet but I'm not going to let my plants die. I love them 🌻🌻🌻

It's ok to say use washing up water but it's too heavy to move and there's not enough of it anyway.

aggie Fri 12-Aug-22 15:27:27

I use a Walker with a seat , I shove my watering cans , or the washing up basin on the seat , to get the water round my plants

karmalady Fri 12-Aug-22 15:30:50

I have 2 tall large water butts, quite attractive cream columns and they last for very many years, had some in the last house so tried and tested. I also have at least 5 watering cans and don`t use a hose

I have a new small garden ie 3 years old and it now is a micro climate, full of greenery and 7 small trees. All through this time I have been adding humus, at the least it has been composted bark and the soil is now holding onto water at deeper levels

I have been aiming to make it as drought proof as possible hence trees, apples and rowans and roses and ground cover like sedums and geranium. I have colour with echinacea and roses. Definitely it is working wrt water retention and the micro climate, asparagus beds, cause light shade which protects most of it

Re pots yes me too. I now only grow lavenders and agapanthus in my normal pots. I have 72 hanging basket strawberry plants in many trough planters but they are self watering and right now only need a fill once a week, they are on tier stands so are easy. I have 2 japanese maples in 2 large self watering pots, last watered a month ago

soil structure is key really and my veggies don`t need an excessive amount of watering

Lathyrus Fri 12-Aug-22 15:42:34

I guess jarmalady that as you’re still using water butts you’ve had a little bit of rain. We’ve had only one short shower since April. My water butts dried out long ago.

I’ve managed to keep the most precious plants alive with the watering can. Most of my water has been directed to the vegetables. But I think I will now just have to give up on all the root crops.

None of the flowers on my runner beans will set. Any advice would be welcome.

Lathyrus Fri 12-Aug-22 15:43:21

karmalady So sorry😣

cornergran Fri 12-Aug-22 16:46:25

A definite re-think here on what will go in pots next year which will undoubtedly trigger the wettest summer on record grin

Seriously we are re-thinking the garden to make it less water reliant, it seems a sensible way to go. As we live next to a river there is always water under ground here, unless the river dries up of course, our grass at the back remains green while the front is yellow. I'm constantly explaining that no we haven't been watering the grass in the back, it waters itself from underground. Deeper rooted trees and established shrubs are also fine, it's the shallow rooted plants that are struggling. At the moment we are trying to keep some plants in tubs at a neighbours house alive, unfortunately it seems to be a losing battle as they are quite delicate. All we can do is our best.

Jaxjacky Fri 12-Aug-22 17:37:25

We are on a hosepipe ban, the three hanging baskets have been sacrificed, the rear bed of perennials looks ok for now, we may need to get a chain going with watering cans soon. I’m watering veg, including the greenhouse and two smaller beds with newer plants in.
Longer term we’re looking at diverting all upstairs water, shower/sinks/bath into extra butts.

travelsafar Fri 12-Aug-22 17:47:54

I am struggling with the chore of watering every evening. I feel guilty using hose pipe but can't physically carry lots of cans of water. Next year will only plant lavender and geraniums in my pots and won't have so many either. That said I have just applied to local housing association for smaller property as now on my own, upkeep of house and garden too much and with the rising costs of heating I don't want to be heating a large 3 bed house. A small bungalow or flat with a balcony would suit me fine. Don't want to worry bout heating, watering garden, upkeep of house and garden etc etc for the rest of my life.

westendgirl Fri 12-Aug-22 18:04:36

In a recent article I read that it was more efficient to fill the watering can from the hose and water directly into the centre of the plant. I do know that this method would be much easier on my back . I could take the hose to the top of the garden together with an empty watering can.
DO you think this could be used in a hosepipe ban.?

Barmeyoldbat Fri 12-Aug-22 18:13:30

I only water my tomatoes everything else has to take it’s chance with my washing up water. It will all grow back next year

GrannySomerset Fri 12-Aug-22 18:19:03

Have refilled the water buts with the hose in anticipation of a hosepipe ban as I only water with watering cans as this is precise and not extravagant. Several shrubs are looking very stressed but I can’t do any more.

Casdon Fri 12-Aug-22 21:33:38

Thanks everybody, I’ve picked up some extra tips, which helps. Let’s hope it rains heavily next week, even one day off from watering would be a blessing at the moment.

Patsy70 Fri 12-Aug-22 21:52:37

I’ve now got a large garden trug in the downstairs shower to collect the water and a bowl in the kitchen sink to collect the washing-up water.

25Avalon Fri 12-Aug-22 22:04:36

I have a hanging basket with a reservoir base. I top it up about once a week rather than having to water every day. I believe you can now get self watering plant containers with a reservoir base.

Also you can use capillary mating on a shelf in the greenhouse - all you need is a wick down into a bucket of water or you can buy a purpose designed container and the matting will be moist to stand pots and seed boxes on. Pebbles round the base of pots also helps stop water evaporation.

You can help keep the greenhouse tomatoes cool by soaking the concrete/paving slab path if you have one.

MayBee70 Fri 12-Aug-22 22:11:29

I wish terracotta plant pots came with separate plastic liners as the water doesn’t evaporate as quickly. I don’t really like to see plastic pots in the garden. I’m going to buy lots of sedum ( which I love anyway) and rosemary etc the sort of plants I usually see on holiday. I do have those gel things that hold water but when I used them a few years ago it didn’t stop raining. I bought some of those spikes that you attach a pop bottle to that drip water into the pot but the ones I bought don’t work: the water just gushes out.

Georgesgran Fri 12-Aug-22 22:27:43

No hose pipe ban here in the North East and we have a 70% chance of rain several days next week, which should refill the water butt.

Lathyrus Fri 12-Aug-22 23:01:45


Absolutely green with envy, Georgesgran

Nannagarra Fri 12-Aug-22 23:43:54

We’re only watering tomatoes - using aqua globes. The lawns are coir mats and the fig looks very sorry for itself.
If I have any plastic bottles, I’ll cut off the bases and invert them next to plants to precisely direct water to the roots.

henetha Fri 12-Aug-22 23:53:46

I'm watering my own and my neighbours garden at the moment and it is really difficult now with just watering cans. Hopefully the promised rain really will happen next week, for all of us everywhere.

karmalady Sun 14-Aug-22 12:15:27

lathyrus, my water buts are tall and look like columns, they hold around 620 litres of water. I put nets of ceramic hoops in to keep the water nice and fresh. 3 years so far and not a whiff. I am considering getting another one, the biggest that they have, quite pricey and fitting to the downpipe is daunting. I did the ones I have myself and no-one can tell but I cut the downpipe really wonky. I joined the two butts together and one fills first then the other. No room in my garden but I do have space on my drive and could connect to my house downpipe. I am not sure though. I am with wessex water in sw and we haven`t had rain for ages but wessex said that our water comes from aquifers and supply is safe. I really don`t think it would be cost effective for me

Key for me is to enable my garden to be as drought-proof and easy as possible. I have all the plants I need so now it will be down to worms pulling the composted bark and compost down to the depths

I do know that I am going to be very selective about what veg I grow next year. No greenhouse and not much space so no cucs or courgettes on the ground. Begonias in big troughs on legs are doing fine but I will be plopping large deep growbags on those troughs next year. Tomatoes are in those on my vegtrugs and they are very easy to keep watered enough

I don`t have lawn and borders

karmalady Sun 14-Aug-22 12:19:44

maybee, I have 3 rosemary plants in my front garden, behind a row of 6 hebe. They have not had a drop of water from me and look fine. Hidden in there are several hellebores, also fine

karmalady Sun 14-Aug-22 12:21:53

I have 3 kilmarnock willows in 3 large pots, one pot is salt glazed ceramic. I am not sure about those, they like damp. I may change my mind when the catkins appear but I do think I will be getting rid