Water-Wise Gardening

Correct watering practices


Millions of litres of water can be saved every year by using the right watering methods in your garden to ensure that you don’t over or under water do the following:

Soil type:

Each soil type has a different water-holding capacity and should be watered accordingly.

How to determine soil type.

There are three basic soil types: sandy, clay and loam.

The ‘sausage test’

Take some damp soil in your hand, squeeze and roll it into a sausage shape. If you have sandy soil the sausage breaks apart, if you have loam soil the sausage holds together, but tends to crumble and if it is clay soil the sausage will hold together and be easy to manipulate.

There are three basic soil types:

soil types

Sandy soil: low water-holding capacity– water frequently, but for short periods at a time.

Loam soil: medium water-holding capacity–water less frequently and for longer periods at a time.

Clay soil: high water-holding capacity–water deeply but not very often.

Things you need to know to ensure correct watering practices.

How do I know my garden needs water?

It is only necessary to water your garden when the top 5 – 8 cm of the soil is dry. A quick, easy way to check is to simply stick your finger in the ground. Moister meters are also available.

For how long should I water my garden?

Your garden needs at least 10 mm of water. To check whether your garden is actually getting the right amount try the following test: place a few containers around your garden while you are watering and time how long it takes for 10 mm of water to build up in the containers. This is a good indicator of how long you should water your garden.

What time of the day should I water my garden?

The best time of day to water is early morning before the temperatures begin to rise. This gives the plants a good supply of water to face the heat of the day. If watering cannot be done in the early morning, very late afternoon is also satisfactory. It is important to water early enough so that the leaves have time to dry before nightfall to avoid development of fungal diseases.

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