Water Smart Gardening - Fresh Food People, Australia
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Every state and council may have different levelsand guidelines of water restrictions in place.For further information in your state please go to:QLD www.qwc.qld.gov.au & search water restrictionsNSW www.nsw.gov.au/water.aspACT www.thinkwater.act.gov.auVIC www.ourwater.vic.gov.auTAS www.tas.gov.au & search water restrictionsSA www.sacentral.sa.gov.au & search water restrictionsWA www.water.wa.gov.auNT www.nt.gov.au/nreta/naturalresources/water
Contentspart one Choosing your plantspart two Gardening in containers and potspart three Sensible watering tipspart four How to use grey water successfully in your gardenpart five Water Smart your garden a) Healthy soil b) Mulch your way to a water friendly garden c) Maximise plant health, minimise water usepart six Garden design tips to minimise water use
Part 1Choosingyour plants Some key points to keep in mind when choosing which plants for your garden will assist in lowering your water use: • Australian Natives and succulents are great water wise plants. • Choose plants that originated from South Africa, California, parts of Asia and India and the Mediterranean. Container gardens are very water efficient.
Part 2Gardening incontainers& potsContainer gardens are very water efficient:• Potting media holds lots of water and nutrients for your plants.• Choose a quality potting mix with added soil wetter.• Reapply soil wetter every six months to ensure uniform watering.• Use drippers on pots if allowed by your local water authority.• Use your finger to check the potting medium for moisture.• Water thoroughly rather than just sprinkling water on the surface and allow potting mix to dry out a little between waterings.• Reduce evaporation from the surface with a mulch – refer to section on Mulching.• Choose glazed pots or apply a silicon sealer to terracotta pots to minimise water loss.Gardening in containers can be rewarding and is great:• Around the pool• On the patio• Decorating a balcony• Inside your homeYou can change pots or move them around to:• Keep them in sheltered parts of the garden to minimise watering.• Change the colour of the pots to upgrade your colour design.• Update your look on a seasonal basis.
Part 3SensibleWatering Tips It makes sense to use water wisely: • Water when it is cool. • Avoid watering during windy weather. • A thorough soaking once a week is better than several light sprinklings. • Always consider any recent or forecast rain before deciding whether to water. • Water slowly to ensure good penetration and use a soil wetter. • Pots need watering regularly. It makes sense to use water wisely.
Part 4How to usegrey watersuccessfullyin your garden:You can safely recycle household grey water forwatering plants in pots and in the garden.Grey water is water from:• The shower• Bath• Hand basin• Washing machine rinse waterAlways check with your local plumbing regulations andrestrictions prior to implementing home systems for grey water.Note:To minimise any ill effects on your soil or potting mixchoose a laundry detergent that is low in phosphorus and sodium.For a full report on laundry detergents visit the following website:www.lanfaxlabs.com.au/laundry.htm
Part 5 Water Smart your garden A healthy soil rich in organic matter will hold lots of moisture for your plants: • Organic matter includes composted fruit, vegetables, leaves & grasses. • All soil types from heavy clay to light sands benefit from incorporating organic matter. • Clay soils might need gypsum (calcium sulphate) to improve structure, aeration and drainage (Dig in about 1kg/m2) • Many commercial composts from your nursery are excellent for conditioning your soil and is making great use of a recycled product. For helpful hints on how to make your own compost visit the following website: www.sydneywater.com.au/SavingWater/InYourGarden/ MulchAndCompost/Compost.cfm Mulch your way to a water friendly garden: Much of the water used in the garden is simply lost from the soil surface through evaporation. Placing a layer of mulch around your plants provides the following benefits: • Keeps soil temperature even and thus your plants happier. • If the mulch is derived from plant material it will also feed your soil. • Prevents weeds from growing and competing with your plants for water. • Mulching can look very decorative, visually tying your garden beds together.
Easy to follow mulching tips:• Apply a layer of 7-10 centimetres.• Decorative stones and pebbles look terrific, allow water to penetrate easily and last indefinitely.• Old newspaper can be placed on the soil and then covered with a decorative mulch.• Organic mulches such as pea straw, pine bark, lucerne hay, sugar cane waste or home-made compost feed the soil microbes and roots as well.• These mulches will need topping up regularly as they break down.• For a long-lasting mulch choose wood chip, pine bark or pebbles.• Avoid placing mulch directly against the stems of plants.Maximise plant health, minimise water use by using asoil wetter:• Assist by enhancing the soil’s ability to accept water and have been developed specifically for soils and potting media.• Can be purchased in granular or liquid forms, the granular being easier to apply.Why we need soil wetters:• Many Australian soils are naturally water repelling, particularly sandy soils that are allowed to dry out.• A build up of waxy deposits from partly composted leaves and mulches coats soil particles and prevents water from penetrating.• The same applies to potting mixes over time.• This can be a trap for gardeners who think they have watered their soil or pot well but the has actually run away or down the sides of the pot.
Part 6Garden designtips to minimisewater useLawn:• Choose a grass that is drought tolerant.• Warm-season grasses (e.g. buffalo, couch, kikuyu) use much less water and are more drought resistant than cool season grasses (e.g. ryegrass, fescue).Protection:• Protecting your plants from drying winds and the hot baking afternoon sun will go a long way in conserving water in the garden.• Fences, covered pergolas and the shade from trees will provide such protection.Planting:• Always group plants that have similar water needs.• If your favourite plant needs a lot of water try to grow it in a sheltered part of the garden where it will be less prone to drying out.Protecting your plants fromdrying winds and the hotbaking afternoon sun.