Top gardening tips on how to grow healthy plants while saving water

A sunflower

A sunflower - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

WITH summer hopefully just around the corner, gardeners will be digging in and planning what to grow for the year ahead.

Affinity Water is offering tips to help you get your gardens in shape to grow healthy plants, while saving money by avoiding unnecessary over watering.

Mike Pocock, water resources manager, said: ”Following the heavy rainfall over the last year, groundwater levels in our chalk aquifers are above average and we do not anticipate any restrictions for 2013.

“However we continue to ask our customers to use water wisely. Not only is this good for the environment, but it will also save them energy and money.

“It’s important to choose plants that thrive in dry conditions, such as lavender, marigolds and cornflowers so look for the full sun symbol on the plant labels when buying new plants as this indicates their tolerance to dry conditions. Try to make the most of moisture by adding a layer of tree bark, gravel or compost to keep the sun off the soil; this will help retain the moisture in the soil.”

Here’s some more of Affinity Water’s top tips to help you become a water efficient gardener:

• Move containers, hanging baskets and pots into shady areas where possible

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• Reset your lawn mower blades to 4cm to encourage dense bushy growth, which traps early morning dew and reduces evaporation

• Water your pots and hanging baskets either early in the morning or during the evening to reduce evaporation in the midday sun.

• A water butt is a great way to make the most of rain water, and using one will also save you money if you are a metered customer.

• When you are watering try use a watering can filled from a water butt.

• If you’re potting up or planting containers, use ones made from plastic, glazed terracotta or wood. These tend to lose less water than bare terracotta.

• When potting up your planters use a small amount of gel crystals. They absorb water and can help retain the moisture in the soil.

• Bury a short length of pipe into your pot; if you water into the tube the water goes directly to the roots where the plant needs it most.

• Use mulches like bark chips or gravel to retain moisture and keep weeds down.

For more water efficiency advice and discounted products, go to