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Water economy strategies and methods for coping with drought and saving money on water bills fall into 3 main categories: 1. Water storage and irrigation,  2. Soil preparation and management and choice of plants. 3. Growing strategies. Water storage and irrigation strategies Store water for dry spells:   collect rainwater from roofs in waterbutts (this also saves fetching and  carrying the extra distance from a trough). Water thoroughly every 7 – 10 days rather than little and often.  Light watering can be counter-productive: it may not reach the depth at which most roots are found, and  encourages surface roots which are most at risk of drying out. Water in the cool of the evening or early morning. Evaporation rates are much reduced. Root Watering: sink 5 – 8 cm pipes or plastic drink bottle with the bottoms cut off in the soil alongside  plants that might need water e.g. strawberries grown on black plastic raised mounds, e.g. between climbing  French beans. Water planting holes while planting plantlets and seed trenches before sowing seeds in order to reduce evaporation rates.   Soil Management: The amount of water a soil can hold depends on its constituents and structure. Clay soils can typically hold around 105mm of rainfall in the top 60 cm. It is possible both to increase a soil’s water-holding capacity and slow the rate of water loss by evaporation. Dig in organic matter: this can increase moisture-holding  capacity by the equivalent of up to 50 mm of rainfall in the first year after application – enough to  supply plants for around 20 days. Mulch heavily: a 7 cm layer of chipped bark, green waste or garden  compost spread onto moist soil reduces evaporation and discourages weeds. Remove weeds promptly as  they appear as they suck water out of the soil. Stop digging or cultivating soil by late March if  possible, and hoe only to remove weeds, as both increase soil evaporation. This obviously means advance  preparation and clearly doesn’t apply to preparing the ground for follow on crops. Don’t walk on wet., heavy soils in winter: it can cause compaction, damaging the structure and lowering  the moisture holding capacity. Growing Strategies   Delay planting perennials, eg fruit bushes, until autumn when water is more available: planted early they will need irrigation all summer.  Choose more drought-tolerant varieties if available. Carrots, parsnips  and cabbages can get by on less water than salad leaves, tomatoes, courgettes, cauliflowers and peas.  Pumpkins and sweetcorn have the lowest requirements for irrigation. Hosepipes   The use of hosepipes is forbidden except under exceptional circumstances - See Tenancy Agreement, Second Schedule clause 21.
Saving Water
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Water economy strategies and methods for coping with drought and saving money on water bills fall into 3 main categories: 1. Water storage and irrigation,  2. Soil preparation and management and choice of plants. 3. Growing strategies. Water storage and irrigation strategies Store   water   for   dry   spells:    collect   rainwater   from   roofs   in waterbutts   (this   also   saves   fetching   and      carrying   the   extra distance   from   a   trough).   Water   thoroughly   every   7   –   10 days   rather   than   little   and   often.      Light   watering   can   be counter-productive:   it   may   not   reach   the   depth   at   which most    roots    are    found,    and        encourages    surface    roots which   are   most   at   risk   of   drying   out.   Water   in   the   cool   of the   evening   or   early   morning.   Evaporation   rates   are   much reduced.   Root   Watering:   sink   5   –   8   cm   pipes   or   plastic drink   bottle   with   the   bottoms   cut   off   in   the   soil   alongside     plants   that   might   need   water   e.g.   strawberries   grown   on black     plastic     raised     mounds,     e.g.     between     climbing       French     beans.     Water     planting     holes     while     planting plantlets   and   seed   trenches   before   sowing   seeds   in   order to reduce evaporation rates.   Soil   Management:   The   amount   of   water   a   soil   can   hold depends   on   its   constituents   and   structure.   Clay   soils   can typically   hold   around   105mm   of   rainfall   in   the   top   60   cm.   It is   possible   both   to   increase   a   soil’s   water-holding   capacity and   slow   the   rate   of   water   loss   by   evaporation.   Dig   in organic     matter:     this     can     increase     moisture-holding       capacity   by   the   equivalent   of   up   to   50   mm   of   rainfall   in   the first   year   after   application   –   enough   to      supply   plants   for around   20   days.   Mulch   heavily:   a   7   cm   layer   of   chipped bark,   green   waste   or   garden      compost   spread   onto   moist soil     reduces     evaporation     and     discourages     weeds. Remove   weeds   promptly   as      they   appear   as   they   suck water   out   of   the   soil.   Stop   digging   or   cultivating   soil   by   late March   if      possible,   and   hoe   only   to   remove   weeds,   as   both increase   soil   evaporation.   This   obviously   means   advance     preparation    and    clearly    doesn’t    apply    to    preparing    the ground   for   follow   on   crops.   Don’t   walk   on   wet.,   heavy   soils in   winter:   it   can   cause   compaction,   damaging   the   structure and lowering  the moisture holding capacity. Growing   Strategies    Delay   planting   perennials,   eg   fruit bushes,    until    autumn    when    water    is    more    available: planted   early   they   will   need   irrigation   all   summer.      Choose more drought-tolerant    varieties    if    available.    Carrots,    parsnips      and   cabbages   can   get   by   on   less   water   than   salad   leaves, tomatoes,   courgettes,   cauliflowers   and   peas.      Pumpkins and sweetcorn have the lowest requirements for irrigation. Hosepipes     The    use    of    hosepipes    is    forbidden    except under exceptional circumstances - See Tenancy Agreement, Second Schedule clause 21.