Plants in patio tubs, windowboxes and hanging baskets will need checking daily for water – even twice daily in the kind of weather we’ve had so far this summer – as they can dry out rapidly. Hanging baskets, especially, are notorious for this. They are full of plants, and use a lot of water. Even worse, they tend to hang by sunny walls, and the combination of wind and reflected heat from the wall makes them dry out even more. So anything that you can do to keep them moist is worthwhile. Watering twice a day may well be necessary when it’s particularly hot.
The best way to water is with a watering can fitted with a rose spray, which distributes water evenly so won’t compact the compost. Water in the early morning or evening when evaporation rates are at their lowest.
Growing bags, too, will increasingly be demanding water as the bags become filled with root, and the crops that are full of moisture (tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and aubergines particularly) will be sucking up every bit of available water. In a sun trap outdoors, the bags may need watering twice a day.
You can, of course, ease your watering burden by choosing a compost like Gro-Sure Easy Container Compost. In addition to the growing media itself, this compost also contains water storing granules. These are little dry clay granules that absorb moisture from the compost (before it drains through the hole in the bottom!), and releases it over time when the plant needs it most.
Final tip: Now obviously, it would have been better to use these composts at planting time, so your containers and plants would already be benefitting from them. But we are well past the planting season. Fortunately, you can also buy the water storing granules separately.
They are available in packets labelled Westland Water Saving Gel (ask for it at your local garden centre). To use, all you need to do is make some holes in the surface of your planted container, and then fill these with the granules (using the free measuring scoop that comes with each pack). There is a chart on the pack telling you the quantity of granules to apply, depending on the size of the container. Then water the container, twice, a few hours apart, to fully ‘charge’ the granules. Then sit back and do the crossword, safe in the knowledge that you won’t need to water your plants as much during the continuing heatwave!!
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