Wednesday, 8 June 2011
Watering your Mediterranean garden
Effective watering is very important in the Mediterranean climate to ensure plants survive and grow. Regular watering, sometimes twice a day, is needed to keep the soil surface damp and as plants grow increase the water provided, especially for fruiting vegetables such as peppers and tomatoes. Timing is critical to allow water to soak into the soil and avoid baking dry the surface and is consequently most beneficial early morning or early evening. Different crops have differing water needs and these can be found in more detail under each crops information. at http://sites.google.com/site/cyprusgardener/home/vegetables
We are very aware of the need to conserve water and minimise its need by: continually adding organic matter to our soil which increases its ability to hold water; by mulching to reduce evaporation; by avoiding digging in the summer months which brings any stored water to the surface; by keeping weeds to a minimum as they compete for any water available and by growing natural windbreaks to reduce the rate of evaporation during dry hot winds..
We use an irrigation system and timer which allows watering times and duration to be set and allows us to get on with other gardening tasks - a real time saver and well worth the expense. The piping is very cheap and nipples can be inserted with a tool to ensure drip watering where you want.
We are fortunate enough to have a continuous supply of water but we still recycle our domestic water for use in the garden and this may be more important if your supply is restricted. Our solar panels are very efficient at meeting our hot water needs but quite a few litres run before hot water flows and we use this for watering by keeping buckets by the sink and shower. We also recycle water used for washing fruit and vegetables and water from steaming or boiling (which is usually contains nutrients). If you use a biodegradable washing-up liquid and store this water for two days it can be used without harming your plants. If you have guttering on your roof also consider capturing rain water in a holding tank.