With a bit of luck, the summer might start soon and that means you may have to keep plants well watered throughout any dry period. David Hall has a few ideas on the most effective ways of ensuring your plants don't go thirsty.
Conservation and wise usage of rain water is always worthwhile. Here's how a garden water butt can help.
Although last year was one of the wettest on record, we all know that with the vagaries of the British weather, we might well soon have another drought.
Water butts are one of the easiest ways to conserve water. One estimate is that 24,000 litres of rain falls on your house roof annually, and it just washes away.
They will also go some way to beat the hosepipe bans that have been imposed over recent years, not to mention saving you money if you have a water meter.
Attached to greenhouse guttering or installed at the bottom of a drainpipe on your house or garage, the water that's collected is easily tapped and transferred to a watering can. Lots of acid loving plants such as camellias and azaleas will prefer this rainwater to tap water.
Any overflow can be redirected to a drain or you could set up a system where excess water is transferred to another butt.
Water Butts come in many styles, most resemble big green barrels made from plastic, others have the appearance of wooden barrels, or are thinner to locate into compact spaces. A tap to fill your watering can is an advantage, particularly if the butt is raised from the ground. If no stand is available, bricks will suffice.
Of the 100 litre butts, the Elite butt comes with or without a stand. The slimline Ward butt will fit into a limited space, as will the Harcostar Space Saver that's made from 75% recycled plastic and has pre-drilled inlets for minimal assembly. Stewart's Space Saving butt includes a child safety lid, stand and tap in addition to a rain diverter and cut out section for the inlet pipe.
The 210 litre and 120 litre butts from Ward are fitted with a tap, stand and child proof lid. There's also a diverter and the connection points are already drilled. The smaller butt It is also offered with a oak barrel wood effect with stand and tap. A 210 litre butt is also manufactured by Elite with or without a stand.
The heavy duty Stewart oak effect barrel holds 235 litres and, as with their smaller butt, comes with a child safety lid, stand and other accessories.
The guttering will need a downpipe which is cut and the butt located below. Alternatively, slice a piece from the pipe and insert a rain trap, the water is then taken to the butt through a pipe. Always have a lid on the butt to stop anything falling in, and this will also help stop the formation of algae.
Instead of using a watering can, you may consider the Hozelock Water Butt Pump. Using high pressure (1.1bar), this pump will supply water to sprinklers, guns and other watering systems.
Let me know how you are using your water butt to recycle water, I would love to read your comments.
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With warmer weather and an early Easter, the garden centre is busy at the moment with customers stocking up on summer bedding plants - snapdragons, cornflowers, cosmos, verbena, phlox, petunia, As well as filling planters, hanging baskets and borders with colour that will last all summer, there are always plenty of jobs to do in the garden during April and David Coton has these suggestions.
Every gardener must have noticed a decline in the bee population over recent years. Intensive farming that demands the use of toxic chemicals, climate change and parasite infestation have all been put forward as potential causes, it's a worrying trend but one that we can all help to reverse.
As an excellent alternative to conventional products, Trimetals' storage solutions blend top quality manufacture with contemporary style. Their range has now been extended to include two new maintenance free sheds and Robert Hall has all the details.
Zest 4 Leisure manufactures a large variety of timber garden furniture, fencing and leisure products, David Coton visited their brand new nine acre site near Chester last week to find out more about current development and future plans.