The Knack: How to beat a hosepipe ban

Pee in a watering can, says gardening expert Bob Flowerdew
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Indy Lifestyle Online
"Gutter every shed and save every drop of water in butts and dead deep freezers. My house is guttered into a water store made of car tyres. It's like an above-ground swimming pool but cheaper and greener: goldfish keep the mosquitoes down. Get the organic level up in the soil by adding compost, well-watered animal manures, grass clippings. Put mulches, such as composted bark, shredded newspaper or straw on top of the soil. Straw looks a bit silly in the front garden, but in the fruit cage or around vegetables it's excellent. Grow more fruits than vegetables because they have permanent root systems and, when it's dry, they go deeper looking for water. If you are running a vegetable bed, get root vegetables in as soon as possible, while there's still moisture in the soil. I've grown excellent carrots with no watering at all. Bedding plants, which have to be put out every year, are hopeless, because you have to keep watering them - nearly all my flowers, shrubs and climbers are perennials - they look after themselves after the first year. I go easy on soap and detergent, and siphon bath and washing-up water into the garden by stuffing a hosepipe up the outlets. I save my pee in a watering can and use it on the compost heap - it saves flushing the toilet. In winter, when I'm producing, but not using, I save it in bottles. I label it lemonade and put it in the shed in case the kids break in - only joking!".

Bob Flowerdew is a panellist on the 'Gardener's Question Time' 50th Anniversary programme, which will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Sunday, 8 June

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