Waste of water in the garden

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The Independent Online
From Mr Roger Backhouse

Sir: The sad aspect of the water shortage ("Sunshine turns heat on water supplies", 29 June) is that much of the water used on gardens is wasted through incorrect methods of watering and cultivation.

Many gardeners use a 'little and often' approach to watering, which wets the surface but provides nothing for the deeper soil. Water is wasted through evaporation and plants fail to develop sufficient deep roots to reach moisture lower down, They then become dependent on the top levels of soil for moisture, making even more watering necessary.

Vast quantities of garden and kitchen waste are thrown away each year by gardeners. Yet if composted and added to the soil, moisture retentiveness increases by at least 25 per cent, representing a large saving in watering.

Many garden plants are of Mediterranean origin and are well able to withstand summer drought. Surprisingly, most lawns will also recover after a dry spell.

Unfortunately many gardeners fail to recognise this and continue their habitual outing with the hosepipe - the consequence being unnecessary water shortages.

Yours sincerely,

Roger Backhouse


East London

Organic Gardeners


29 June