Don’t give your garden a soaking

GREEN-fingered residents can play an important role in conserving water supplies during the recent dry weather.

The North-East is having one of its driest years for decades and bosses at Hartlepool Water urged customers to be sensible with how much water they use.

Last week, they talked about consumption in the home. Operations manager Kevin Ensell has now said the garden is another way to save.

His tips included:

l Check the forecast before you turn on the tap. Rain could be on the way.

l Longer grasses retains moisture for longer.

l Before it rains, spike your lawn with a garden fork. It helps moisture reach the roots effectively, and improves drainage.

l Keep the soil surface broken with a hoe around your plants. Hardened and cracked soil will prevent water soaking in easily.

l Don’t use sprinklers. They can use up to 1,100 litres of water an hour.

l Collect rainwater from your roof and downpipes in water butts or buckets.

l Only use watering cans at dusk. Less water will evaporate before it can get to the plants’ roots.

l If you have a lot of potted plants, move them in and out of the shade so that they get the right amount of sun while staying fresh.

* A protective hedge around the garden can help reduce wind which dries out the top layer of soil.

* Try and get rid of weeds as soon as you see them, reducing the competition for water.

* Help soil retain moisture by mixing in organic material, such as well-rotted manure, or make your own compost using vegetable peelings and grass cuttings.