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Summer

In the garden

Gardens can really suffer in the summer heat, especially if you live in an area with dry conditions or where water restrictions are in place. By creating a water-smart garden, you can reduce labour, save water and money, and help your garden to flourish under dry conditions.

A watering dripper in a well mulched garden

©iStockphoto.com

Mulching is one of the most efficient ways to maintain your garden through summer. It helps smother weeds and reduces moisture loss. There are lots of mulches to choose from such as pea straw, sugar cane and wood chip. Don't water mulched gardens too often as this brings roots to the surface.

Water efficiently. Work out which plants do well in which spot and group plants together according to their need for water and sun — this way your intense watering can be confined to one spot. Only water the plants that need it and do it early in the morning or in the evening. Water deeply — a good occasional soaking is better than several light sprinkles, and water slowly to ensure good penetration. Adhere to water restrictions in your area.

Get to know your soil and what you can do to keep it fertile and improve its water retention. Talk to your garden centre about ways to test your soil, or research online — this will help you to know what your plants need to thrive.

Improve the health of your soil. Make your own organic mulch by starting a compost heap or keeping worms. Composting your kitchen and garden waste or keeping chickens will also prevent food scraps and garden waste from rotting in landfill and releasing greenhouse gases.

A greywater system is a good way to re-use water from the bathroom basin or laundry and redirect it to your garden. There are a few types of greywater systems. Consult your plumber and local council about regulations and options in your area. Rainwater tanks are a popular way to harvest water.

There's a range of rebates and assistance available to assist with planning and establishing a water-smart garden. You can also talk to your local nursery or garden centre about the most effective way to care for your garden in summer.

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