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Notes from the talk on "Dealing with Drought" on July 9th with Geoff Ace.

Click here for Plants for Dry Positions

Dealing with Drought

Effects of drought:

Smaller plants, poorer yields, wilting, scorching, death, premature leaf-fall, possibly more flowers.

Reducing water loss:

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Plenty of organic material esp. for sandy soils

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Import clay soils as a more permanent improvement

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Firm soil, don't loosen unnecessarily

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Firm planting, early winter best time, winter rains will settle

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Avoid weed competition, much more important than generally appreciated - get the hoe going!

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Mulching, benefits far greater, good layer of bark chippings is best, but most expensive option

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Shelter from wind, very drying

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Provide shade, pergolas over borders rather than patios and paths

Using limited water:

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When planting leave a depression around individual trees and shrubs so spot watering is more effective (less run-off)

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Start vegetables early, so they get deeper roots before the drought

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Vegetables - draw deeper drills than needed and only partially refill so drill will hold water when using a watering can

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Create a drill when planting brassicas and leeks so water is close to plants

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Can watering - take care to add enough water, test using a trowel to ensure soil is wet to a good depth

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Critical periods for watering
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when plants are young or newly planted

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for peas and dwarf and broad beans when pods are developing

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for runner beans as start to flower

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soft fruit as fruit develop

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lettuce, celery, radish need lots of water all the time

Plant selection:

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Lawns - leave clover and yarrow, or replace with paving or gravel

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Ornamentals - plants with no leaves, small leaves, gray or silver foliage or hairy leaves are most resistant to drought

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Vegetables - Runner beans "white lady" "red rum" or "desiree" are less likely to drop flowers

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Lettuce - "webbs wonder" "Salad bowl" are recommended

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Radish "Red prince"

 

 

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