Spring is slowly coming out of its shell and temperatures are beginning to increase. The days are also getting longer, which means that the plants in your garden are starting to get more sun time each day.

If you have not already begun watering your garden then it’s time to start thinking about it now. The Western Cape has had quite a late start to Spring, and this is good news as our dam levels are exactly where they were this time last year, at 89.9% full. A month ago it was not looking great at all but, lucky for us, September has been unusually wet. Although we can be thankful for the good weather, a few more rainy days this year would not go amiss!

Alas, in terms of rainy days, we won’t always be so lucky in the Cape, the water situation will only get worse. With water becoming a very valuable resource, we need to think about how to slowly evolve our gardens into water wise areas by planting water sensitive plants where we can.

We have heard it time and time again but we really do need to be aware of how much water we all consume in the coming years. I monitor our dam levels every week online because what happens in those dams today will affect Cape households six months from now. No water for a month in winter makes our hot dry summer just that much longer. If we use less water now it means more water in the dams for us all in February /March next year, which hopefully will help us avoid water restrictions before the next winter.

So while you need to get watering, you need to water smartly, using only as much as is needed. You will be surprised how little water your garden actually needs when watered effectively. Keep these points in mind before turning on the taps.

  • Water in the morning, just after sunrise, so that the water droplets have a chance to settle on the leaves before the heat of the day.
  • If watering by hand, don’t spend too long on one spot – 10-15 seconds is sufficient for an area of 10m².
  • Watch your soil carefully, if you notice run-off stop watering immediately.
  • If there is run-off as soon as you start watering then you need to put down compost or mulch to retain moisture. This will help to feed the roots.

Here’s to Summer and wise watering!