Thursday, 21 May 2009

Mediterranean weather this summer?

BRITAIN is being warned to prepare for a potential heat wave this summer, with weather more akin to the Mediterranean than northern Europe.

The Met Office published its long-range summer forecast last month and they predicted temperatures could soar as high as 30C and above and that this summer could be drier than usual.

Canna will survive in drought conditions without much water, as we have witnessed in Australia over the last few years, but it will be so enjoyable to be able to have our Cannas prospering under good light and with adequate water, especially after the last two miserable summers we have endured.

Anyone growing tropical and sub-tropical plants should think about their future watering arrangements.

Our Canna collection will be watered by a series of interconnecting porous hose pipes, laid carefully around the Cannas, and which will ensure that no water is wasted at all.

The hundreds of new seedlings are always grown in pots, so we cannot make use of porous pipes, but we have a micro watering system that uses drip feeders in each pot. We start each pot with a basic drip feeder, and then adjust them higher or lower depending on the plants requirements, i.e. a tall, large leaved plant will require more water than a small Crozy Group cultivar.

The water for the system is supplied from a 700 litre water tank, which harvests water from roofs, and means that even if we get a hosepipe ban we can keep the Cannas well watered.

What is for sure is that we will see some hose pipe bans this summer in the UK, and anyone living in an area where that is possible should make plans for how they will cope with that eventuality.

1 comment:

  1. This leaky hose stuff is excellent, but do keep it under a layer of mulch as it breaks down like any rubber product when exposed to direct sunlight.

    If placed on top of the garden beds above the mulch, it will only last two seasons here in Australia. Under mulch you should get seven or eight seasons out of it. This hose also slices easily if hit with a fork or spade! Keep a few joiners on hand to repair any accidental demolishing when using garden tools.

    It doesn't work very well on a sloping garden bed either. The water all runs downhill and pools at the lowest point.

    If you have light, sandy soil, you need to run the lines of leaky hose very closely together (30-35 cms)as the water soaks in rapidly and lateral spread is minimal.

    In heavier clay soils the lines of hose can be up to 90 cms., apart. I think the manufacturers say you can lay it 1 metre apart, but for perennial plants, that is just too far. Would be fine for shrubs and trees though.

    In my last garden I had miles of the stuff laid and the garden really appreciated the thorough deep soaking the leaky hose provided. Everything responded much better to this method than to overhead watering from sprinklers. The deep soaking at longer intervals, (weekly in hot weather) encouraged the roots to delve deeply down rather than hang about near the surface in the hope of a shower every couple of days.

    If you have a largish garden, you can buy leaky hose in 100 metre rolls, which is more economical than buying it it dinky little 20 metre packages from your nursery or hardware store. Use the business listings in the telephone directory to find irrigation suppliers selling poly pipe, or ask the nursery/hardware to order it in for you in bulk.

    A trick to bear in mind when using this product, is to try and have the hose running in a loop, joined with a "T" join. Attach your water supply to the long leg of the "T". By doing this you even up the pressure in the leaky hose through the entire length of it. If you do not do this, then the end of the garden bed where your leaky hose has a stop plug, will receive far more water than that nearest to your water attachment.

    Do not turn your tap on full blast when using this leaky hose stuff. If you see any tiny fountains blossoming upwards, you know your tap is turned on too much. Over time, you will blow the leaky hose apart, - been there, done that! The hose should just drip and dribble over a long period of around two - three hours.

    Unfortunatly I cannot use this product here at our new place as we water from irrigation channels and the muddy water clogs up the small pores in the leaky hose.