Futureproof for Dry Spells Next Season

This heatwave will soon be over, we hope, and autumn should bring rainfall. With this in mind, it will soon be time to put a few things in place so that you are prepared for dry spells in the next season. Here are some ideas to consider.

  1. Install a water butt (or 2 or 3) – these are easy enough to set up in the garden to collect rainwater over autumn and winter. It’s a good investment as they can provide a valuable source of water for your vegetable garden during any long dry spells we may have next summer.
  2. Mulch heavily in late autumn or early spring – if you mulch before planting your vegetables next spring, you should find that the soil naturally retains more moisture as the mulch serves to lock it in. You can do this by topping beds with homemade or organic compost, or well-rotted manure, or a leaf mould (see below)
  3. Make a leaf mould – by gathering autumn leaves and collecting them up into a pile (you can make a chicken wire frame to keep the pile in a pile) you can let it break down into quite a useful mulch that you should be able to use to top up your beds next summer. As above, this will help to keep moisture deeper in the soil.
  4. Use the shade next planting season – when it comes to next spring and planting time, you can use partial shade to your advantage, planting up leafy crops like salads and cool loving crops like brassicas.
  5. Be a bit brutal a few weeks after planting – we would always recommend watering frequently when you first pop your plug plants in the ground, but once they’ve had a chance to establish their roots, you can get a bit tougher and water less frequently. This works quite well to force the plants to put their roots nice and deep into the ground, but definitely keep an eye on them as there is a limit as to how tough you can be!! Don’t completely starve them of water. We’d recommend trying this only if you are a reasonably experienced grower – if you’re still quite new to growing veggies, then stick to points 1-4 above.

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