the weather turns hot and dry it can sometimes make gardening
difficult, but did you know that with a few simple tricks,
you can easily create a flourishing garden in dry times.
All too often I hear people say that they cannot garden in
dry weather, and although it is more difficult than in wet
times, with the right knowhow you can easily create
a living oasis in dry conditions.
There are a few steps that must be taken to achieve this,
starting with attention to the soil.
SEARLES 5 IN 1®
Improve the soil with good quality organic matter, such as
5 IN 1®. This will improve any soil, helping to condition
it and increase water holding capacity. It is easier to improve
the soil before planting, but soil can also be improved on
established gardens. For new gardens, apply 5 IN 1®
to the soil at about 2-3cm deep and turn into existing soil
to a depth of 10-15cm.
For established gardens, apply a layer of 5 IN 1®
over the soil, but keep it away from plant stems or trunks.
If possible, carefully chip or hoe the soil into the top of
the existing soil without damaging any plant roots. The trick
to applying 5 IN 1® to established gardens is in applying
Searles Penetraide® and a mulch layer over the top. See section
on Searles Penetraide® and Mulching for more information.
only will 5 IN 1® greatly enrich the soil, but it
will activate beneficial microbial activity, condition the
soil, increase water holding capacity and overall give better
plant growth with less water.
Wherever you plant in the garden, dig into the soil some Searles®
Water Crystals before planting. Give the soil a good watering
as soon as you finish planting. Searles® Water Crystals are
small granules that soak up and store an enormous quantity
of water. As the roots of the plant grow, they actually penetrate
the individual water crystals and absorb the water that has
been held there in storage. The next time the plants are watered,
the water crystals absorb and store more water ready for the
plant to use when needed. This process continues time after
time, whenever you water.
Water crystals can absorb up to 400 times their own weight
in water, which means they greatly increase the water-holding
capacity of the soil.
PENETRAIDE® RE-WETTING GRANULES
The next step is crucial in water conservation and eliminating
water wastage from runoff:
Sprinkle Searles Penetraide® Re-Wetting Granules over all
garden beds, lawns and pot plants you only need to
apply 70g to every square metre. For pot plants, the packet
has detailed application rates for various size pots and hanging
When many soils become severely dried out, they begin to repel
water and this becomes a major problem during and after dry
conditions. When this happens, water does not soak into the
soil after being applied; it either pools on the surface of
the soil and runs off, or it runs through the soil without
being absorbed and is lost. Searles Penetraide® Re-Wetting
Granules improve soil water holding capacity greatly, maximising
the amount of water that can be held in the soil. A good test
to see if your soil is repelling water is to give it a good
watering, and then dig into the soil to a depth of about 35cm.
If the soil at that depth is still dry and has not become
damp, an application of Searles Penetraide® would be necessary.
Once Searles Penetraide® has been applied, its benefits will
last for up to 8 months. Every time you water, the water will
soak straight into the soil, reducing runoff and wastage.
By allowing the water to penetrate deep into the soil, plants
will be able to utilise the water that is stored and protected
in the soil, thus enhancing plant growth with less water.
The benefits of Searles Penetraide® are improved plant growth
with far less water.
Mulching is essential in our hot climate, especially from
spring through to autumn. After adding the Searles 5 IN 1®
and Water Crystals to the soil, always add a final layer of
mulch. Mulch greatly reduces water loss from evaporation,
keeping the water in the soil longer. As well as this, mulch
helps to insulate the soil, keeping the soil cooler where
the plant roots are. This helps to improve plant growth and
reduce stress to the plants.
use a good quality mulch such as Searles® Premium Garden Mulch. Searles® Premium Garden Mulch contains added fertilisers,
gypsum, plus a double strength addition of Searles Penetraide®,
which makes it a mulch and fertiliser all in one application.
After applying mulch, it will decompose into the soil over
time, helping to add valuable organic matter which will further
improve the soil. As this happens, continue to add more mulch
to the soil surface at least twice a year.
Of course, how we water the garden is very important in water
conservation and making the most of our water. By applying
water wisely, we can grow flourishing gardens with very little
Some golden rules of watering:
1. When watering, give long, deep, thorough
soakings on an occasional basis in preference to regular,
light watering. By watering deeply, the water penetrates deeper
into the soil, where it is more protected from the heat of
the sun and from evaporation from the soil surface. This will
also encourage plant roots to grow deeper into the soil which
will help protect the roots from drying out too quickly, protect
them from extremes of temperature and also help anchor the
plant more effectively.
2. Water very early in the morning or at
night. Avoid watering during the day. By watering when the
sun is down, the water has the best chance to soak into the
soil before it is lost to evaporation. Avoid using a sprinkler;
try to apply water directly onto the soil around the plants
if possible. The use of micro-irrigation and dripper systems
will dramatically reduce water usage and deliver it right
where it is needed.
If you follow these easy steps to wise water management, you
will find that you can successfully create a living oasis
in dry times with minimal effort.
Happy Gardening with Searles from the Searle family.
© Copyright 2002 JC & AT
Searle Pty Ltd
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