Grey water should be used with care, but can be useful in times of water shortages.
Plants can be watered with shower, bath, kitchen and washing machine water (from rinse cycles), collectively referred to as ‘grey’ water. It varies in quality and may contain contaminants such as soap and detergent. Fortunately, soil and potting composts are effective at filtering them out, and the residues can sometimes act as a mild fertiliser.
To minimise bacterial growth, grey water should only be saved for 24 hours, unless filtered through a reedbed or professionally-designed system. It is best applied by watering can; grease and fibres can clog irrigation systems.
There should be no problem with small-scale, short-term use of grey water to tide plants over in summer drought. An exception is on edible crops, due to the risk of contamination from pathogens in the water.
Long-term, extensive use, or permanent altering of indoor plumbing should not be attempted without expert advice.
Softened tapwater and dishwasher water are less useful. Salts used in them can damage soil structure, particularly if rich in clay. This said, short-term use of softened water should not cause serious damage and may be worth considering in an emergency.
Hello Full Frontal folks!
We only have a month from today before the Britain in Bloom assessor comes to see us, and there are a couple of things to remember about keeping our plants looking great
all over the summer.
Really important is dead heading spent flowers (including their stalks)this will extend the flowering season of all plants. Once a plant is allowed to set seed it won’t want to produce more flowers.
Don’t be fooled by some showers of rain…window boxes and containers will still need to be monitored for water…the surface area of a pot is relatively small so the amount of rain that falls there will be limited, and window boxes are often in the window overhang and therefore in a complete ‘rain shadow’ and not really get watered at all even in a storm!
Hope that helps to keep your ‘frontals’ looking wonderful throughout the coming season!
Well, we now have the RHS assessor visit behind us, and at last some rain to help the plants along and fill our new water butts for us. Feels great to know that we have 1000 litres of free rainwater to water use now.
Great time to take cuttings now. Be sure to choose non flowering stems of lavenders, buddlejas etc., and just pull off or cut off and push into pots of gritty compost down betweem the side of the pot and the compost. It should only take a few weeks for the cuttings to get roots and then the cuttings can be grown on through the winter and be ready to plant up outside next spring ….and all for free. Cuttings taken should never be left to dry out.
This is the time when we can all get ourselves some free plants – grab some envelopes and get collecting seeds – if they are marigolds, tomatoes and beans then they will need to be dried and stored over winter (in the fridge is good if you have the space – first put the envelopes into plastic bags for this) and for foxgloves and some other annuals and biennials, sow direct now.
Also a great time to take non flowering tip cuttings. In the last couple of weeks I have popped in some lavender cuttings, half compost and half grit in pots for free drainage, and they are already growing away.
If we get going on this, we could have a wonderful plant swap in the early spring!
We will soon be able to start planting up bulbs when the orders arrive, but please remember that tulips can’t be planted yet. November the earliest, but often better planted in January. They will flower at the right time but will have shorter stems, so less likely to flop.
Southern Water have published a feature about Full Frontal Gardens on their website. Andy Shaddick, Southern Water’s Public Affairs Manager endorsed support for the project and Southern Water have kindly donated six water butts for the collection and storage of rain water.
NOW IN AUGUST 2012 and our donated rain butts have proven their worth over and over again – this being a very wet year, we have barely had a time, when we haven’t been able to use rainwater to cover our watering needs in our frontals.