To make the most of water, it pays to use it economically. It helps to understand the needs of plants and use techniques to prevent water loss from plants and soil.
Suitable for All garden plants, edibles and lawns.
Timing All year round, but mainly May- September.
Difficulty Moderately easy
When to water
Ideally water plants early in the morning, to avoid evaporation loss during the day. On warm summer days, evening watering is also likely to be effective, the dry soil soaking it in readily and low humidity at night reducing risk of disease.
To determine the need for watering, inspect the soil at a spade's depth, there is unlikely to be any need to water, but if it is dry, then watering is probably required for some plants.
Be aware that clay soils can feel damp even when all available water has been used and sand soils can feel dry even if some water is available. The only way around this is to develop experience in matching the observed state of an individual garden's soil to the growth rate of the plants. Wilting is usually preceded by changes in leaf position and darkening of leaf colour.
For plants in pots, the compost looking paler or feeling dry to the touch and the pot becoming lighter in weight （and consequently more prone to blowing over) are all signs that the compost is beginning to dry and is in need of water.
How to water
It is better to water the garden before drought really sets in, to keep the soil moisture levels even and avoid soil moisture deficits building up.
Once drought has set in, it is futile to try and remedy this by light watering over a wide area. Light watering may encourage surface rather than deep roots, leaving plants more susceptible to drought. Instead, make a single thorough watering of the plants that are suffering. Try to water in the cool of the evening or the very early morning, so that less water is lost immediately to evporation.
Watering should never be carried out where drainage is poor, as adding water will do more harm than good. Roots are every susceptble to airloss conditions, particularly when the soil is warm in summer.