Getting to the root of the problem

Getting to the root of the problem

by Jez Hall

The other day I was talking to my neighbour about the possibility of him watering the pots and tubs in my garden whilst I was away. We were discussing the fact that even though we have had a lot of rain recently, the ground was still pretty dry and those pots and tubs were very susceptible to drying out completely if not watered regularly.

It's a similar issue when planting new shrubs - so many times we pour water onto dry ground, only to find it runs away from our new plant. Getting water down to the roots can be a problem, and during dry weather new plants must be kept moist of they will just die.

Now my Mum is very, very, keen on the occasional G&T - for medicinal purposes of course, and she has come up with an ingenious way of getting rid of all those old Schweppes bottles. A DIY watering system to deliver water directly to the roots of plants.

To start, cut the bottle in half carefully using scissors, which basically leaves you with a funnel (you don't need the bottle-top or cut-off end of the bottle). When planting, also plant the funnel with the pointy end of the bottle at the roots of the plant. Back-fill with soil around the plant and bottle, and then fill the bottle with gravel so it all looks nice and pro.

Then using a watering can you can pour water into the bottle which will go right down into the roots. You will be amazed how quickly the water soaks down, so you can fill it again right away. My mum used six of these (she had plenty to spare) last summer when planting a row of climbing plants against a fence where the soil was very dry. It was quick, easy and successful as the climbers took off and looked great. A nice way of recycling and getting your plants off to a good start - for nothing!
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