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‘Order in the house’

‘It is easy to neglect a green-house in winter, but its beds of salads, pots of herbs and trays of seedlings will still be growing, if only slowly. They will need water – but not too much and not too often. Test the soil and the compost in pots with your fingers – do not water unless it is just dry below the surface. And when you do water, direct it at the plants’ roots, trying not to get it on the leaves or around the greenhouse. Fungal diseases flourish on damp foliage and in a stale, humid atmosphere.

A well-balanced watering can with a long spout makes it much easier to put water where you want it. I favour Haws Deluxe watering cans (0121-420 2494, haws.co.uk), but for even tighter control you can get cans that have a valve in the spout and release water only when you push a button on the handle (Nucan, nucan.co.uk).

Give plants in pots just enough water to soak them – stop before it starts streaming out from the bottom. For plants in beds, preventing run-off from dry soil can be more difficult. Try using a trowel or spade to make a shallow trench (about 5cm deep) in between rows, and water into these. Alternatively, recycle plastic drinks bottles as funnels. Cut them off at the bottom and push them, neck downwards, into the ground at regular intervals.

Most important, always choose a bright, mild, breezy morning to water and then leave the greenhouse vents open for a few hours. This will dry up the splashes and give your plants a much-needed change of air.’

Sue Stickland
The Guardian, Saturday 10 December 2005

source:  http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2005/dec/10/gardens1

Related links:

Order in the house

The Guardian – Gardens

The Guardian

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