This week in by BBC Radio Northampton Allotment Diary, I gave advice on saving water in the garden and how to pinch out tomatoes. You can Listen Again (from 3hrs 20mins) HERE or read more water-saving tips below. If you’d like more gardening advice, why not sign up to my newsletter for juicy gems of wisdom to your inbox! 🙂

1. Nothing butt good

Fix water butts to down pipes on sheds and greenhouses and collect as much rainwater as you can. You could even save washing-up water on really dry days as long as it’s not full of harsh detergents.

2. Youngest first

Only water plants that really need it – those recently planted, or those in containers.

3. Prepare ahead

Before planting, dig in lots of bulky compost as this will really help reduce the amount of watering you have to do

4. Ready, aim, water 

Aim your watering can at the roots rather than the leaves to quench where it’s most needed (wet leaves can scorch in hot sun too), or improve your aim even further by inserting plastic bottles or 2-3litre flowerpots into the soil near thirsty plants and watering into these. The water goes straight to the roots.

5. Better late than never

Water early in the morning, or late in the evening, so you don’t lose too much water through evaporation.

6. Good drench

Watering little and often means water barely penetrates the soil and it encourages plant roots to grow near the surface, leaving them vulnerable in hot, dry weather. Instead, try a really good soak once a week (your plants, not you!) and only if the soil feels dry underneath the top two inches.

7. Mulch magic

A thick layer of bark chippings, grass, gravel or homemade compost placed at the base of plants will keep the ground wetter for longer after you’ve watered – and add valuable nutrients too.

8. Scrub a dub dub

Don’t let bathwater drain down the pipes. As long as it doesn’t contain masses of bubble bath or detergents, it can be used to water your plants. Simply dredge with a bucket, suction through a pipe down to the ground, or put a rainwater collector and water butt onto your wastepipe from the bathroom to syphon it off.