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The Perth Royal Show - Waterwise gardening tips

You can find these tips on the signs placed in the 2015 Perth Royal Show ‘Our State on a Plate LIVE’ garden planters

Waterwise Mulching - The top 5 must do’s

  • Choose an open free draining coarse mulch material such as wood chips, shredded green waste, pebbles, stone or composted organics.
  • Use organic based materials in garden beds in open sunny positions.
  • Materials such as stone, pebble and rubber are okay in shady positions
  • Apply the mulch in a thick layer across the surface of the soil 50 to 100mm deep depending what kind of mulch you use. The more open and coarse the deeper the layer, thinner smaller particle materials should be laid between 50 – 75mm.
  • Replace your mulch every 6 to 12 months as soon as the soil surface appears.

Waterwise Soil improvement - Critical steps to conserve water.

  • Incorporate fine sieved compost into sandy soil to slow drainage of moisture through the top-soil.
  • In exotic plant gardens* corporate clay into the top soil to retain moisture and nutrients around the feeder roots.
  • Apply wetting agents every 6 months and hose in by hand after application to encourage bubbling and frothing a sign the wetting agent is activated.
  • Use red tick waterwise approved potting mixes for all plants grown in pots and always use a tray to capture waste water allowing it to be reused by the plant through capillary action rewetting.
  • Always seek advice from your local waterwise approved garden centre when starting a new garden

Waterwise Irrigation

  • Before planting highly productive plants out in your garden make sure you have carefully planned your garden. Plants placed in the right position and watered with the correct type of irrigation system will make a significant impact in reducing edible garden water consumption. A qualified waterwise irrigation designer can assist in producing a design that provides maximum efficiency.
  • In heavy soils prone to water logging use varieties that thrive in those conditions such as Banana’s, Apples, Pears or some Citrus. In dry garden environments or sandy soils grow trees that produce early crops such as Apricots, peaches and nectarines and deliver fruit before the summer has fully set in. These trees require less water to survive summer heat extremes.
  • When using sprinklers look for types that throw streams of water or have low volume droplet release ahead of traditional pop up sprinkler types.
  • Use drip irrigation buried under mulch for conservative water consumption during summer months.
  • Ensure you have a rain sensor connected to your automatic controller so that water cycles do not run when the plant doesn't need it.
  • Ensure you water according to your watering day roster. On other days hand water when required to sustain your plants health.

Grow the right plants for your garden conditions

  • Plant vegetable varieties that are in season and require little additional water to supplement their growth. Ie Iceberg Lettuce in Autumn and winter, repeat harvest varieties in summer. For more information visit www.thegardengurus.tv
  • Create a wind barrier around your garden to reduce evaporation in summer. Clever design can assist in protecting the garden from drying winds and providing cooler places for more sensitive varieties to be grown.
  • Plant the right fruit tree in the right place. A good guide is the trees origin. If its originated from the Mediterranean or dry climates such as olive, Dates or figs you can be assured of great crops using less water.
  • Grow edibles in containers with water basins at their base. Using waterwell pots will reduce waste and recycle water back to the roots improving water efficiency and crop quality.
  • Prune trees to a size that allows for easy harvest and reduce excess foliage where possible. This reduces transpiration and demand on water resources.
  • Try growing edibles in contained water cycling system such as a hydroponics or Aquaponics system. This reduces evaporation and reduces loss of water draining below the feeder roots.


  • Tomatoes grow the best crops in summer and require little water outside of a standard watering roster once established to provide a great crop. They area  rich source of lycopene and essential vitamins and minerals.
  • Watermelons, rock melons and cucumbers are best watered by using bore water, rain tank water or handwatering on hot days. Plant them in a  position that's dry and shaded in the morning and open and sunny in the afternoon.
  • Fast growing leafy vegetables such as lettuce, spinach and rocket best grown in pots in summer and if you can position them to have afternoon shade it will reduce water demand on hot days.
  • Kale, Cauliflower, Cabbage and the brilliant brassica’s. These amazing plants are easy to grow at home and provide one of the richest sources of nutrients and cancer fighting antioxidants. They are best grown in the winter months and if you grow them in summer grow them in semi shade to reduce their water requirements.
  • Beetroot is one of the easiest vegetables to grow and does well in sandy free draining soils. It's a high source of beta carotene and essential minerals and trace elements vital for a healthy body. Sow seed in early spring or autumn or plant mini starter pots in the summer months and position them in a place where they receive afternoon sun light and protection from strong winds.
  • Tomatoes are easy to grow and they taste better when grown in full sun position allowing the fruit to be naturally ripened. The red colouring in tomatoes is Lycopene and a natural source of antioxidants good for blood, heart and mind health. It is considered vitally important in the fight against prostate cancer and a small portion in a mans diet each day is believed to dramatically improve prostate health.
  • Parsley is often used as a garnish yet its fresh crisp flavor is not its only benefit. Its rich in vitally important in your health as a rich source vitamins that improves your body’s immune system function and kidney function. Parsley grows well in full sun, shade and does really well in pots.
  • Silver beet and Rainbow Chard are easy to grow long term vegetables allowing constant harvest. They provide an unrivalled supply of essential minerals such as magnesium, iron, calcium and potassium and vitamin A. Grow them in pots or in a semi shade position in a garden bed or pot and harvest the younger leaves and you will enjoy the best tasting produce year round.
  • Chillis and Capsicum are rich sources of Capsaicin with Chilli’s have large volumes making them hot to eat. This is good for stomach health and chilli’s can reduce the impact of upset stomachs by killing the bacteria that cause the inflammation. Capsicum help with general health as a great source of Vitamin A and C and are well documented as a immune system booster.
  • Garlic is a well known superfood that should be grown in winter for best results. The antibiotic, antiseptic benefits of garlic on the body are well documented and it provides a natural purge of parasites. It's a rich source of Vitamins and essential minerals and has a good quantity of selenium in it which is a powerful cancer fighting antioxidant. Garlic is best grown in winter using the winter rains to sustain it and if you leave the corms in the soil you will have them regrow next winter.

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