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Water butts in schools are great to get children playing and learning about saving rainwater

The kids at Lady Elizabeth Hastings school in Thorp Arch near Wetherby have a great new activity garden built by a team of willing Parents. They have no water supply down there so they’ve built a Playhouse to collect rainwater in their Rainwater Terraces. They can’t wait to get planting!

school water butt with planters

Rainwater Terrace water butts come in a range of sizes that includes this low level water butt which is the perfect height for children to get involved in recycling rainwater whilst growing herbs, flowers and salad vegetables in the self watering planter pods.

Saving rainwater in the garden

Saving water in the garden can sometimes be difficult especially on hot dry summer days, here's a few tips to get you started.
  • Install a water butt. You will be grateful for hundreds of liters of free natural rainwater to keep your plants and lawn hydrated.

  • Use mulch around your plants, this stops the soil becoming dry in the first place and decreases evaporation on warm days.

  • Reseach drought tolerant plants, its good to have a few plants in the garden that dont require regular watering. Some examples are :- Echinacea, Ceanothus, Geranium and Red hot poker.

  • Lawns: It can be difficult keeping a lawn green in the summer months try raising your cut height this will keep some extra moisture in also reducing the frequency of mowing can help protect your lawn fro drying out. 

  • With watering little and often doesn't always do the job as the water evaporates and only reaches the top level of soil which encourages the roots to grow upwards.  A good soak every 7-10 days is more effective as the water travels deeper in to the soil saturating the ground.

Ideas for the gardener that is short of space

It is often hard to find space inside for young plants that are not yet hardened to the cooler nights in early spring.

Not every one has space for a greenhouse so a good solution is to use a a temporary greenhouse made out of a clean pp storage box.

2 storage boxes (with lids) filled with 8-10 cm of good compost, plug plants can easily be planted in rows using tape to label each variety.

Mini greenhouse for plug plants

On a night or if it rains heavily the lid goes on the boxes to ensure that the young fragile plants are not damaged.
 

Now the perennial plug plant lucky dip from Thomson & Morgan can be toughened up without the risk of frost damage in late April. 

The collection includes the following plants :-

A, Achillea Cassis

B, Aquilegia Swan Mixed

C, Armeria Ballerina Mixed

D, Chrysanthemum White Knight

E, Digitalis (Foxglove) Dalmation Mixed

F, Delphinium Pacific Giants

G, Rudbeckia All Sorts

H, Geum Double Blazing Sunset

I/J Lavandula (Lavender) Stoechas

K/L Antirrhinum Madamme Butterfly