Renewed spring droughts can cause problems for your garden

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ALTHOUGH most Mediterranean climate zones of Spain had a little spring rain, it was not enough to build up reserves in the water tables of many gardens and agricultural areas. So at present it would be wise to assume we may well experience another dry spell.
Fortunately gardens in which soils were improved before making plantings are suffering little and watering systems need not yet be used or turned up high. This included the wise use of a little TerraCottem water storing soil improver at the base of planting holes and roots. The base of cuttings were planted deep, plantings were mainly drought resistant plants, deep mulchings were then made and close plantings ensured that all the surface of soils and mulchings were in continuous shade.
Year by year notice is being taken of such practical and sensible approaches to Mediterranean gardening and fewer and fewer plants such as northern European-style annuals are being planted. For those that have yet to take such steps, the book ‘How to use less water in your garden’ and its new sister translation into Spanish ‘Como usar menos agua en tu jardin’ are now both available inexpensively from Amazon Books UK and Es.
Unfortunately the watering that does need to be done is made more difficult by low water pressures caused by those property owners who empty their swimming pools each spring to clean and then refill them, rather than taking steps to keep their pools clean throughout the year, and also grit in main distribution water pipes blocking the filters installed before water meters.
In some areas even more havoc is being caused by the cutting back on the maintenance of the pumps used to extract water from bore holes that has occurred during the economic recession.
Not far from us, 100 houses and a dozen large chicken farms have been without water for a week while the spare pump which broke down some years ago is now urgently repaired to replace the pump that broke down last week.
Fortunately those that live in a house built more than 30 years ago are not bothered by such happenings as they have large storage tanks under the house or adjacent terrace to store rain water or mains water. Some were built wisely with a year’s water capacity. It would make sense to reintroduce this practice, especially if global warming is to continue. I mention ‘is to continue’ as there are now books being published to warn us of the new tendency towards global cooling.
Might our grandchildren see the start of the mini ice age like that which affected Spain from around 1450 until 1850 and enabled the ice houses one finds in the inland valleys along the Costas to be used as communal fridges and deep freezers?
I notice that it is now light outside so I’m off to do a little watering before the pressure drops from more pool fillings. 

© Dick Handscombe
www.gardenspain.com
May 2015

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