How to keep borders and beds from drying out when water is scarce.

In these intense summers, it is really common for the top of the soil in beds and borders to dry out. This not only damages shallow rooted plants, but it can also stop water from penetrating the soil easily, leading to water running off or flooding.
The best way to keep soil capable of retaining and transporting water is to ensure it is healthy and aerated. One of the best ways to do this is to top dress your soil.

The key to viable, healthy, and alive soil is to work with nature, not against it!

Adding good quality organic matter (Manure, compost, bark) on to your beds and borders can help maintain the health of your soil in several ways.

  1. Top dressing bare soil helps to block sunlight. Blocking the intense sun of hot summers days will help to prevent the soils beneath from drying up. Things like gravel or bark can also be used for this purpose, as they will allow water to flow freely.
  2. Organic matter is great at retaining water. Manure and compost can be much better at holding onto water than non-organic rich soil. This is why many people will use moss in hanging baskets and containers as it acts like a sponge.
  3. It can encourage the soils inhabitants like worms, to work through the soil creating channels for the air and water to transverse (they also produce a very beneficial waste!).
  4. It can help supress weeds! Supressing weeds will help take away some of the demand for the precious water.