Drought Conditions

Following the announcement from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) of drought conditions in the southeast of the UK, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Members’ Advisory Service has issued some information for gardeners.
The charity suggests four key things to do to protect plants in drought conditions. Firstly RHS experts advise that soil cultivation is of key importance. Gardeners should dig in large amounts of garden compost, manure or other organic matter. This will help improve soil structure and in turn will help water retention and water availability to plants.
Planting plants when they are still small is the second suggestion. Plants will then develop much greater resilience by adapting to their conditions from a young age. Planting in autumn or as early as possible in spring could also be beneficial: the sooner roots can start exploring the soil for water before dry weather arrives, the better.
Mulching after planting can help limit water loss from soil and promote a good root environment. This will help the retention of moisture while plants establish. All new plants should be thoroughly watered and kept watered in the first season in dry periods, to ensure they establish well. Once established they will become more drought tolerant.
The charity’s final suggestion is to choose the right plant for a particular garden soil. If a plant is growing in the soil most suited to its needs it will be more tolerant of varying climatic conditions. It will also be more resistant to pests and disease.
RHS Plant Selector, which is free and available on RHS Online is an ideal tool for gardeners wanting to select plants suitable for their local soil conditions, and also for the particular aspect where the plants will grow.
Researchers have found a lake of water so large that it could provide each person on Earth an entire planet’s worth of water–20,000 times over.
The water is in a cloud around a huge black hole that is in the process of sucking in matter and spraying out energy (such an active black hole is called a quasar), and the waves of energy the black hole releases make water by literally knocking hydrogen and oxygen atoms together.
The official NASA news release describes the amount of water as “140 trillion times all the water in the world’s oceans.”
And it’s not as if this intergalactic water can be of any use to us here on Earth, of course, at least not in the immediate sense. Indeed, the discovery comes as a devastating drought across eastern Africa is endangering the lives of 10 million people. NASA’s water discovery should be a reminder that if we have the sophistication to discover galaxies full of water 12 billion light years away, we should be able to save people just an ocean away from drought-induced starvation.

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