With summer comes hot weather and dry days, so naturally you have to water your garden.
Because water is precious and conservation is essential, we have to be more water wise. So let’s talk about a few ways to conserve water in the garden. By the way, tax rebates may be available for implementing some of these tips, so make sure to check with your local government.
- Add organic matter to the soil.
Compost is a great fertilizer, but it also helps reduce the plants’ need for water.
- Add mulch.
Adding mulch around your plants helps reduce evaporation and cools the soil. Good mulch actually can help reduce a plant’s water need as much as 50%. (For our vegetable garden, we use straw and old leaves from our trees.) Add about 1-3 inches of mulch. You will be amazed how fast mulch will break down, which actually adds nutrients to the soil.
- Let the lawn go brown…or remove the grass.
Grass requires incredible amounts of water, so naturally it is not very water wise. If you want to conserve water in the garden, you might let the lawn turn brown. We used to have lots of grass in our garden, but then made the decision to remove it in order to reduce our water bill. You actually can save as much as 70 gallons of water per week by replacing grass with heat-tolerant landscaping.
- Grey water
You can reduce water usage by 50% by installing a grey water system that collects and cleans water from your shower, sink and washing machine, then transports it into the garden.
- Harvest rainwater.
Rainwater harvesting is an easy way to save money and conserve water for your garden. I know that if it does not rain often where you live, to suggest harvesting rainwater sounds strange. But, believe me, those few times it rains really can fill up a rain barrel. And that water can be used for so much.
- Water during the cool part of the day.
Figure out the coolest time of the day, and water plants then. It’s the best time because you’ll limit evaporation. Here in San Diego we always water after 7 pm, when the sun is setting.
- Give plants shade.
For the super hot part of the year, we provide shade for our plants by covering them with a fiber cloth. This will protect the soil from getting too warm and therefore drying out.