Since 50% of water used by the average Western home goes to gardens, conservation of this valuable resource can begin outdoors.
Practicing smart gardening can reduce water waste by having an active water management plan.
For the home gardener this focuses on careful planning, thoughtful plant selection, scientific principles, cultural practices proven to reduce water use and efficient irrigation methods. Here are several ideas to incorporate in order to help save water in the garden.
1) Limit lawn size to meet the purpose of the space.
2) Select plants which are well adapted to our climate, such as natives or those from regions of the world which share local conditions.
3) Group plants with similar water needs together.
4) Irrigate based on soil texture. Plants growing in sandy soil require more frequent watering, in small amounts. Plants growing in clay soil require more water, less frequently and more slowly.
5) Amend soil. Organic matter, in the form of compost, aids sandy soil to retain moisture and clay soil to increase its absorption.
6) Apply mulch.
7) Use efficient watering systems. Drip irrigation systems, drip tapes, soaker hoses or basin bubblers deliver low volumes of water to the plant roots instead of watering the whole bed.
8) Water deeply by allowing the system to run long enough to wet the entire root zone. Then allow the top few inches of soil to dry out before watering again.
9) Monitor soil moisture.
10) Measure your water use.
11) Prevent runoff. On slopes, level out the soil over the root zone, so that water can seep in instead of running off.
12) Water only the target area to avoid sprinkling walkways, driveways or the side of the house.
13) Adjust controllers according to weather and seasons, watering less in cool weather, and more in hot or windy weather.
14) Maintain your irrigation system, checking frequently for leaks, clogs or misdirected sprinklers and emitters.
15) Keep records, noting water use for various areas of your landscape throughout the year.
16) Utilize technology with an automated irrigation controller, which automatically adjusts watering times based on temperature, rainfall and plant/soil type. Although not cheap, beginning around $100 and going up from there, they can reduce water use by as much as 30 to 70%.
Source: Sierra Sun Times (By Ingrid Angelini, Master Gardener)
A great source of water for garden irrigation is free – rain water! Plants and lawn have been proven to respond much better to being irrigated with rainwater rather than chemical-laden municipal water. Harvesting rainwater is relatively easy and inexpensive and it will save you on your water bill. The rainwater in your rain barrel or rainwater tank can be used for other purposes too – flushing toilets, bath/shower water and it can be used for drinking water as long as it is appropriately filtered. Plastic water tanks are affordable, easy to transport and install and relatively long lasting – they don’t rust! But be sure to choose a high quality FDA-approved water tank such as those made by JoJo Tanks in South Africa. Browse through the various JoJo Tanks products on offer by clicking the links below.
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