5 Water Wise Gardening Tips
How to maintain a beautiful garden and conserve our most precious resource at the same time.
How inappropriate to call this planet Earth when it is clearly Ocean.
Arthur C. Clarke
People, plants, animals…. we all need water and with the crisis that is happening down in California right now, I believe we are starting to wake up about this precious resource.
As a gardener, I welcome rainy days throughout the summer to give my garden a nice refreshing drink. In fact, the perfect weather would be 3 hot sunny days followed by one big rainy storm… repeat.
But since we cannot control the weather and must try as homeowners to maintain a balance in our gardens, here’s a few ways you can create a water wise garden.
#1 Mulch and Organic Matter
Sandy soils allow water to drain too quickly. Adding well rotted compost to beds improves their water holding capacity. Top dressing garden beds with bark mulch helps conserve moisture from evaporation. Just doing these two simple steps of improving the soil can have a big impact on providing adequate moisture to the roots of your plants
When I plant my bulbs in fall, I cover it with a decorative bark mulch design. Once spring hits, it simply just gets worked into the ground.
#2 Reduce Your Lawn Area
How much of that lawn are you using anyway? This resource gobbling monster is anything but environmental. We use electric or gas powered mowers to cut grass that is carted away by fuel driven trucks to another area for disposal.
Then we douse it with fertilizers and pour tons of water on it to keep it green. If that’s not enough, our obsession with perfection will have us spraying chemical crap all over it to prevent what we call weeds. Bees on the other hand see those dandelions as food.
So would you like me to tell you what I really think about grass? I think you get the point. I could probably write a whole post on this subject alone!
I’m not saying we should get rid of it all together, but it’s really useless unless you’re out there enjoying it everyday… I mean lawn bowling, Bocci Ball, picnics etc. Are you?
Turn areas of your lawn into garden beds to grow food or create a rock garden and plant drought tolerant plants. If you like to entertain, extend your party pad a little further and reduce the lawn area.
My final word on grass…. it is happiest in cooler seasons. Once the hot summer weather comes along, it goes dormant and rests which means its okay for it to turn brown, it’s supposed too! Falls cooler temperatures spring it back to life so why are we ‘forcing’ it to keep performing when it’s against its natural rhythms? Let it go brown and forget about it.
#3 Group Plants Closer Together
This idea of having neat little rows between your vegetables or perfectly weeded garden beds with perfectly manicured soil around your shrubs is ridiculous. All that water coming out of a sprinkler to water areas where nothing is growing is such a waste!
Double or Triple your veggie bed rows together. Why does every lettuce variety need its own row? They look great growing on mass together. Check out my post on how I saved space AND water by doing this
#4 Design a Water Wise Garden
There are SO many plants out there that are drought tolerant once established. Try creating a dry river bed for an interesting design feature in the garden and plant some grasses and Coreopsis along its banks.
Make a rain garden where you can collect ground water into a basin. Plant water hungry plants at the bottom of slopes to absorb run off. Play with different mulches, whether they are bark or rock to create an interesting design that looks great year round.
If you live somewhere that doesn’t get much rain, then don’t try to push the envelope on what you can grow with out a lot of water. Work with your climate but have fun doing it.
#5 Conserve and Save Water
This is the most obvious of all and so simple to do. Little things like checking for tap leaks, turning off the water while you brush your teeth, washing dishes in a dish pan and tossing this into the garden. All small steps that make a huge difference over time.
Drip irrigation is ideal as you can get hoses that allow you to place emitters right where you need them. Your washing machine grey water can be redirected into the garden with simple kits.
Olla Pot’s are a plant saver and are ideal for people too busy to take care of their gardens and especially perfect for vacation time! If you are worried about your container plants when you go away, these water holding vessels are going to take care of them for you.
I recently met with Josh from Growoya Pot’s and he shared with me his passion for the planet and his plants. I love the difference these pot’s are making in my garden and you will too… check these out!
And here’s how to install an Olla pot in your garden:
Lastly, collect rain water like I did with a rain barrel. I have an area at the front of my house that requires stretching a hose to and it just so happens to be the most hottest and thirstiest place in my garden.
See how I made a $30 Rain barrel in minutes here:
Being green isn’t easy… it’s right. Find ways you can save water and know that you are contributing to our Earth Mother one precious drop at a time!
Guess what all you garden peeps! I’m hosting a Radio Show every Wednesday at 7pm EST on NaturesChannel.FM Here’s the latest show on water wise gardening.
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