by Michael Smith (Veshengro)
It is important, especially nowadays, that we all protect our precious water sources and water resources by using water wisely. This does bot mean, however, that you have to let your yard and garden dry up completely. The trick is to know when to water and how much water to use on the plants and also and especially as well as what to plant and when. The following tips will help you water less often and more effectively.
Please also remember that everything that you put in or on your plants and lawn to make them grow is also going to find its way either onto your skin or into your vegetables, and the excess will go into the groundwater.
Chemicals do not all decompose into meaningless neutral entities. On the contrary rather. If you have not done so already, it might be advisable to make a change t to organic or natural fertilizers and insecticides. They are safer to handle, safer for your pets and safer for your kids, plus they don't contaminate the groundwater.
1./ Plant in the early spring or fall when watering requirements are lower and rains more likely. This gives smaller plants a good start and you don't have to worry about watering as much.
2./ Make sure your sprinkler isn't watering the roof, driveway, sidewalk or, worse yet, the street. Using the kitchen timer is a helpful way to remember to turn the sprinkler off.
3./ Spring is the perfect time to start a compost pile. Compost adds water-holding organic matter to the soil as well as fertilizer, keeps weeds down, reduces landfill waste and water waste from kitchen disposal use.
4./ Put mulch around plants to help keep water from evaporating. It also benefits you by keeping weeds down.
5./ Water your lawn when you notice you leave footprints when walking across it, that's an obvious indicator that it is dry.
6./ Set your mower higher. Longer grass shades itself and keeps water from evaporating.
7./ Use pervious paving options for driveways, walks and patios so your water does not run off into the sewer or retention ponds. Turn downspouts so that they drain away from the house and into bushes and gardens.
8./ Plants that are watered deeply need less frequent watering and send roots deeper, making them heartier.
9./ Group plants with the same watering needs together to get the most out of your watering time.
10./ Plant trees to help lower air and soil temperatures, reducing plant and soil moisture loss. (They also keep your house cooler in summer and warmer in winter.) One word of warning on that, however, and that is that lots of trees around your properly can also make the house dark and the garden too moist and lacking light for proper growing.
11./ Water lawns during the early morning hours when temperatures and wind speed are the lowest. This reduces losses from evaporation. However, in reality you do not, unless your zoning laws require you to do so (and then the authorities should pay you for doing so), have to water grass at all. I know that it gets brown when not watered under semi-drought and full drought conditions, but it reinvigorates immediately once the water returns. So far I have not found any lawn that has gotten brown that did not revitalize after a little rain. My advice would not to waste valuable water on grass. If you think that you have to water your lawns then also remember not to water your lawn on windy days. After all, sidewalks and driveways do not need water. Also avoid over fertilizing your lawn. The application of fertilizers increases the need for water.
12./ Replace worn washers between the spigot and hose to prevent leaking, and use a hose with a shut-off nozzle, which can be used to adjust water flow as needed. And turn off the hose at the spigot instead of at the nozzle to avoid leaks.
13./ Drip hoses and sprinklers work great for large areas, but water small areas by hand to avoid waste. Use a watering can for raised beds and tubs and such, whether those are used for flowers or for growing produce.
14./ Add rain barrels to catch rain off the roof. They are more popular now and are available in many sizes. Many include faucets and attach easily to down spouts.
© M Smith (Veshengro), June 2008