Watering your garden is simple, right? Not necessarily. Believe it or not, there’s a right way and a wrong way to water your garden. On these hot days of summer, wasting water can be a real drain on local water systems. The following tips will explain how to conserve water, which is better for the planet – and your wallet!
How to Water
- Aim for the ground. Be sure to water the roots of each plant, not the foliage. This will minimize the amount of water that runs off, not reaching the plant where it needs water most.
- Use a hose. Do not use a sprinkler or sprinkler system. Using a hose will allow you to have more control over where the water is going.
- Water for a long time, less often. This will allow water to percolate deep into the soil, and the plant won’t dry out as quickly. Remember that soil dries from the top down.
When to Water
Water early. Plants should be watered early in the morning. This way, the plants can make use of the water all day. Also, if any water does get on the foliage, it will dry out in the sun. This will reduce fungal growth.
What to Water
- Use native plants. Natives are more adapted to the climate you’re living in and, therefore, require less water.
- Group based on need. Group plants with common water needs together. There will be less waste, since you won’t be trying to water specific plants scattered throughout your garden.
- Keep needy plants separate. Let’s face it – some plants are just more high maintenance than others. The solution? Put plants with high water needs in pots. This way, you can monitor specific plant needs and give these plants the attention they require.
Use what nature gives you. In the summer months, when it does rain, most water will simply run off and not absorb into the soil. Collect the runoff from roofs and driveways with rain barrels, swales, and rain gardens. (Spoiler alert: we will be featuring rain barrels and rain gardens in future posts – stay tuned!)
Keeping Soil Wet
- Mulch. Mulch. Mulch. Mulch holds in moisture, so you don’t have to water as often.
- Take cover. Use ground cover plants in bare soil spots. This will help shade the ground, keeping it cooler and wetter.
- Let your lawn go. Consider letting your lawn grow to at least three inches during the summer months. This will lengthen the roots and help shade the soil. Remember that dry soil is harder to get wet than moist soil!
Hopefully you’ve learned some new tricks and tips that will allow you to spend less time and money watering your garden, and more time enjoying it!