If you’re anything like me, then you can’t wait to dig in and get your gardens started. We have veggie garden seedlings started and are just waiting for the weather and soil to warm up a bit more, and I have big plans for a new front garden. I cannot wait to get started! Last year we invested in a rain barrel to use for watering and tried to minimize the amount of water we used, trying to water our gardens first thing in the morning whenever possible.
There are many ways you can minimize the amount of water you’re using, This guest post is written by Krista from TERRAGANICS Living, where she blogs all about edible gardening. Here she is sharing her best tips on the top 10 ways to save water this summer.
- Brown Grass: Consider letting your grass go brown (aka dormant). This is a popular option and pretty much the norm in many neighbourhoods, including in Seattle. If you live in an area governed by homeowner associations, this might not be an option though. Here is a good post of how to let your grass go brown without killing it HERE.
- Hugelkultur: Say what? Use the Hugelkultur method for gardening. This permaculture method involves burying wood under soil and then the wood will absorb moisture and release it back when needed. You can use unwanted twigs, wood round, whole trees etc.
- Ollas: These unglazed clay jugs called Ollas are the hot new trend, even though they have been around for centuries! They are a good option for edible or ornamental gardens. You bury the vase up to its neck in the soil in between your plants and then fill it with water. Cover the opening to prevent evaporation. The clay vases slowly release moisture into the soil as needed and your plants roots will naturally gravitate to the vases. Fill every 2-3 days, typically.
- Back to Eden: Originally from the Olympic Peninsula in Washington, the Paul Gautschi’s Back to Eden method is a great option for your edible or ornamental gardens. A thick layer of woodchips will absorb and hold moisture, releasing it when the soil needs it. Put a layer of maure or compost on it and when it rains, you have instant compost tea! A two-for-one benefit.
- Time of Day: Time your watering to minimize evaporation and absorption – the best time to water is just before the sun comes up, as it is the coolest time of the day, which means evaporation will be at the minimum. The second best recommendation is watering in the evening, but if you are using anything beside a dripline, your plants will have moisture on their leaves for the night, which can increase your chances for disease. Your best bet is to go with early morning watering!
- Drip Systems: Using a dripline set-up can save you hundreds of dollars in water bills!
- Soaker hoses: If drip systems are not for you, this is the next best thing. Soaker hoses are like big drip lines. I used about 250+ft of soaker hose last year to my corn field in my front yard. You can usually get a 25ft soaker hose for $8 when on sale and you can hook multiple ones up like I did. Note that the more you hook together, the more pressure you need; each soaker hose comes with a pressure regulator disc in it. If you are hooking multiple hoses together, you only need this regulator in the hose hooked up to the water outlet – remove the regulators from the hoses downstream and put in a place you won’t lose them. till not enough pressure? If you have a lot of hoses put together, you may have to completely remove the regulators…be careful playing with the water pressure too much as it will burst your soaker hoses!
- Water deep: By watering deep, you can water less frequently. If you water shallow, your root systems will gravitate to where the soil is moist, which means they will be less deep.
- Rain barrels: In areas where you have quick thunder storms or downpours in the summer, rain barrels or water retention systems are a great option! Free water! For those areas where rainfall in the summer is minimal or non-existent ,a larger water retention system that can hold 100s of gallons of water may be the way you want to go so that you can gather water in the winter to use in the dry months.
- Timers: Install some timers. This will keep you on track to the time of day you want to water and will make sure you water how frequently you want (we all get busy and loose track!). A single timer is quite inexpensive while a fancier 4 zone watering system costs about $50.
For more tips on edible gardening, swing by TERRAGANICS Living.