June 29, 2012

How to Save Water While Watering Your Lawn and Garden

It’s almost July and it’s really hot outside! Some areas are lacking rain which can kill your lawn and garden. So how is a person supposed to keep their lawn and garden alive during times of summer heat and water restrictions?  There are ways to use less water, save money, and not break those restrictions.

1.  Use grey water to water your plants.

Grey water is simply the water that comes from washing your clothes, dishes, and taking a bath.

It is hot here in the south. There have been several summers that we have had water restrictions. During one of those times we had just planted some bushes in our flower beds. I didn’t want my bushes to die so whenever I gave my kids a bath, I wouldn’t drain the tub.  I would scoop the water with buckets and carry it outside.  Each bush got a full bucket of water each night which soaked the plant.  It wasn’t as convenient as turning on the hose, but it kept my plants from dying.  You might want to avoid using water with harsh detergents on fruit and vegetable plants.

2.  Get a rain barrel. 

You might be skeptical and think that you won’t get enough rain to fill up a rain barrel, but rain barrels can collect hundreds of gallons from one rain shower.

One year I had planted a new tree and along came another drought with water restrictions. I didn’t want my new expensive tree to die.  Sometimes hot summers bring storms.  I didn’t have a rain barrel, but I did have a big 55 gallon trash can. When I knew the storm was coming, I took the end spout off of my gutter and put my big trash can under the spout. I filled up the trash can, some buckets, and other trash cans I had around the house.  I kept those barrels and cans under my carport to use for watering.  (As always, use caution. You should not go outside and do this when it is lightning.)

A rain barrel continuously collects rain. You can attach a water hose to your rain barrel so that you can easily water your plants.  If you are handy, you might consider watching Youtube videos or reading tutorials online for information on making your own rain barrel.

3.  Place mulch, compost, or grass clippings around plants to keep the soil moist. 

Don’t throw away your grass clippings.  Use a bagger on your lawn mower and put those clippings in your garden.  Mulch, compost, pine needles, and grass clippings keep the soil from drying out.  It’s probably too late to make compost for this year’s garden, but you can begin this now for future use.

4.  Water your plants and lawn in the evenings.

If you water your lawn and garden during the hottest times of the day the water will evaporate from the ground too quickly.  To be more efficient with your watering, water during cooler times of the day.  Watering at night will allow the water to soak into the ground and be useful to the plants before it evaporates.

5.  Think of other nonconventional ways to collect water.

Several drought situations have caused me to really think about the liquid I was tossing down the sink.

Each day when I came home from work I would save the water I didn’t drink from my water jug.  Save those few ounces of coffee from the coffee pot rather than pouring them out. Plants actually like coffee.  Save the water from where you have boiled potatoes or pasta.  Put a bucket in your shower while you are waiting for your shower water to warm up.  Keep the water from your dehumidifier tank. If you stop and think about for a few minutes, we waste a lot of water each day.

This is a good start but certainly doesn’t cover all of the ways to save water on your lawn and garden. Please add your tips in the comments section below. Thanks!

image by lespowell


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