Water is not only a commodity that is vital to humans but also to our plant and animal life. As the warmer weather approaches people are put under pressure to conserve water and use it sparingly to ensure that reservoirs and rivers don’t run dry through over use. Keen gardeners often struggle during these months to ensure that their gardens continue to thrive. The following hints can ensure that your garden stays blooming even in a drought.
For low maintenance and less water intensive gardens you may wish to gravel or deck a previously lawned area. For animal lovers who wish to attract wildlife to their garden this may not be desirable so in this case it is about better watering techniques to maximize wildlife without increasing water consumption.
When planting, make sure you have a good collection of ground covering plants as this will reduce evaporation from the soil. Another good way to do this is to spread mulch over soiled areas as this will slow down the evaporation process.
Choosing plants that are native to your individual area will also save on watering as they will be less reliant on regular watering over and above exotic varieties as they are familiar with the soil and weather conditions.
Using bark chippings in flowerbeds will also mean that water is stored for longer in the ground and means that any rainfall is drawn into the ground rather than running off. When choosing pots for your garden, choose waterproof ones that are less prone to water loss. Planting long or ornamental grasses can also help trap moisture in the ground for longer.
There are a number of ways you can recycle water too. Using a rain barrel can catch water from the drainpipes on your house. Rain Barrel
This is kind of a no-brainer, but I know that many people don’t have them because ready-made rain barrels can be pretty pricey. Luckily, there are very good instructions online for making your own, inexpensively:
– MAKE: Magazine has instructions for not only making a single barrel, but also for linking two or more together.
– Instructables shows how to make your own rain barrel with standard hardware store parts.
– Here are instructions from the city of Raleigh, NC for how to make a rain barrel from a plastic trash can.
Water that has passed its use inside the home is of great value outside and can be used to help your garden thrive. Left over washing from washing up by hand or from bathing is suitable for your plants and by using eco friendly products to bathe in and wash pots will mean the water can be used directly on the garden.
Not just for gardens
While household tap water is fine for gardens, people are often opposed to drinking it themselves. However, it is a myth that the water from the household tap is bad to drink when a good quality filter is installed. Most can remove many contaminants without impacting on the end product in terms of minerals that are essential to good health. The developed world is very blessed to have easy access to a good source of drinking water, to not take advantage of this natural resource in favor of over processed bottled water is damaging to the environment and wasteful to the wallet.
Figures from Food and Water Watch report that using an average filter in the home costs between $0.10 to $0.20 per gallon. Bottled water costs between $0.80 to $8.26 per gallon, so water filtration at home is far more cost effective, even if consumers opt for a more expensive system.
On average taking a mid range for both options the annual costs are around $55 for a water pitcher filter versus $1669 for bottled water.
More information is available here: http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/water/bottled/