Water is an extremely precious commodity and no doubt that many keen gardeners will have been affected by hose pipe bans at some time or other. The fact is that there are so many different ways in which you can conserve water in the garden. Some methods are more obvious than others but, in many instances, it’s simply a matter of knowing all the different tricks and tips which will help you become a much more environmentally friendly gardener which, after all, is what most gardeners would aspire to be.
Collecting rainwater in water butts and other containers is one of the best ways to conserve water to be used again whenever there’s a dry spell. Of course, you need to be careful how you collect it and to make sure the container is safe and secured from any small children or pets which could drown if they fell into it or from creepy crawlies which could get into it but your garden centre will be able to advise you on the many different types of secure rainwater collection systems and containers that are on the market. Water butts can also be fitted to pipes and used to collect water which has been used for the washing machine, dishwasher, bath tub etc. which can all be used again on the garden. Obviously, grey, used water should be dispersed onto the soil and not directly onto any fruit or vegetable plants you intend to eat and you should only use biodegradable detergents if you’re looking to recycle your water in this way.
Mulching and Compost
Using mulch like bark, gravel and wood chips helps to prevent water evaporation which also hinders weed growth which, in turn, saves water. Composting is very easy to do and the valuable nutrients contained within a compost heap help to keep the soil moist.
Water Your Garden at an Appropriate Time
Grass can stay healthy for longer than you’d think without needing to be manually watered but in a real dry, barren spell, the best time to water your garden is either in the early morning or, even better still, when the sun goes down at dusk as the grass will benefit from having all evening, overnight and early morning to reap the benefits of the water before the sun dries it out.
Use a Watering Can
Hoses use far more water than your garden and plants need. Yes, they might be quicker than using a watering can but you will be conserving water better if you use a can. Sprinkler systems and water conservation simply don’t go together so if you care enough about the latter, you should ditch your sprinkler system.
Pipes and Plumbing
Always check your external pipes, connections and plumbing to ensure that you’re not suffering from water loss through leakage. Even a dripping tap will waste gallons of water over a relatively short period if it is left undetected or is not repaired.
Every drop of water that you use in the garden should be going on keeping the plants you want alive and not the plants you don’t want so you need to weed your garden regularly, especially in the summer months as weeds get thirsty too and for every one of those you feed, a much loved plant is missing out.
There are other things you can do to help conserve water in the garden. Planting away from strong drying winds will mean that your plants can retain their water for longer. One thorough soak a week of your plants in a dry period is far better than watering them little and often. By dousing them once a week, their roots will grow deeper as they probe more deeply for the water well below the surface so they’ll become stronger as a result.