In most places in the United States we’re lucky. Clean water is readily available. It means we can easily garden and not worry so much about if we’re being efficient about it. But many areas are increasingly dealing with stressed water supplies, and it’s expected to get worse in years to come.
Now is a great time to get into the habit of watering efficiently in your garden.
A simple way to water garden plants more efficiently is to use a soaker hose. Rather than spray water up into the air, it delivers water directly to the ground. It’s slow, of course, but you lose much less water to evaporation. You turn the water on a very low setting, so even though it takes more time to water the plants you’re using less water. Just set a timer so you don’t forget what you’re doing.
Another step you may be able to take is to catch rain water. Some states have very strict rules about rain water capture, so you have to do research to ensure that your rain barrel system is legal. But if you can legally capture the water, it’s a wonderful way to keep watering your garden.
It’s also a good idea to look at garden plants that are right for the climate in your area. You don’t want a garden that needs tons of water if you live in an area that is prone to droughts or water restrictions. Know the planting zone you live in and pay attention to that when you buy seeds and plants. And don’t ignore any local issues that may make it wise to be still more cautious with your garden.
Mulching the soil around your plants also allows you to water less. The mulch will help slow evaporation, so once again you can save water.
If you’re planting a food garden, there’s only so much you can do about water use. There aren’t many people who can successfully plan a xeriscape vegetable garden. You’re probably going to need to use water to get a good harvest.
But if it’s more decorative, take a good look at native plants. Look at drought resistant plants if you live where that’s likely to be a problem. Really think about what’s going into your soil.
This kind of planning is a help in decreasing how much water you use for the more decorative parts of your garden. Plants whose water needs are more in line with what comes naturally to the area will thrive with much less effort on your part. You can find beautiful native plants in most areas.
Don’t give up entirely on gardening if you have the space just because you want to save water. Gardening is a wonderful way to keep in touch with nature and to help children to really appreciate nature. You can maintain a lovely garden and be wise in your water use.