Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Smart and Easy Garden Watering with Less Water

Smart and Easy Garden Watering with Less Water

1.     Add Compost and Other Organic Matter to Garden Soil:  Organic matter, such as compost helps soils to absorb water like a sponge, instead of allowing it to all drain away.

2.     Mulch: Mulch is your garden soil’s great friend.  A layer of mulch helps to keep soil from drying out, keeps weeds from sprouting, and breaks down to become organic mater in your garden soil, further increasing your soil’s water retention.  On your annual beds, spread straw or leaves in a 3-4 inch layer over your garden soil, being careful not to cover or crowd your plants. In your perennial beds, use wood chips if you have them.

3.     Water the Soil, Not the Leaves: A drip hose puts the water into the soil, where it needs to go, and keeps plant leaves dry, which helps keep disease under control.  You can place mulch over a drip hose, further conserving water in your garden. Once in place, a drip hose will save you time, and can even be set with an automatic timer, watering without you having to be home!  Instructions to make a drip hose out of a leaky old hose are below.

4.     Water Deeply and Less Often:  Water deeply to fully soak the soil, then wait until it is nearly dry again to water.  This encourages deep roots to grow, which will make the plant more resilient to drought and other stresses. 

5.     Dig Swails: Swails are trenches dug along the curve of a hill to capture water running down the incline.  Dig a 6” deep trench along the downhill side of a garden bed, and fill it in with wood chips to keep water close to your garden plants. 

6.     Limit Weeds:  Weeds drink up water from your soils!

7.     Save Rainwater: Using a rainwater catchment system, you can significantly reduce your municipal water usage. 

Making a drip hose with an old busted hose:
  • Get new life out of an old leaky garden hose by turning it into a drip hose.  Once they are in place, drip hoses help save time and water! 
  • Take your hose and place it over some scrap wood.   Starting where the hose will actually be watering the soil, use a 1/16th drill bit to drill a hole every 2-3”.  
  • Shake out the little bits that were drilled out, and attach hose to spigot.  Flush out the hose with water.  If you won’t be connecting the end of this hose to another, you will need to clamp off the end.  This can be done by cutting off the metal at the end, then folding the end back and securing with some wire or a small clamp. 
  • Place the drip hose on top of the soil as close to the plant roots as you can manage, anchoring the hose with ground pins.  Start by turning the drip hose on for 20 minutes, adjusting the watering time as your garden needs! 

1 comment:

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