10 Creative Ways of Saving Water in the Garden & Lawn
It comes as a surprise to many amateur gardeners how expensive gardening can start to become. You have to pay for the seeds, the fertilizers, some special gardening tools, and the utility bill. These days, water is starting to become more and more expensive in certain states and cities. For example, according to a 2014 water pricing survey by the Circle of Blue Organization, the average monthly water bill in Atlanta went up as high as $91.
1. Set up an Olla System
An olla usually comes in the form of a jar and it has been known as one of the most effective water irrigation methods across the world. How does it work? The most common method is to bury the olla near the roots of the plant. Once the olla is set up, the gardener then fills the olla with the appropriate amount of water instead of watering the plant directly. You are conserving water by using this method because less water is lost from evaporation and ground runoffs.
2. Make a Gardening Cloche
A cloche is a translucent cover that does more than just conserve water. One of its primary uses is to protect plants from external factors such as cold weather. Cloches can appear in all sorts of shapes and sizes. The most common gardening cloche is a glass bell jar. Like the olla, cloches can help with conserving water by reducing the amount of water lost through evaporation. Installation is as simple as placing the jar on top of the plant. For an inexpensive solution, gardeners can use plastic material to cover the plants instead. Make sure the cloche is as airtight as possible to maximize the benefits.
3. Using a Rain Barrel
Rain barrels are most useful for places that have on-and-off rain patterns. Gardeners can collect rainwater during the rainy season then put it to use once the dry season takes place. A good rain barrel should have the following features. First, it should have a protective cover on top of the barrel to prevent debris and insects (e.g. mosquitoes) from entering the water tank. Second, it should have a faucet system in place to allow you to easily extract the collected water.
4. Build a Drip Irrigation System
A drip irrigation system is a time-efficient way of watering plants that are spread out across a large yard or garden. The idea behind a drip irrigation system is to keep the ground moist, not soaked. This is achieved by setting the flow rate to a point where only an appropriate amount of water is being fed into the garden bed.
There are several factors to consider when building or buying a drip irrigation system. First, it is important for the tubing that transports the water to be UV resistant.
Second, the system should have a good filter that stops the debris from clogging the whole system. Last but not least, a drip irrigation system should have a decent backflow preventer to ensure that the water is only flowing in one direction.
5. Use the Xeriscaping Method
Xeriscaping is an interesting landscaping technique that makes use of drought-efficient plants. These plants are placed and grown in a way that allows a gardener to save as much water as possible.
With the right structure in place, Xeriscaping could help you reduce your water usage by 50%. One example of this method is to cover the ground surface with mulch. This helps with conserving water because mulch plays a big part in the retention of soil moisture. Another common Xeriscaping method is to created limited turf areas. This means you should only plant grass turf around areas where it makes sense to.
6. Use Dehumidifier Water
Do you live in an uncomfortably humid area? Make use of the water that is collected from a dehumidifier. The water from the dehumidifier cannot be used for drinking purposes but can be used for gardening purposes. This, however, should not be the only source of water you used to keep your plant moist. The main reason for this has to do with the mineral composition of the dehumidifier water, which could be different from other types of grey water that are used for gardening purposes.
Aside from saving water, dehumidifiers also serve an important purpose in pest control. There are many insects that thrive in humid conditions, including gnats and silverfish bugs. Turning on the dehumidifier in enclosed spaces at home will help keep these insects away.
7. Re-use Kitchen Water
Don’t throw away the water you use to clean your fruits and vegetables. Wash them in a bucket or pot full of water then use that to water the small and medium-sized plants in your garden. Recycled cooking water can also come from other sources such as the water used to boil eggs, pastas, and potatoes (just make sure the water is cooled down first). There are many creative ways you can use kitchen water to keep your garden moist and hydrated.
8. Build a buried pot garden
This somewhat resembles the olla system. Mostly suited for small-sized plants, one way of conserving water is by simply burying a planted pot into the garden. Again, this helps with water conservation because it reduces the amount of water lost through ground runoffs. Make sure the pot is big enough to not impede the growth of the root system.
9. Use a Lawn Watering or Sprinkler Timer
Using this device is one good way of preventing over-watering. All you have to do is to install a timer to do an outdoor water hose faucet then set the time when the faucet should open and close. You can also set the watering duration with some timers. One device that gets recommended often is the Orbit Single-Dial Water Timer.
10. Plant in Blocks
Still haven’t had enough of all these great water saving methods? Here is one more. When designing your garden layout, try and plant them in blocks, instead of planting them in rows. A block layout is more efficient in saving water because there is a smaller chance of the water getting lost through ground runoffs. It is more efficient to water an area that is concentrated with plants. The block layout is also known to help produce higher yields so it is definitely worth trying for fruit and vegetable gardeners.