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Water Conservation: Garden Techniques

Half the time the UK seems to be drowning yet when we have a good summer it turns into a drought! So it appears we can either garden in the rain or try to garden without water!

Water Conservation

Growing with little rain on Lanzarote – the raised walls retain dew and reduce evaporation due to the wind that blows across the island.

Hopefully this article will be of use to those affected by drought although  floods are the order of the British summer. Many parts of the USA and Europe suffer severe drought and hot weather.

Gardening in areas where there is little rain or rationed water can be challenging and difficult. There are ways however to make the most of what water or rainfall you have. This is done by finding ways to use your available home tools to minimize water loss from your garden or by maximizing the use of the water you have.

Maximizing the use of water:

The first step would be to invest in a good water hose. Regularly check you water hoses and make sure the washers are properly installed to minimize water loss. Cheap hoses normally do not last long and spring leaks often especially if left in the hot sun.

Cheap hoses are difficult to coil and store and are subject to kinking, making them extremely inefficient. Purchase a reasonably priced rubber hose as vinyl hoses do not last long.

If you don’t have time to water or have a bigger budget, consider installing a soaker hoses irrigation system. This may be a simple weekend project with the right home tools. The irrigation system will save you a lot of time and water. The holes in hoses can be directed to areas where the water is needed at the base of the plant. This will reduce the amount of water lost to evaporation and run off.

Best Time to Water

It is however essential that you check your system regularly for holes or any other damage that would hinder your efficiency. Choosing the best time of day to water can also help with your water conservation. Watering at night prevents the water evaporating in the heat of the day.  The best time to water is during the early morning hours before things heat up so the water has soaked into the ground but is still available for your plants.

Mulching to Reduce Evaporation

Adding a layer of mulch to your garden helps retain the moisture content of your soil. The mulch effectively insulates the soil and improves the quality of your soil. The mulch will eventually decompose and add to the organic content of the soil, making it richer and more able to support healthier plants as well as retain more moisture, which in turn requires less watering.

By adding minerals and soil additive you can improve the quality of your soil. Test your soil then add to it what it is lacking. Increasing the organic matter in your soil allows it to retain water longer. Make sure you have the right garden home tools for the job.

Hoeing to Reduce Evaporation

Hoeing breaks up the surface of the soil which prevents capillary action from sucking up water from below to the surface where it will evaporate in the day. Kills the weeds too!

Rainwater Collection Systems

Set up rainwater collection systems in your backyard or around your house. Use this water to water your planters and pots. Using your home tools, you could install hoses to your water collecting system and have a soaker hose water irrigation system set up.

Choose Suitable Plants

Another thing to take into consideration is the type of plants in your garden. Choose plants that are suitable to your climate. Study your weather and know your gardening zones well. Trying to grow plants from outside your gardening zone may require excessive watering but if you choose plants that can adapt to a drier environment and do not require frequent watering, you will be rewarded with plants that thrive.

By treating water as an important and valuable commodity and using some imagination and the right home tools, you can have beautiful and lush garden in areas that experience drought. Even in areas that ration water in the summer months.

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