What are some tips for using water-wise gardening techniques in your garden?

Eight steps to a garden that uses water Add organic matter to your soil. Not all floors are created the same way. Organic gardening methods are key to water conservation because they help create prosperous, nutrient-rich soil. Healthy soil is able to absorb water and carry it to the roots of plants, which translates into abundant food crops, thriving plants and fewer disease and pest problems.

Unhealthy soil contributes to runoff and water waste. Have a beautiful garden and use less water. Research shows that California residents use up to 50% more water than they need to maintain beautiful and healthy gardens. Adequate irrigation would not only conserve water and be more drought tolerant, but it would also improve the overall health of California's gardens and landscapes.

Set automatic sprinklers to work early in the morning between 4 a.m. and 8 a.m. This reduces evaporation and will decrease the likelihood of water being wasted due to wind interference. It also reduces plant diseases and water damage.

Laying a 3- to 4-inch layer of organic mulch or rocks on the soil surface around plants can save hundreds of gallons of water each year. This prevents water evaporation and also prevents weeds from growing. Adjust them as needed to reduce excess spray on sidewalks, roads and patios, etc. Quick repairs and adjustments can save up to 500 gallons each year.

The latest technology can help dramatically reduce water use (and the water bill). These wireless intelligent controllers activate automatic sprinklers through a computer based on current weather data and information on the specific characteristics of your garden. Save up to 40 gallons or more every day with a smart controller. If you live in an arid area of Arizona, probably the last plants you would want to add to your garden are something like impatiens or hostas, since they simply aren't compatible with soil conditions, strong sun and lack of rain.

Using a variety of design principles in your garden will help you retain moisture where you need it by storing it in the ground and can even help it drain off in areas that get too wet. You made a good point when you mentioned collecting shower water and reusing fish tank water for gardening as some of the simple ways to conserve water. In spring, I planted a garden and paid close attention to how the irrigation system was set up in order to conserve as much water as possible. Phosphates can accumulate in this type of water, so it is advisable to use them sparingly and rotate them around the garden to prevent salts from accumulating and damaging plants or soil microbes.

Wherever you live and work in the garden, there are simple steps you can take to create a water-efficient garden in your own backyard. To reduce runoff on the slopes, terraces, such as those in this garden, help to slow down and retain moisture where it's needed most: to help feed vegetables and herbs. Here are my ten tips for saving water that will help you conserve and manage water efficiently, save money and garden more sustainably. A rainwater collection barrel is a great option, but don't forget features like rain gardens that naturally collect and disperse rainwater wherever you want it to go.

Earl Salstrom
Earl Salstrom

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