Posted on 05 July 2008 by

How to Conserve Water in Your Urban Garden

By Vanessa Richins

One of the most common problems in a garden is over-watering.

Even though one may have the best intentions, plants are usually given much more water than they really need. Here are some tips on how to save water in your urban landscape.

1) One of my most important rules is pretty simple : In the summer, don’t water between the hours of 10 am and 6 pm.

Why? During those times, it is usually hot enough that the water will only vaporize, and most of the water won’t reach the plants If you have plants that are wilting, you can certainly give them a good long drink. Otherwise, just plan on early morning or evening watering sessions. An automatic timer could make the process even simpler.

2) Water longer but less often.

Most plants – even the thirsty Kentucky bluegrass – do not need to be watered daily. If you follow this rule, it make the plant grow deeper roots, which will help the plant find water in the ground more efficiently. The amount of water needed will vary by plant. Water your plants when the soil is barely moist, but not when it is soggy, nor when it is completely dry. Container gardens should be watered more often, since they have confined roots, and less of them.

3) Group together plants with similar watering requirements.

This will allow you to make your irrigation sessions more efficient. You should always try to find out as much as you can about all of the growing habits of a plant before placing it in your garden.

4) Consider drip irrigation.

This method will save you the most water, as it is directed only where it is needed. However, it does have its drawbacks to think about – lines may get clogged and it is more expensive than other methods. Still, it would be a good addition to many gardens.

With these four methods alone, you should be able to save water (and money!) in your garden.

Does anyone else have any tips they use?

2 Responses to “How to Conserve Water in Your Urban Garden”

  1. Cindy Says:

    I have a large rain barrel in my garden. It’s made from an industrial vinegar barrel which was retro-fitted with tap etc., and I use that for all of my alpine plants and my veggies.

    I am also a big fan of ‘grey water’. In the summer, I wash a lot of my dishes by hand and then use the rinse water for watering the plants. I also usually keep a bucket or two in the shower so that some of the water gets saved, and the buckets get carried outside in the early morning and used on the garden.

    I love this column, water conservation is such an important concept for all of us whether we garden or not.

  2. Kimberly Herbert Says:

    I use a soaker hose, until I can afford to put drip irrigation in. I generally have to water once every week and half. When I water I turn the hose on slowly waiting and set it at the lowest level that has water dripping the entire length of the hose. There is no run off because the water is absorbed by the soil almost immedately

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