Posted on 19 January 2013 by urbangardencasual.com

Capturing Mother Nature’s Tears: 3 Simple Ways of Conserving Water

Photo Credit: Rain Water by Eric Schmuttenmaer used under CC BY-SA 2.0

By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter

This past week, I have been on vacation.

As I drove to my destination, I noticed a common thread that seemed to connect cornfield-to-cornfield and lawn-to-lawn.

This simple connection is one that affects man and beast, caused wars and starvation, destroys economics and livelihoods, and we cannot live without it.

One may be wondering what this is and the answer is as close as your kitchen sink. This all-powerful connection is water.

If you are a gardener you understand the importance of water and how it can change a fertile garden space into a desolate tract of land or, on the other hand, it can change a garden of weeds into a fertile piece of terra firma. In my area, this is so true since we have had no rain for two months.

But while a water shortage can have negative consequences to ones garden, there are a few things one can do to reduce the effects of a drought. Below are 3 of the most common ways of preparing for that annual water shortage. What you choose will depend on your situation but not choosing will guarantee a water deficiency sometime during your local growing season.

1 Utilizing a Rain Barrel

A rain barrel is an old-fashioned way of collecting rain but in recent times using water collected from runoff from roofs has been frowned down upon. It has been discovered that in some situations, the water off roofs contains toxins that are transferred to the plants when this water is used.

If you are worried about this, consider using a rain barrel out in the open and just let nature’s tears fall in naturally. While you will not collect as much water as the traditional approach, you will still have some to use.

If you are afraid of mosquitoes laying eggs in the water, do not fret. Simply place one or two feeder goldfish in the rain barrel. The goldfish eat the mosquitoes larvae and in doing so eliminate this problem.

2 Creating a Self-Watering Container

A self-watering container is another way of conserving water and can be as simple or complicated as you would like. How this type of container works is uncomplicated and starts with a wick. One end of the wick is placed in the bottom of a pot while the other end is placed in a container of water. As the plant needs the water, the wick absorbs the water and carries it to the soil. Once in the soil the plant can use the moisture.

Utilizing this technique prevents one from wasting water or over watering.

To prevent water from evaporating, make sure to place a lid on the water reservoir. This is the container that the wick sits into.

3 Utilizing a Hydrogel

A hydrogel is another technique that can be used to conserve water. It can come in many forms and can even be found in diapers. This is the substance that keeps moisture away from the skin.

Hydrogel in the garden space works by absorbing water and holding it until the plant needs it. At that time, the moisture is released by the hydrogel and then the plant can use it.

This technique is great for those who forget to water and in areas where water shortages occur. If you are going to use a hydrogel check to make sure it can be used with edibles. If you cannot find hydrogels in your area, do not despair. Simply tear open a clean diaper and remove the insides. Believe it or not, this hydrogel can be eaten and is perfectly safe for edible plants.

If you live in an area that is suffering from a drought, have a high water bill or just want to conserve resources, consider using one of these approaches.

So until we blog again, never waste the tears from Mother Nature for we never know when they will return again.

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