In today’s economically unstable world, water has become a somewhat expensive necessity. The average American family household pays upwards of $400-500 a year on water. Nonetheless, any gardener will tell you; regular watering is a crucial component to maintaining a vibrant lawn and garden.
So what can you do to keep your costs down while keeping your garden healthy? There are several tricks and techniques which can be utilized to cut back on the amount of water used in the garden. Consider some of the suggestions below to help you save money and conserve this vital resource.
1 – Water the Soil
Although this one may seem obvious, many novice gardeners fail to acknowledge it. When watering your plants, avoid spraying the leaves and branches and focus on wetting the soil. This will get water to the roots where it’s needed while also preventing the leaves from getting sunburnt.
A ‘soaker hose’ is an effective makeshift tool for efficiently watering plants. Take an old hose and place a hose cap on one end. Poke holes along the length of the hose, and then place it along the ground beside your plants. You can then hook the other end up to a faucet and either water manually, or use a water-timer for even more accurate feedings.
2 – Avoid Over-Watering
This one may also seem like a no-brainer, but the truth is many people overestimate their garden watering needs. On average plants only require about an inch of water each week. To better control the amount of water you’re using, implement water timers on your sprinklers, hoses, and/or drip irrigation systems. If you have sprinklers, consider installing rain sensors to prevent over-watering.
3 – Rain Barrels
All of that rain falling from the sky is clean and free to use! Get yourself a large rain barrel to use as your garden’s water reserve. You can even buy solar-powered rain barrels that can be hooked up directly to an automated watering system, saving you not only money but time as well. Before long a rain barrel will pay for itself with the amount of money you’ll save on your water bill.
4 – Mulch While You Mow
Most modern mowers can be fitted with mulching blades and attachments which make it possible to simultaneously cut and mulch grass clippings before returning them to the soil. Clippings consist mostly of water and nitrogen, providing a source of nutrients that would otherwise be lost. After being broken down by microbial activity they moisturize and reinvigorate the soil. This recycling process also saves you a lot of time with not having to change out lawnmower bags and dispose of the clippings.
5 – Plant Selection
Native plants which are accustomed to your area will adjust to the natural availability of water in the environment. By growing local plants you can avoid the extraneous watering needs which often arise with foreign species. You can also cut back on your garden watering by growing succulents. These plants are built to retain water for long periods of time, so they require very little watering while still making beautiful additions to the garden.