Properly watering your garden and ensuring you obtain the most out of every drop should be a top priority for anyone who takes water conservation to heart. Below I have listed out “6 Things You Can Do To Improve The Efficiency Of Watering Your Garden”. These are not new or by any means all inclusive and I would love to hear if you have any water conservation tips or tricks.
If you feel like jumping around, here are the quick links to the six things.
1. Your Watering Schedule
The most beneficial time to water your garden is in the early morning, before the sun begins to warm the soil too much. By watering between 5:00 am – 8:00 am the soil will have the opportunity to soak in more water before being evaporated.
Another good time to water would be directly after a light rainfall. This will soften up the top layer of soil and allow for a more efficient watering by soaking into the soil further and building up a small water reservoir for your plants.
Watering just before nightfall may not give the plants enough time to dry out. As a result they could be more susceptible to disease and/or rot.
2. Mulching and You
Using mulch in the garden helps create a protective layer on the surface of your soil, increasing water retention. Mulch also assists with weed control, by preventing weeds the water that is used is more directly beneficial to the producing crops.
Different Types of Mulch
If you are interested in learning about the different types of mulch, Joe Gardener has covered them in depth here.
Depending on if your plants are in the ground or in some containers, the watering schedule will be different. Vegetable plants in the ground require around 1″ of water per week to survive. Although most plants will thrive if watered 3 times a week. For your container garden or raised bed garden the amount of water will be more due to the soil drying out faster.
Depending on how fast they dry out it may require from 2″ to 4″ of water a week to prevent it from dying. Having a set watering schedule and using proper watering techniques will improve the chances of keeping your little green friend alive.
Using a timed drip/soaker watering method is one of the best ways to consistently water your plants. By setting up a timer and schedule you can keep a much better eye on how much water it takes to keep everything happy.
Overwatering when it occurs causes excess waste and may not be used by the plants at all, also with the potential to cause erosion and runoff to occur.
4. Crop Selection
Studies have shown that short cycle crops are less likely to be affected by drought conditions. If you live in a drought environment or have an average rainfall of less than 1″ every two weeks, it is recommend choosing shorter growing cycle crops and ensuring your plants are in a position to grow during your “wet” season.
Certain long season crops such as potatoes and carrots can be adversely affected if inadequate water is provided, it is not recommended to grow these plants in dry, arid climates.
Your best bet is to grow a mixture of plants, by sowing your garden with a dry and wet season in mind could save half of your plants. Have a section of your garden that is full of drought resistant plants/vegetables, while having another section that may require more water. By doing this you can let the drought plants wither a little while using the extra water on the other garden. In the next section I cover drought management and some different crops that can withstand not having a lot of water.
5. Drought Management
There are a few methods of managing water, some of these methods are used in dry/arid climates to conserve when fresh water is not readily available.
Here is the link to the scientific study conducted on the different Methods and Technologies for conserving water.
Regulated Deficient Irrigation
This method is where you water one side of the plant (soil/roots), and on the next watering do so to the other side. By alternating watering on each side it gives the plants roots a chance to absorb the moisture and not completely dry out. This method will require you to have adequate water in the producing season of the plants life cycle to ensure a solid fruit production.
Controlled Deficient Irrigation
If a climate has a good early wet season, this method may be used on crops that are harvested in the Early to Mid Summer season. Peaches, Plums, and Cherries fall into this category, as the plant is not producing and more fruit the amount of water applied can be reduced. Care needs to be had to ensure that you don’t stunt the growth of the plant by allowing too much of a drought condition to be present. Improper care can result in a yield loss on the next years crop. This type of environment would benefit greatly from any rainwater collection that occurs.
If you are in the market for irrigation parts, tools, and information check out Growers House for any of your needs as they offer some of the lowest prices around.
6. Rain Barrels
By having a rain barrel you can ensure you have water stored up for any drought conditions that may occur later in the season. If you live in a climate that has an early “wet” season, followed by a dry and hot season, why not collect the rainwater and use it later on to keep your plants flourishing.
There are tons of designs for rain barrels and it doesn’t have to be a giant blue guy sitting on the side of your house. Below are some examples that I found around the internet.
Captain Patio’s Article on painting the perfect rain barrel goes into detail on how to get it done.
Check out these rain barrels located on Pinterest.
Watering With Conservation in Mind
I hope you found this article interesting and helpful, by conserving the water that is pulled from the city lines you help relieve some stress on the infrastructure that is trying to hold it all together. Keeping water conservation in mind and the impact it can have on the environment will help improve everything around us. If you have any water conservation tips or tricks I would love to hear about them in the comments section.
If you found the article interesting or helpful please check out the rest of the blog as there may be some hidden gems for you to find in there.
Keep mother nature alive and prospering, your own livelihood depends on it.
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