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6 Tips for Saving Water in the Garden

You don’t need to have a green thumb to know the important role that water plays in plant health. This essential element, however, is becoming increasingly expensive in the world today as consumption continues to skyrocket and wastefulness remains a prevalent issue. Thankfully, people with gardens or plants in their yard have the ability to combat this growing issue by becoming more efficient with their watering initiatives. Below are some tips to help you save your wallet –and the planet in the process.

  1. Recycle Household Water:  One of the most overlooked ways to save water in your garden starts with your water consumption indoors; primarily in the kitchen. Water used for boiling vegetables, pasta and other food can be recycled in the garden. Additionally, excess drinking water from glasses and bottles can be collected in a larger container for use in the garden as well.
  2. Timing Is Everything: Research suggests that the success of plant growth is highly dependent upon the time of day it receives water based on its soil composition. For example, plants rooted in pots do best when watered in the afternoon, while plants rooted in the ground do better in the morning. This is due to potting mixes and traditional soil having varying moisture retention properties, therefore, watering plants in these environments at different times will help ensure how effectively the plants receive the water.
  3. Choose Plants that don’t Need a lot of Water: While it’s great to have a nice variety of plants in your garden, if you have several plants that require an excessive amount of moisture to survive, your money could be flowing out of the faucet. If this is the case, consider planting species that are smaller, slower growing and have smaller leaves. Generally, plants with larger leaves will require the most water in your garden.
  4. Spacing: Surface area is important to consider when tending to your garden’s watering needs, as the more ground you have to cover, the more water you will use. If plants are rooted closer together, however, this will require less water overall, but you want to also ensure the plants have enough room for root development.
  5. Use Mulch to Lock in Moisture: On a hot day, moisture evaporates out of the soil and into the air that is why it is important to use mulch as a protective top layer to lock in the moisture beneath the surface. Otherwise, up to 70 percent of the water you gave your plants can evaporate before it makes it to the roots. Be sure to use mulch that is coarse in nature, so that the water trickles through properly.
  6. Too Much of a Good Thing:  One of the more obvious solutions to saving money in the garden is giving your plants too much water (there is such a thing). This is a common problem that can be detrimental to both the health of your plants and your finances. In terms of plant health, overwatering can make plant root systems shallow and dependent, meaning they will continue to require an excess amount of water to survive.

As we approach the dog days of summer, we hope these tips help you save both money and water in your gardening efforts.

For more information about saving money in the garden, check out the sources for this article at The Micro Gardner or Rodale’s Organic Life.

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