Sustainable ways to help your garden grow
Why is saving water important? Consider this:
1. Only a little over 2% of the world’s water is freshwater, and only
1% is accessible drinking water.
2. Our bodies are approximately 70% water, our brains are 85% water, and
our bones are 10–15% water.
3. If the water in our bodies drops 2.5%, our efficiency drops 25%.
4. We can only live without water for approximately 10 days.
These are some of the reasons it’s important to conserve water and use it wisely. The cost of this precious resource is rising all the time. We can all tread a little lighter on the planet by taking a few moments to reevaluate our garden design and watering habits to eliminate inefficient practices that waste water. By adopting water-efficient garden practices, we can ensure that our gardens continue to thrive and provide their many benefits — creating habitat for wildlife, enhancing air quality, and storing carbon, which helps to reduce the greenhouse effect.
Below are some water saving tips for your garden:
1. Group Plants according to their water needs — Group plants together that have similar water requirements. For example, locate fruit trees and the vegetable garden close to each other. And don’t plant drought-tolerant plants next to high water users. Not all plants need watering, and many need only a sprinkle now and then.
2. Save and reuse water — Do you have a fish tank? When you clean the fish tank, use the old nitrogen and phosphorous-rich water on your plants. Do you boil or steam vegetables? Use this water full of nutrients when cooled to water your plants.
3. Choose your plant containers wisely — If you are doing container gardening, pick the plant containers wisely. Some containers lose moisture through their porous surfaces, and the soil dries out faster. Thus, it is crucial to use a potting mix that holds moisture. Click here to learn what should be considered before selecting the plant container.
4. Good Design & Native Plants — Build mounds around trees and shrubs to reduce runoff and allow moisture to soak slowly into the soil. When landscaping, choose native plants that require little or no more water than what nature provides them.
5. Add compost and manures to your soil. These provide food for plants, and enrich the water retention capacity of your soil, which means there’s more water available for your plants.
6. Ensure that your soil is always covered by mulch or plants — Bare and exposed soil will dry out very quickly and suck moisture from nearby plants. Mulching your soil will prevent it from drying out, put nutrients into the soil, and discourage weeds, which compete with your plants for vital water. Click here to learn how to apply mulch.
7. Check the moisture in the soil before watering — This can be done using a moisture meter or by using simple techniques that will help prevent you from over-watering your plants. Simple techniques could be just pressing a pencil or chopstick to check if it goes in easily or not. If it is damp and goes in easily, then there is no need to water, and if it does not, get a watering can, and water the plants. This will help you to avoid over-watering, which in turn will not only help to conserve water, but also prevent leaching of valuable nutrients from the soil.
8. Grow organic plants — Using organic gardening products and techniques is a great way to reduce your impact on the environment. It will help to stimulate beneficial soil organisms, reduce harmful wastewater runoff, and create a healthier place for everyone to live in.
9. Collect Rainwater — Needless to say, the best thing to do is store the clean fresh water that falls from the sky. Use the rainwater in your watering can to directly water the soil and roots of your garden plants and flower beds. There are several ways rainwater can be collected; click here for some easy yet very useful tips for the same.
10. Water in the cool of the day — Water plants either early in the morning or in the evening, as it prevents water loss due to evaporation from the sun and transpiration by plants.
Let us all try to incorporate small changes into our daily routines to help conserve the planet and its most valuable resource: Water. The consequences of doing otherwise can be seen in the spreading deserts across the world and the resulting drought and famine that could follow.
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