In a Drought? Water-Saving Tips for Your Garden
When the song says “it never rains in Southern California,” it’s almost right, especially in drought years. No rain may be good for tourism, but, as every gardener and planter knows, water is one element that plants and flowers need to grow well. California home owners, Los Angeles landscapers and others have learned to compensate for the weather by looking to native plants, and designing for the climate—instead of against it. Once your garden is in, however, there are yet a few more things you can do to save water in your garden when it’s a time of drought.
If that plant doesn’t need to be there, get rid of it. Weeding your garden is not only a matter of getting rid of unsightly or unwanted plants—it’s also a way to get rid of plants that draw needed moisture from your primary garden. Weed your garden before you water, to make sure your plants are getting all the moisture that is available.
Feed Your Dirt
Gardens with good soil use less water, and make better use of the water they do get. Make use of compost and turn over the soil in your vegetable gardens and flower beds between plantings. Learn about the soil that is native to your region, and what nutrients are best for your area, as well as for your plants and try to incorporate that into your water-saving garden.
Your plants probably don’t need to be watered daily, or even on a certain schedule. Learn your plants and their needs, and then water accordingly. Do most of your watering in the evening hours, and work to prevent runoff or water waste.
When You Water, Water Well
You don’t need to water daily, but when you do irrigate your plants and flowers, make sure you give them a deep watering—without drowning them, that is. What you’re doing with that is enticing the roots to grown downward instead of sideways—where they have a chance to possibly even reach ground water. And, thus, are more secure in both wet and dry years.
Reconsider Your Lawn Size
Southern Californians love their lawns—but maybe it’s time to look at your lawn with new eyes? Lawns, especially those not planted with native grasses, take a lot of water to keep looking healthy and green. A water-saving home owner might consider making the lawn smaller, in ways that leaves the beauty, but lessens the impact or need for watering.
Think Before You Plant
Location, location, location—works just as well for plants as for people. Most gardeners know about planting in sun or shade, but what about water needs? If you group plants together by water needs (as well as possible—there are no hard and fast rules here,) you’ll have a more efficient garden, and one that uses less water. It will be easier to ensure that each plant gets the moisture it needs, without waste—a very important part of taking care of your garden during a drought.