Water-smart gardening enables you to create a beautiful garden that thrives in low-water conditions. If you live in a part of the country that is experiencing a drought, you may think that gardening is out of the question for you, but a few conservation-minded efforts can make it possible.
If you’re looking to create a water-smart garden, here are a few tips to get you started:
- Improve your soil structure – Making a compost pit in your yard will provide you with the material to enhance your soil supply. Adding compost to the soil will allow for better water absorption. The water can be released to the roots of the plants when needed.
- Collect rainwater – Build a small reservoir that will trap rainwater that can be used for watering later. After the rain, cover your reservoir with a lid to prevent evaporation on hot summer days.
- Use drip irrigation – Instead of dumping massive amounts of water on your plants every other day or so, install a drip irrigation system that will provide trickles of water directly to the roots of the plants. Drowning plants with excess water will encourage roots to grow to the surface, which makes the plant prone to damage during droughts. Drip irrigation allows water to reach the deeper roots with very little water lost to evaporation.
- Mulch – A layer of mulch spread over the exposed soil around the plant will also reduce water evaporation. Mulch keeps the soil cooler and wetter. You can use different materials for mulch, including grass from your mower, straw, and tree bark.
- Manage weeds – Weeds act as thieves, stealing away the nutrients and water that are intended for the plants. Cultivating the soil around the plants will kill the weeds but will allow greater evaporation of water from the soil surface. Using weed killer will eliminate the weeds without disturbing the soil.
- Nourish your lawn – Feeding the lawn during spring will allow the development of a robust and healthy root system. Strong roots protect your lawn from the heat of summer.
Water is a scarce resource, and we all need to work together to conserve it. These techniques allow you to have your garden while protecting the limited water supply.