Many of us have come to realize that our natural resources are not limitless. Conservation and recycling are necessary actions to preserve these resources for future generations. Water may be the most important of all of these resources as we literally can’t live without it. Virtually every part of our nation has been subject to drought conditions at one time or another and with these conditions often come restrictions on the use of water for things such as gardens. No gardener I know likes to lose their plantings as a result of a lack of water. This makes focusing on using water resources more efficiently as well as decreasing the amounts of water needed to maintain our landscaping something every gardener should consider. The good news is that there are actions you can take to help minimize the impact of drought conditions on your garden.
- Choose Your Plants Carefully - The first and perhaps most important action you can take is to choose your plants wisely. Many plants including trees, shrubs, flowers and ornamental grasses, once established, can be tolerant of a variety of tough conditions including drought. One of the benefits of completing a profile with Blooming Secrets is we ask you about your interest in topics such as gardening in dry conditions and we can help recommend plants to you that can tolerate these situations.
- Try Mulching - Mulching is a very low cost and a highly effective way to help retain moisture in the soil. The best time to mulch your garden is in spring after temperatures have warmed the soil. In warmer USDA zones such as 8 through 10 this could be mid to late April but for the rest of the country, it may need to wait until mid to late May. A good time to lay the mulch is after a soaking rain as you can then put the mulch down while the soil is moist and in doing so help retain that moisture in the soil.
- Be a Good Steward with the Water You Have - You can help your garden survive drought conditions by more efficiently and effectively managing the water you already have. Soaker hoses and drip irrigation systems water the plants right at the soil level which helps minimize evaporation and this allows for deeper and less frequent watering requirements. Installing a rain barrel(s) is a great way to store what Mother Nature sends us for use in the future. Another recent method of using water more efficiently is to harness the power of “gray water”. This technique involves recycling water that is used in everyday activities such as the water you cook your pasta in or if you use a dehumidifier in your basement taking that water and using it to water your plants. My Father practiced this technique and didn’t even realize it. He used a watering can to catch the dripping water from his air conditioning system and when the can was full he used it to water his garden. It may not seem like much but in drought conditions, every drop counts.
I am sure that many of you may have your own great ideas and please share them with us by going to our Facebook page. Remember, as the Greek Philosopher Plato said: “necessity is the mother of invention”.
Photo Courtesy of Jill Mazur.