This month we are heading into summer. I have been discussing sustainability from a couple of perspectives: soil and water. Today I would like to highlight 5 easy practices that conserve water. Gardens are planted. Summer’s heat and drying conditions will be here soon. Hopefully we have planted plants suitable for our area’s growing conditions.
1. Established plants generally need less water. Regional natives added to the landscape usually are adapted to the climate and require less watering.
2. Plant at recommended time of year. This not only helps plants take root but decreases stress.
3. This year think about minimizing lawn size. Take one manageable area of lawn space and create a focal point with a butterfly garden, small pond or a wild flower type garden. Garden centers have many helpful suggestions.
4. When to water or irrigate: depends on a number of factors: how established are the plants, season and climate. Frequent shallow watering, for example, can lead to weak shallow roots. Less frequent but deep and slow watering encourages deeper root growth.
5. Water at the best time of day: usually the early morning is the best time to water. Wind and sun increase evaporation and this contributes to water loss.
Meadows bring in diversity. Small areas of lawn can easily be tilled and then seeded with a wildflower mix specific to your region and area: shade, partial or full sun. Vermont Wildflower Farm is one of my favorite places. I had a chance to visit their farm, see the wildflower meadows and came home with lots of seed packets. Meadows support so much wildlife and the diversity creates its own checks and balances. Once seedlings reach a height of 4-6 inches, they typically require no further consistent watering and usually flourish.
Water is a precious resource. What water conservation practice have you initiated? Let’s share ideas.
Judith Dreyer, MS, BSN, Writer, Speaker, Holistic Health Consultant and Workshop Presenter, Master Gardener.