Water is essential for life. However, it is hard to conserve and save water, especially while gardening.
Water scarcity is increasing with every passing moment.
It is even harder to find a clean water supply.
Moreover, water wastage is high in farming and gardening.
You must be thinking that there should be ways to reduce it.
Well, the good news is that there already are ways to conserve water during gardening.
This article discusses the ways of conserving water in your garden.
Keep reading to know how you can implement these in your own vegetable garden.
Why Do We Need To Save Water?
We are now living in a world that is rapidly falling to the consequences of climate change.
Summers are getting longer and drier.
This is posing a problem for gardeners who are growing plants in hotter and drier weather.
Hence, droughts are also becoming a common reality in many parts of the world as shown in these maps.
Therefore, we need to be careful about our use of water and its wastage alongside food waste.
The plants in your edible gardens lose fresh water regularly.
Especially, as the weather is getting drier and warmer then plants are losing water to transpiration and evaporation.
The pores on the backside of leaves are known as stomata.
As plants absorb water, they also keep losing it through transpiration in evaporation in the stomata.
Though as the weather keeps getting warmer, plants are adapting to the extreme drought conditions.
They will shed their leaves to retain moisture while others have undergone evolution to have smaller leaves.
Though plants help themselves in saving water, you can also stop the water loss.
It involves to save this water loss, we need to conserve the soil and water it carefully.
Plants also lose it because of groundwater recharge which happens when water goes to the groundwater zone underneath the soil.
Furthermore, there is runoff from the surface of the soil.
Hence, after we know how water is lost, it is easier to derive ways of saving it.
We need water for us and future generations to live and sustain in this world.
Hence, saving it whenever possible is the only option.
Now let’s look at the ways through which you can conserve it in your gardens.
Ways to Save Water Usage
Use Less Water
It goes without saying that in order to conserve water, you should use less of it.
However, not many people are aware of the fact that they over-water their crops and plants.
It’s not only wasteful, it’s not needed.
In order to see if you’re giving your plants, vegetables and crops the right amount, check the soil by inserting a spade down.
In case the soil is moist enough, then you should stop watering and if it does not continue then you should continue till it is.
Though this does not work for all kinds of soils.
Sand soil is dry even if it’s irrigated well enough while clay soil is moist even if it isn’t watered enough.
Therefore, keep a good look on your plants and notice when they start to change colors and indicate water stress.
That’s when you check how the soil feels and make sure to water the plants just a little more than that.
Not only should you water the plants less but also water them correctly.
This brings us to:
Use Water Properly
Choose the best time to water your plants in the kitchen garden during the day when there is less evaporation.
This includes early morning and evening.
Both of these times are cooler hence, there is lesser evaporation.
Moreover, it prevents fungal diseases in the plants.
Also, you should water the plants with the right amount depending on the kind of soil.
Light soils usually need more amount of water, clay soils require more water but less frequency of application.
For plants to grow healthily, 24 liters per square meter is enough for seven to 10 days.
Furthermore, you can also change the irrigation methods to water plants that will reduce water wastage.
Use Proper Irrigation Methods
Some irrigation systems will lead to more wastage than others.
While sprinklers have a huge coverage, they also contribute in water wastage.
You cannot irrigate particular sections with it. Hence, you cannot water your plants deeply with it either.
Moreover, if there is an automatic timer on them then you need to turn that off because they may start spraying water when it is not needed such as during rain.
In fact, you can use manual hoses and water cans to irrigate your garden.
You can directly add enough water to plants beneath their leaves, leaving the surroundings dry.
It not only reduces wastage but also prevents weeds.
Another way to irrigate is to use the drip irrigation method, which similar to hoses provides water directly to the plants.
It uses water very efficiently by dripping it drop by drop to the required plants.
It does reach the root system while also keeping the surrounding soil dry enough to prevent diseases.
Hence, you avoid water runoff and also provide it directly to the root zone.
Moreover, you can also use seep hoses.
They are placed in the soil or mulch to reduce evaporation and water seeps from the holes into the hose.
It can help water the plants that are usually in rows.
In order to use these, your soil should be heavy that have more water spreading sideways.
Though you can still use it on lighter soils.
Other methods that you can use involve the soil, mulching and using rainwater. Find them below.
You may also want to grasscycle your garden.
In this way, you can use grass clippings to introduce more nutrients and moisture back into your garden.
Save Water by Conserving Soil
You should use good quality soil to prevent runoff but you can also take steps to make sure that it stays healthy.
This includes constantly adding compost and organic matter. You can also add aged manure to the soil.
All of this increases the soil’s ability to retain and absorb water hence, resulting in less wastage.
You will not require to water your plants as often if they retain moisture well.
If your soil is sandy then the organic matter will help retain moisture.
However, if it is clay soil then it will allow for better absorption and penetration.
Though, there is an additional benefit of avoiding pests if the soil remains healthy because of organic matter.
If you are not sure that organic matter itself will help retain water, then you can add water-retentive gels (also available as granules) to the compost.
You can place these in containers as well as hanging baskets.
Adding them will surely increase the capacity of your soil to retain moisture.
Furthermore, add mulch to your flowerbeds and garden beds.
This helps to retain moisture by preventing evaporation in severely dry spells and droughts.
You can mulch the soil with straw which also keeps the soil cooler.
Hence, there are fewer weeds and pests as well as fewer fungal diseases in the cool soil.
This does not allow the slugs to compete for nutrients and water with the plant.
You can also mulch hanging baskets.
If you mulch their surfaces then they can effectively trap moisture.
Moreover, you can also choose to plant drought-tolerant plants in your garden or you can choose to reuse and collect water.
How will you do that? Here’s an explanation.
Plant Drought-Tolerant Plant Species
There are certain plant species that require much less water and can sustain dry and warm climates.
Moreover, these plants are popular choices in enhancing the beauty of your garden.
Plants such as lavender, yarrow, mimosa and butterfly bush can thrive on less water.
Even food crops such as herbs like thyme, rosemary and sage can grow well in dry soil.
Native plants also sustain fewer water sources.
You can also choose to group these plants that have similar soil needs together.
In this process, known as hydro zoning, you can place the plants that require less water away from the irrigation system and those that require more, near to it.
Therefore, it will let you use less water and waste less too.
Collecting and Reusing Water
Rainwater is a good source for irrigating your plants.
However, a lot of it goes to waste.
You can save it by diverting water in your drainpipe to a water butt.
You can also collect rainwater in a barrel. This can help irrigate plants for a long while.
Furthermore, you can reuse household water that is present in baths and washing machines.
This is grey water and you can buy grey water diverters to convert this water directly from your washing machines and baths to the water butt or your irrigation system.
Hence, in this way, you can make good use of it again.
You can save water in your garden by using these ways.
The world is headed to water shortages, ice caps melting and global warming, so it is best that we play our part in conserving the environment.
Use these ways to reduce your water usage while maintaining a beautiful garden.
You can also save usage by closing the tap when you brush your teeth, carefully use water for drinking and use a tap rather than a showering head.
This also saves energy and a full load of water bills.
Therefore, besides your garden, you can also vow to save water in your household use for future generations.