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Eight Ways to Reduce Water Consumption in your Garden

Eight Ways to Reduce Water Consumption in your Garden I recently read an article in Mother Jones about reducing your "water footprint."  Sometimes it's easy to use lots of water without even realizing it.  Some tips are pretty simple to do, like turning off the water while you brush your teeth.

One thing it got me thinking about was water consumption in my garden.  I live in Massachusetts, where we have muggy summers and lots of thunderstorms and this summer has been even stormier than most.  We've been lucky because we haven't even had to water our garden too frequently, because those pesky showers have taken care of it.

Even so, there are ways to minimize your water usage in your garden.  Here are some handy tips!

1)  Mulch. Mulch is great, because it can capture moisture and keep your soil cooler.  Make sure the soil is moist before putting the mulch on.   You can either buy bags of mulch (I love the way fresh mulch smells!) or you can use waste like grass clippings and dried leaves.

2)  Make your lawn smaller. Grass takes a lot of water.  Plant fun stuff like flowers that may not need as much water!

3)  Plant things that are native to your climate. If you live somewhere dry, don't plant things that need lots of water.  We do really well with our very thirsty squash, but they might not grow so well in dry climates.  Grow Native! has lots of info.  HowStuffWorks also has a list of plants that thrive in dry climates and can even go for weeks in hot, dry sun.  If you have questions, you can always ask someone at your local nursery.

4)  Turn off the sprinkler. Consider drip irrigation. Planet Green has great information about drip irrigation.   Sprinklers can waste a lot of water.   A watering can can be more effective as well.  You can control where the water is going.

5)  Collect rain, and then use it in your garden. But be careful!  Rain collection is illegal in some cities and states, so make sure that you're allowed to do it first.

6)  Water in the morning, when temperatures are lower.

7)  Evaluate your watering techniques. The Guardian says that watering little and frequently isn't really effective because "the water does not penetrate deep into the ground and encourages plants to develop roots near the soil's surface. "  A good soak less frequently can be more effective.

8)  Xeriscape. Xeriscaping is landscaping using plants that need little watering.

Cool Happy gardening! Cool