Garden plants and crops need the right amount of water to stay healthy. However, as water resources continue to deplete due to different factors including climate change and rapid population growth, people need more efficient methods to consume and conserve water.
Here are some ways people can practice to cut down on water usage while still making sure that their gardens receive sufficient water to survive, grow strong, and develop healthy plants and crops:
Add Organic Matter
Organic matter, like compost, is high in nutrient content and holds water efficiently. Adding organic matter to the soil improves its ability to absorb water and retain as much moisture as possible, minimising the need for constant watering.
Mulch such as barks, grass clippings, shredded leaves, or straw prevents excessive evaporation and in effect traps more moisture within the soil bed. Mulching also cools the soil and prevent soil erosion.
Rainwater is a natural source of irrigation for gardens and can be easily collected and stored in a rainwater tank. Unlike tap water, rainwater does not contain chemicals, salt, or fluoride, which may be harmful to plants. Rainwater seeps deeply into the soil and takes salt with it, keeping salt away from the soil and the area around the plant’s roots. Salt-free soil increases the amount of water supplied to the roots, encouraging root growth and increasing the plant’s tolerance during dry periods. In addition to water gardening, harvested rainwater may also be used for laundry or washing vehicles.
Reuse Old Water
Reusing household water is an efficient way to conserve water, even on a small scale. Used water from showers, baths, or sinks are safe for watering plants. Avoid reusing water that contains bleach, disinfectant, and other strong cleaners as they contain chemicals that may damage plant and soil structure and pose health risks.
It is important to understand that when plants receive more water than they can handle, it could also lead to poor plant health. Different soil types need different amounts of water. For example, light or sandy soil needs more water than heavy soil while clay-based soil requires less watering frequency but needs higher amounts of water.
Water at the Right Time
Determining the right time to water is an important factor in keeping gardens healthy. During warm days, watering early in the morning allows better absorption. Avoid watering too late in the evening as foliage need to dry out before nightfall to prevent formation of fungi.
Choose Native Plants
Plants and flowers naturally found in a particular location are adapted to the climactic conditions of the area, making it easier for them to grow and flourish. Native plants also tend to compliment each other, having existed in the same area together. This means that native plants can cross-pollinate with wild plants or even disperse seeds into natural areas. Native plants also provide food source for native insects and birds, helping maintain balance in the ecosystem.
Plant Drought-Tolerant Flowers
In addition to native plants, one can also consider planting drought-tolerant flowers like coneflowers, lavenders, and marigolds. These flowers thrive in dry conditions, contributing to a garden’s aesthetic elements while requiring little maintenance and watering.
As discussed, there are many ways to use water wisely and efficiently. Applying the methods stated above will allow people to reduce water consumption and enable them to keep their gardens beautiful and healthy.