Earth has warmed up to about 1 °C (1.8 °F) since the start of the Industrial Revolution, according to Forbes, and a vital resource that’s being dried up faster each year is water. Without water, not a single animal—save for extremophiles—can survive on land, which is bad news for us and even worse for plants. Anyone with a garden understands the struggle of keeping their greenery alive, especially during the much hotter and drier seasons, due to water restrictions, limited water access, water interruptions and more.
Looking for solutions to combat the lack of water and lessen our immense water consumption is certainly a great dilemma to tackle. However, there is a simple approach that helps us save this priceless resource, and it is by using water-saving gardening tips on a daily basis. Here are 5 of the most useful water-saving tips that anyone can apply to their gardens.
Tip #1: Review weather and soil conditions
To save water, you should regularly monitor everything there is about the weather. Checking rain forecasts is a good start as it would help you decide when to turn off your sprinkler systems, saving you a lot of water and money. Taking your location, season and climate into consideration is also a good move since these factors have a huge influence on water conservation and soil conditions.
Regions that have cooler climates (like winter, for example), high humidity and plenty of shade will need little irrigation, which equals to lesser water needs. In contrast, in hotter climates with arid winds and sparse vegetation to act like a canopy to help retain moisture in the ground, the soil tends to dry up faster, which almost always means water consumption will be higher.
Planting tall plant varieties will also help create a good microclimate where these taller plants act as a shade for the plants much closer to the ground for your garden. This means the soil doesn’t dry up as fast as the taller plants absorb a fair bit of sunlight before the heat from the sun reaches the ground, essentially delaying the ground from drying up.
Tip #2: Pick the right planters carefully
The ability to save water is greatly enhanced by carefully picking the right planter—or, more commonly, the pot. Whether or not a planter can retain moisture is dependent on which material the planter is made. Different materials have a certain degree of porosity, or the number of tiny holes an object has through which a liquid could easily pass. Think of how a sponge retains most of its moisture through its many holes and material.
A raised galvanised-metal garden bed and planters will likely draw moisture out of the soil because metal heats up quickly. Some clay pots like untreated ceramics are quite porous too, so the moisture will simply escape through those tiny holes on the pot, which means the soil will dry faster. One good water-saving gardening tip is to get a glazed pot and use the porous ones as a decorative cachepot.
Tip #3: Utilise water-saving and water-reusing techniques
With global temperatures increasing every year, we can only do so much to save water however we can. That said, here are some effective water-saving and water-reusing tips to conserve water:
Save the water with which you use to cook. Whenever you use water to boil or steam vegetables, instead of flushing it down the sink, you might as well save it and allow it to cool down. Once cooled, the nutrients in the water can make good fertilisers for your plants, and it’s all for free.
Collect shower water and use it to water your plants. All you have to do is collect it with a bucket, heat it, let it cool and then the water will be ready for your plants’ water needs.
Consider installing a rainwater tank for your garden. Building a better garden supported by a water tank is one of the best decisions that any homeowner and gardener can do. Instead of wasting rainwater, rainwater collection systems can redirect and store rainwater to your tank to be usable for your garden and your other chores around your house.
Reuse the fish tank water you have. If you have fish as pets, then the old phosphorous- and nitrogen-rich water is good for your garden.
Tip #4: Choose plants with low water needs
One might think that all plants need the same amount of water. But the truth is, various species of plants have different water needs. If you want to save water, choosing to plant plants with low water needs would be a wise decision, which includes
- small plants;
- grey or silver foliage;
- varieties with small or narrow leaves;
- plants with leathery, hairy, curly or fuzzy leaves; and
- established or slow-growing plants.
The plants that you should avoid are
- newly planted vegetation,
- plants with high fertiliser needs,
- fast-growing species, and
- species with large leaves.
If you truly wish to have a garden with minimal water needs, then one of the best water-saving gardening tips is to opt for succulents, natives, fine-leafed rosemary, thyme and plants that can endure higher temperatures. Be careful, though, because some plants that appear to have low water needs will utilise water at a faster rate when it is available and then go back to low water needs when water is scarce. Remember: plants that have low water needs won’t save water if people are irrigating them like high-water-needs plants!
Tip #5: Don’t drown the plants
Over-watering is a bad habit that most of us have. This leads to increased water bills, leaches vital nutrients from the soil (forcing you to make the plants healthy again), causes oxygen loss in the soil and a huge waste of precious freshwater. Worst-case scenario is you drown the plants and cause their roots to rot, starving them until they dry up.Conserving water has now become more important than ever, with many water shortages being reported all over the world. Every drop we save helps tremendously. Water-sustaining techniques in your garden makes it healthier and more conducive for plant growth. The water-saving gardening