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Ways to save water in the Garden

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Beautiful Gardens of Doon-65

Save blue, live green

By Sunita Vijay
A news channel covered a feature that mentioned water is the new gold and oil. Recent droughts worldwide and wildfires/bushfires of great intensity have worsened the matter further. Water scarcity is also felt due to climate change, and the crisis will worsen in the coming years. The onus lies on us to use water judiciously. Gardening requires loads of water. Saving water in the garden should be the best practice of a gardener. There are ways to address this issue – mulching, collecting rainwater and planting drought-resistant plants, recycling water, etc., can save water wastage.

Try following the methods given below:
1. Always water at the right time of the day – Water the plants in the evening when it is cooler to avoid evaporation. Don’t overwater. Feel the soil with your finger and water accordingly. If it is damp even one inch under the top layer, postpone watering for a day. If it’s dry or the plant has started showing water deficiency signs, water it immediately.

2. Use the right amount of water – Be aware of the soil quality. Sandy soils need watering more often than other soils. Clayey soils require water less frequently but need more water.

3. Grow flowers and plants that require less water – Grow in small bunches rather than filling the full beds. Cover the rest of the bed with mulch or stone pebbles, or small rocks to make it attractive – less but healthy looks beautiful during summer.

4. Do not open the hose pipe fully – It will lead to wastage. Use that much water that is required.

5. Use the latest water techniques for your plant – Use hose pipes and cans and water just near the plant base, especially in beds, to avoid the growth of weeds around it that may extract water from the soil. Use automated irrigation systems suitable for both small and big gardens, where programming can be set to avoid wastage. If using a mechanical system, use water economically.

6. Collect rainwater and reuse old water – You can collect thousands of litres of rainwater each year. Try to make provision to collect roof water in an underground tank. Use it for watering the garden and plants. Reuse water from baths, showers, washing machines, RO purifiers and mopping buckets to use it a second time. Use water diverters that divert the water from your bath to an irrigation system, or use it manually by filling buckets and putting a hose in the specific outlets.
Household soaps and detergents are harmless to plants but don’t use water containing bleach and strong disinfectants. They may harm the plants, damage soil structure, and be a health risk. You may purchase a giant rain barrel or big buckets to collect water for this.

7. Take care of your soil – Keep adding organic matter to the soil. It will improve its structure and help in retaining moisture. Mulching helps the soil in retaining moisture. Mulches are materials commonly spread over the soil’s surface to protect it from the erosive effects of water and fluctuations in soil temperature and moisture. Mulching around the base of shrubs and trees will prevent moisture from evaporating. Mulching the surface of hanging baskets will trap moisture. You may use water-retentive granules or gel to the soil mix in pots, baskets and trays. These are readily available in garden stores or may be ordered online.

8. Check for any leaks in the gardening hose. Save each drop!

9. Use a broom instead of a hose to clean sidewalks or driveways. Sweeping conserves water.

10. Create zones of potted plants and plants planted in beds – Group the plants based on their water needs to enhance irrigation efficiency. Develop zones.

11. Mow the lawn correctly – Mowing the grass at the proper height during summer will reduce the lawn’s water needs.

12. Stop dribbles – Add a shut-off valve to the end of the hoses. Turn the valve to the off position when winding up the hose or opening it.
You will not believe how much water you will save by following the above tips. With the changing mood of the global climate, it is the need of the hour to understand the importance of preserving our water resources to live a long healthy life.

Think before you let it drip!
Save water!