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Water Conservation in your Garden

Algreen 72 Gallon Preformed Pond Kit
Algreen 72 Gallon Preformed Pond Kit

$159.99

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Our current water supplies are being attacked by both global-warming, and by human industrialization. Global warming has been causing more frequent droughts, in addition to creating more intense storms that have destroyed crops and contaminated existing storehouses of water. If global warming persists at its current rate, many of the world’s most fertile land will be turned into arid deserts in the next few decades. Man-made constructions have also not helped the cause. On top of global warming, man-made creations are also altering ground-water run-off patterns and introducing pollutants directly into the water table, which has further decreased the availability of freshwater.

Above: Rain barrels are environmentally-friendly products that can help you to conserve water.

Each North American consumes an average of 60-65 gallons of water each day. Water use often increases up to 50% in the summertime, due to lawn and garden watering, and car washing. There are parts of the world that do not have any drinking water, yet much of our drinking water is wasted on plants and cars. Plants and cars do not actually require treated drinking water – it does not do them any benefit. Drinking water is also wasted when sprinkler systems are forgotten, or when plants have to be overwatered because they are not suitable for the local conditions.

It's up to us, the individuals, to help. By conserving valuable drinking water, we can be part of the solution, instead of being part of the problem. Water conservation is easy. Just follow the 3 R's of water conservation:

Water Conservation in your Garden: 8 Tips on how to Save Water

  1. Plant native water-wise plants. Water-wise plants have smaller leaves (reducing water loss), tough surfaces on the outer layers of leaves, lightly-colored leaves (reflect sunlight instead of absorbing it), hairy leaves (reduce water loss through transpiration), a backbone (plants with tougher internal structures are more likely to be water-efficient), and deep-rooted systems (make better use of soil moisture).
  2. Use mulch in the garden to reduce evaporation. Bonus marks for those who buy mulch that's made from recycled materials.
  3. Save water by sweeping pathways with a broom, instead of hosing them down.
  4. Install an efficient watering system (drip systems, tap timers, and micro-irrigation systems). Use a sprinkler or watering system that splits water droplets into a fine mist to improve the delivery of water to the root zone of your lawn or garden.
  5. Water late in the day during the summertime, and never on dry or windy days to minimize the water lost through evaporation.
  6. Install a trigger nozzle on your hose.
  7. Water deeply every few days instead of lightly every day. This encourages the roots of plants to grow deeper, and allows them to obtain more moisture from the soil. Break down the single watering into several short sessions separated by several minutes, to enable the water to permeate the soil deeper with minimal run-off.
  8. Use compost for your garden. Compost helps to retain water in the soil in the root zone.

Water Conservation for your Lawn: 6 Tips on how to Save Water

Green Tip:

Prevent Runoff by using plants that cover the entire ground surface. Runoff can carry harmful chemicals, pesticides and excessive amounts of phosphorus and nitrogen into waterways.

  1. Reduce the amount of lawn area in your backyard because lawns generally require a lot of water. Consider replacing lawns with decking or plant groundcovers.
  2. Ask your local nursery about water-efficient grass.
  3. Don't trim your grass to a length shorter than 2 cm because exposing the lawn to the sun will increase the water loss due to evaporation. Longer grass has deeper roots and requires less water.
  4. Purchase a mulching mower to help mulch the lawn (which will reduce the amount of water it needs).
  5. Water by hand with a hose. This way, you won't forget to turn off the sprinkler!
  6. Don't overwater your lawn.

Water Conservation for your Plants: 5 Tips on how to Save Water

  1. Water potted plants by hand using a watering can.
  2. Plant groundcovers, such as wintergreen, in large pots, and cover the exposed earth in smaller garden planters with a layer of pebbles. This will reduce the water loss from the soil due to evaporation.
  3. Group plants with similar watering needs together in your garden.
  4. Set up windbreaks to protect seedlings and to prevent evaporation caused by wind.
  5. Once again, choose native water-efficient plants over thirsty exotic ones!