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Wed, 05/02/2012 - 09:24 — Sarah Martinez
1. Use mulch.
Water-smart tips you probably haven’t heard
Get creative with water conservation
It’s that time of year again. The sun is beating down, and “Conserve Water!” is once again our rallying cry. There are very few Texas gardeners who aren’t familiar with the standard water-smart tips:
1. Use mulch.
2. Water deeply, but less frequently.
3. Use drip irrigation and soaker hoses.
4. Choose water-wise plants.
5. Water in the mornings or evenings so there’s less evaporation.
Texas Water Smart, in fact, has an entire website devoted to conservation tips. But sometimes you’ve got to take matters a step further. During last year’s heat wave, many Texas gardeners got super-creative in using every single drop of water. Here are some out-of-the-ordinary ideas you might employ in your yard.
Watch for “concrete watering,” and put it to use. If you’ve got an older irrigation system, there’s probably one zone that’s not quite right. At my house, we’ve got a single sprinkler head that consistently overshoots the front lawn and ends up watering a bit of the driveway.
We’ve given up tinkering with it. Instead, I move my smaller container gardens to the edge of the driveway, and let them get a drink from the spillage. Small hanging baskets come off their hooks and enjoy this drizzle, too. Problem solved. No tools required.
Write your own rules for rain barrel placement. The ideal place for a rain barrel is right by a building or attached to a downspout. But it’s not the only place they can be located. Several folks are supplementing vegetable gardens using rain barrels located in the middle of the garden or along the edges. Here’s an example posted on Pinterest. Convenient placement trumps the fact you’ll collect a little less water.
Use big AND small containers for rain collecting. If you know a storm is coming, set out your watering cans to collect the rain. Goodness knows your container gardens will be parched just days later. Mosquitoes won’t have time to establish in the watering cans during that short time frame. Free water for your porch pots!
Put the kids—and kiddie pool—to use. Nothing says summer like the kids splashing in their wading pool. When the fun is over it’s time to put that water (and the kids) to work. Instead of dumping the pool in the yard, I have my girls bail out the water using their watering cans. They tote it over to the perennial beds and give the flowers a drink. It extends their water playtime, and gives the plants a boost.
Now it’s your turn. What’s your favorite water-miser scheme? Comment below and fill us in.