Saving water in the garden

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Saving water in the garden

3 minute reading

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Expert advice Vegetables and fruits Flowers


Drinking water is without a doubt one of our most precious resources, and everyone knows that a garden without water cannot develop properly.

We often face periods of very hot and dry weather, and sometimes we have to deal with watering restrictions. But that doesn’t mean we have to say goodbye to our beautiful gardens. We just need to change our approach a bit. Here are some ideas to achieve this.

Healthy flowers

Start by improving your soil

Quality soil

Adding organic matter to the existing soil will be beneficial whether your soil is sandy or clay. Incorporate composted manure, a 3-in-1 mix, muck or peat into your garden.

Sandy soils are very porous and have low water retention capacity. Add organic matter to help them retain water longer. Clay soils, on the other hand, are composed of fine, compacted particles and offer low porosity. When dry, they repel water and take a long time to absorb it. In this case, adding organic matter will open up the soil structure and allow water to infiltrate more quickly.

Opt for ornamental plants that require less water

plants that do not require a lot of water

Many shrubs, perennials and annuals have lower requirements. The labels often indicate the water needs of the plants. Go for the toughest ones! Here are some examples :

Trees: green ash, bur oak, Amur maple, cherry, Bohemian olive and boxelder maple. Juniper, mugo, Scots and lodgepole pine, Siberian larch and Colorado spruce are all drought tolerant trees.

Shrubs: Dogwood, Mock Orange, Lilac, Staghorn Sumac, Obier’s Nestleaf, Cinquefoil, Buffaloberry, Wolf’s Willow, and Caragana. Vines include honeysuckle and Virginia creeper.

Perennials: gaillardia, coneflower, coneflower, bee balm, delphinium, woolly earwort, iris, flax, baby’s breath, sagebrush, dianthus, sedum, yarrow, pansy, statice and yucca.

Annuals: cosmos, marigold, Drummond’s phlox, coronary lychnid, santolina, zinnia and annual statice.

Herbs: thyme, rosemary, oregano and sage prefer drier conditions.

Use mulch

Mulch in the garden

You will lower the soil temperature, in addition to reducing your water consumption by 20 to 30%. As a bonus, you’ll reduce the amount of weeds in your garden by 60-80%.*

Wood mulches are excellent and commonly used in flower beds. On the other hand, they are useless in vegetable gardens, since the wood mulch will last for several years. Instead, try biodegradable mulches like shredded straw, finely shredded pine mulch, or coconut fiber mulch in your vegetable garden.

If aesthetics aren’t a factor, you can even use a thick layer of newspaper or grass clippings.

With biodegradable mulches, you’ll get an added benefit: by simply mixing soil and mulch in the fall, you’ll increase the organic matter content of your garden. After a few years, the soil in your garden will be of high quality.

Water your plants when they need it

Check soil moisture

To know when to water more established plants, stick your finger in the soil: it should be dry up to the joint or more, and only moist much deeper. This is when you need to water. It is better to water less often, but generously. This will promote the development of deep roots which will improve drought resistance.

You should also know that it is necessary to water early in the morning or at the beginning of the evening. There is no point in watering in full sun since the water is more likely to evaporate. For young plants and transplants, keep the soil moist at all times until establishment.

Water at the base of the plants

Water the base of the plants

Water is mainly required at the base of the plant. Sprinklers are suitable for large areas, such as lawns, but are useless in the garden. The most effective tool is probably the soaker hose. This is laid directly on the ground and placed strategically around the plants, soaking the soil with droplets at the base of the plants.

There are automated sprinkler systems that homeowners can install themselves. These systems, costing between $100-150, provide automatic drip irrigation. They are relatively simple to install and connect to the outside faucet. They can also be set by a timer for daily or even weekly watering.

Another effective way to water is to use a spray gun, directing the water towards the base of the plant, or a watering can for smaller spaces. In this way, the water is applied to the right place.

Collect rainwater

Take advantage of this free and sustainable resource.

Gardens love rainwater because it’s free of harmful salts, heavy metals and chemicals. Its pH and nitrate content are perfect for keeping plants and soil healthy.

Rainwater barrels

Water recovery barrel

Using a catch barrel is a simple way to collect rainwater.

Most barrels on the market come with instructions for installation and are equipped with an outlet for excess water and an insect screen to repel mosquitoes.

Underground rainwater tanks

Rewatec rainwater collectors

More sophisticated rainwater harvesters can further protect the environment by reducing drinking water consumption on a large scale.

For example, Rewatec rainwater collectors, designed and manufactured by Premier Tech Eau et Environnement, send rainwater from the roof to an underground tank with a capacity of up to 7,000 L.

This system is becoming increasingly popular as it offers the ability to water lawns and gardens even when watering restrictions are in effect due to drought conditions. In addition, this solution is very simple to install and use.

Reuse drinking water

Wash the vegetables

Drinking water is a precious resource that is becoming increasingly scarce in certain regions. Fortunately, there are several ways to collect waste water and reuse it in your garden.

For example, around the house, you can easily catch the water that drips from the shower head before it gets hot, or the water used to wash or cook your fruits and vegetables. You can even use the water from the dehumidifier or the aquarium after emptying it.

The list of ideas is almost endless. Always have a bucket handy!

*The benefits of mulch (National Wildlife Federation)

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