On Monday morning I was on WAKM AM radio show Spotlight on Spring Hill again to talk garden talk. Since here in Tennessee we just had a 2 week dry spell I thought some water conservation tips would be helpful to mention on the radio. Here’s a few tips I gave:
1) Water in the Morning
If watering is necessary, water in the morning to reduce evaporation from the hot summer sun. Watering in the afternoon will lose more water and creates the ideal conditions for fungal diseases: hot and humid.
2) Water deeply and less often
Watering the soil deeply when you water will keep more water in the soil longer. It also encourages roots to grow down deep in search of that water, longer roots means stronger plants.When you water frequently the roots don’t have to grow deep into the soil to get water so they remain in the upper layers which makes a weaker root system.
3) Consider purchasing and using rain barrels.
Rain barrels will store water from recent precipitation for use later. The water that runs off our roofs is generally wasted water that would be great if used on a hot, sunny day in the middle of July. Most rain barrels store at least 40 gallons or more and will easily fill up after one short rain. The rain barrel in the picture can be found at Gardener’s Supply Company. For some great information on rain barrels take a look at the recent issue of the Tennessee Gardener where garden blogger Dee Nash has a great article explaining rain barrels and rain gardening. You should go pay her garden a visit!
Mulching your gardens with a good layer of mulch (about 2 inches) will keep the soil cooler and retain much more moisture in the soil. Last Thursday I moved a plant to a new garden and dug into the soil underneath the mulched garden bed and found moisture, after almost two weeks of no rain. It’s almost like striking oil for the gardener!
5) Soaker Hoses not sprinklers
When you water use soaker hoses to keep the moisture on the ground. Sprinklers send water up into the air which increases evaporation and results in the plants receiving less water while you receive a higher water bill. Soaker hoses aren’t practical for watering lawns but unless you are starting new seed you really should go easy on watering the lawn. Covering the soaker hose with mulch also helps to increase the amount of moisture retained in the soil.
Hopefully rain will be plentiful this summer, but one thing is for sure, you can never count on the weather to do what you want!
(click on the pictures above to visit Gardener’s Supply Company)