With the latest water bill landing on the door mat recently, I thought it would be worthwhile to explore some of the many ways of saving water in the garden in particular. As well as the garden there are lots of ways to save water in the home as well. However being a garden blog we will concentrate on what you can do in the garden.
One way to reduce the amount of tap water you use in watering is to collect rain water. Water butts added to the guttering on your greenhouse, shed or ever the drainpipes on your house will soon fill up and give you a renewable source of water for a one off cost at the start.
Almost any container can be used to collect water, and old IBC containers can be bought for a similar price to a water butt, however they can hold 1,000 liters which is a huge amount of water to save.
Choosing the right pots and containers
Terracotta pots dry out much quicker than plastic ones. Most people however prefer the look of terracotta, so line the pot with plastic, to get the nicer look, but the water saving properties, Also make sure you mulch the top of the soil with gravel to reduce water loss. This will also cut down weeds and may well look better too.
Selecting the best plants
By choosing plants that prefer dryer conditions your water needs will be less. Choosing Mediterranean plants such as lavender, rosemary and plants with silvery leaves, all have lower water needs and so can tolerate less frequent watering.
Watering the garden with so called Gray water- if water that has had a use already means less goes to water. If you select washing liquids and powders that are ecological and safe for a septic tank then your garden plants will have no problem in being watered with this water. Using a washing up bowl and then putting the waste water on the garden will keep the plants healthy and slash your water use and costs. With the reuse of water in the the garden you need to consider whether you need to engage in any form of waste water treatment. In general most of the waste water from your home can be reused. But care should always be taken to ensure that sensitive plants do not get water with un-wanted chemicals.
Mulching the borders
As well as pots mentioned above you can mulch the borders with bark chippings that will reduce weeds, keep the moisture in and also look good. The bark gradually breaks down improving the soil, and will need to be topped up from time to time. By reducing weeds your plants will have less competition for water and nutrients so should perform better.
With the ground still nice and damp it is a good time to mulch as you will prevent evaporation and thus reduce the water requirements of the garden.