Even though it comes from the tap on demand, clean, potable water is one of the most precious things on Earth, and irrigation claims highest usage of water in the U.S. How can we conserve water in our landscapes? Let us count the ways:
1. Organic matter matters. Adding compost to your landscape will increase the water holding capacity of your soil.
2. Use much mulch around your plants to reduce evaporation and hold water in the soil.
3. Be intentional with your irrigation and convert to drip irrigation to deliver water directly to plants’ root systems. Overhead irrigation wastes up to 50% of water.
4. Don’t be shallow. Water less frequently and more deeply to encourage plant roots to grow deep in search of water.
5. Use the water that Mother Nature gave you and collect rain to water your gardens.
6. Plant varieties of plants that are Southern natives because once established, they naturally grow without additional water.
7. Grow veggies like southern peas, tomatoes, okra, sweet potatoes, melons and corn because they aren’t so thirsty. Southern heirloom varieties can be especially drought tolerant because they were developed before the advent of modern irrigation systems.
8. Go on a lawn diet and reduce your property’s waste line! Lawns are thirsty. Turn it into vegetable, shrub or perennial beds and be the first in your ‘hood to loose a little lawn.
9. Get organized and group plants according to water use so you can water efficiently.
10. Create raised beds that are water-wise because you can get up out of the clay and grow in soil where water stays longer.
For more about Farmer D, visit farmerd.com or his store at 2154 Briarcliff Road.