Saving water

Saving water is a really important part of sustainable gardening. Planting water wise plants is a great option, but for me a lot of my plants demand a bit more water because i want the soft, bright flowers as well as growing food.

  • Mulching with thick mulch – at least 3cm thick, closer to 7cm is better. The mulch layer will dry out on a hot day instead of the top layer of your soil where plenty of tiny roots are. Keeping your soil damp this way means it doesn’t become water repellent/hydrophobic. It will also keep your soil alive – that is, keeps worms and microorganisms alive in your previous top soil.
I use sphagnum moss as mulch in my pots
  • Water regularly – For the lazier of us, we put in reticulation! If you have a small yard, you might hand water. I find hand watering quite soothing. Watering often for less time is really all the garden needs – for pop up sprinklers, 10 to 15 minutes twice a week should be plenty. Be sure to give it an extra drink on really warm days, especially pots.
No electrician or plumber needed, this retic system is battery powered – set day and time as you please!
  • Water in the morning – this means the plants will take up a lot before the soil dries off, as they are just starting to become active. I don’t get the opportunity to hand water in the morning because I’m too lazy to get out of bed, but the retic goes on in the morning after first light.
  • Seal your pots – you can pick up products to seal terracotta pots to reduce moisture loss, just grab some at Bunnings 🙂 if you buy cheap plastic pots that are sitting in the sun all day, the pots will likely become brittle. you can seal these too, but might need to re do this as they don’t absorb like the terracotta pots do.
  • Water beads absorb moisture and release as the surrounding soil begins to dry out. these are great for pots because it is so difficult to regulate moisture in them.
  • Recycle – It’s obvious, but often put in the too hard basket. Ma has agapanthus and ornamental grasses out the back that get all of the grey water from the washing machine. Depending on what you are washing it may smell a bit but the smell only hangs around a few minutes. Unfortunately my laundry leads straight in to the aviary, so I need to brain storm a bit more how I can use this.
    I put a large bowl in the sink when washing vegies or washing my hands and put this on the plants that need a bit more water.
  • Joey cans!! This is my favourite way to save water. They are watering cans that catch water from the shower while it’s heating up. We use the joey cans to water the plants in the aviary. They are a really clever way to save just a little bit more water around the home.

    Joey can filling up in the shower
  • Wicker beds – If you are planting permanent plants in a raised bed or pot, this is a great way to make sure you don’t lose all the water you put into the plants. Essentially, it is building a water table within the pot. Better still, leave a bucket under the overflow point and use this water when you have misjudged!

    Diagram of wicker bed
  • Weeping hoses – these will deliver water to the soil rather than the leaves. Mulch over the top so that water doesn’t need to go through the mulch to get to the soil! How groovy is that!

    My weeping hose sits under a thick layer of mulch
  • Deep root water systems – We don’t have trees so don’t need this, but there are plenty of tutorials online on how to set these up. Instead of watering the top soil, you deliver water directly to the roots from 50 cm or more.