Conserve water and quench your garden

Published 9:40 am Wednesday, July 13, 2011

by Randy Moore

Barrels can be used to collect rainwater for your garden. -- SUBMITTED

I am going to talk about water usage and conservation.

How do you water? Do you use a sprinkler connected to your hose, irrigation system, hand watering, drip irrigation or soaker hoses?

Where does your water come from? Do you have a well, city water, rain barrel or cisterns? Wherever you get water, it is necessary to do it wisely.

If you have an irrigation system, are you or your landscape company checking it on a monthly basis to make sure it is working properly? Are you watering your lawn and plants and not your driveway or any other hard surfaces?

Irrigation heads can get stuck or broken by lawnmowers or even heavy foot traffic; they should be checked regularly for any problems and any parts that need to be repaired or replaced.

If you are using a sprinkler connected to your hose, make sure you are watering your lawn and plants and not any hard surfaces. If you are hand watering, make sure you are giving the roots enough water, as you can get a lot of runoff with this method.

When it gets hot and stays hot, plants loose water through the stomata, and this reaction is called transpiration and plants need that water replaced.

Drip irrigation and soaker hoses use less water and are by far more efficient as the water is placed at the root system where it is needed and slowly saturates the soil rather than the runoff you get in the other methods of watering.

I like these two methods as I can use my rain barrels, and what I do is mix some fertilizer in the barrel and fertilize as I water this is called fertigation.

Collecting rainwater is not a new method and has been around for many hundreds of years. Whether you collect rain in a barrel, cistern or buckets, you should do so wisely.

If you are collecting rainwater in barrels, make sure you use a mosquito dunk or an early method that works as well. You can make a mosquito dunk by placing about one-quarter cup of cooking oil per 50 gallons of water in your barrel. This does not allow mosquitoes to lay their eggs.

The best time to water is early morning, so set those water timers or that alarm clock and water wisely.

RANDY MOORE owns Avant Landscape Design in Courtland. He can be reached at