What are the two biggest users of water in your home? Toilets and landscape watering. In fact, during the summer, half of all household water usage can be for the lawn and garden. However, it's possible to dramatically reduce your water consumption, lower your water bill and still have a beautiful, productive garden. Just follow these eight steps:
1. Add organic matter to your soil.
All soil is not created equal. Soil is essentially a collection of mineral particles of different sizes. If most of the particles are large (sand), water passes through rapidly. If most of the particles are small (clay), water will penetrate the soil much more slowly. The solution for either problem is the same: add organic matter. Organic matter, in the form of compost, chopped up leaves or composted manure will improve the texture and water-holding capacity of your soil. Add at least an inch of compost each year.
To learn more about improving your soil, read Building Healthy Soil.
2. Deliver water to the root-zone.
Soaker hoses ensure that up to 90 percent of the water you apply to your garden is actually available to your plants. Sprinklers can claim only a 40 to 50 percent efficiency. Drip irrigation and soaker hoses minimize evaporation loss and keep the areas between plants dry, which also helps limit weed growth. Aqua Cones from Gardener's Supply are an economical and effective way to get water directly to the roots of individual plants.