Water Efficiency and Soil

In many parts of the country, many of us have already started thinking about watering or irrigating our yards. Where I live the summers can get rather hot and the skies can stay dry for a few months on end.Where hand watering lead to in-ground sprinkling systems primarily due to convenience, we are all becoming increasingly aware of the growing need to conserve water as much as our time. And, conserving water has become more important for both economic and environmental reasons. Here is a partial list of things to look into to reduce your yard water usage:

  • Switch to a drip system if you are using a regular in-ground irrigation system with spray heads.
  • Irrigate in the morning if possible when temperatures are coolest and before your lots of users put constraints on water pressure in your neighborhood. 
  • Use a timer as much as possible.
  • Pay attention to the weather and adjust irrigation as needed.
  • Water deeply and less frequently as your climate and plants allow. Most plants will grow deeper roots if watered less frequently, allowing them to be stronger and hardier. 
  • Consider landscaping your yard or areas of your yard with more drought tolerant plants. Check to see if there is a native plant nursery in your area. Google ‘drought tolerant’ or ‘xeriscapes’ to get lots of ideas. 
  • Reduce the amount of lawn or eliminate lawn all together. Another option is to let your lawn go dormant and brown for the summer; this depends on the type of lawn you have. 
  • Research and build a rain garden in your yard.
  • Check out new, ‘old’ ideas like Huglekulture, a water-efficient type of berm gardening, originating in Germany.

Finally, amend your soil with compost, pumice, coco coir, and peat moss or other ingredients that can enhance your soil’s ability to retain moisture. Compost in particular, adds healthy organic matter to your soil, and provides an environment for water, air, and beneficial organisms to exist and thrive in organic garden soil.

Green Planet Naturals uses compost, pumice, peat, and coco coir in all of our various garden soil mixes, in part because each has a quality of retaining moisture in garden soil. Pumice naturally and simultaneously aerates the soil, improves drainage, and helps retain moisture. Coco Coir, primarily from Southeast Asia, is very quick to absorb water. Peat moss is a little slower to absorb water, but once wet stays moist longer.

By Linda Brown, General Manager, Green Planet Naturals

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