Garderners can conserve water

Each time the temperatures soar, the employees in municipal water departments cringe as water consumption increases.

Each time the temperatures soar, the employees in municipal water departments cringe as water consumption increases.

Municipalities have their own way of dealing with water consumption issues: water bans, odd and even water days or increasing the cost of water.

Gardeners can do their part to conserve water, with the most obvious being collecting rainwater.

Rain barrels can be purchased or made from large drums that are cleaned and have spouts added.

Either way, they are placed under the downspouts and fill quickly in a rainstorm.

The collected water is then used on the garden through gravity feed or hand watering.

Research has found that less water is used when gardens are watered by hand but the garden still thrives.

Watering by hand is time consuming but the water is placed on the plant roots and not between plants. Damp soil that is exposed to heat and the sun dries quicker that soil that is protected by leaves or mulch.

Watering when it is cooler outside, morning or evening, decreases the amount of moisture that evaporates. That being said, plants that are prone to mildew should be watered in the morning as cool, wet leaves are more likely to become infected.

Using a timer that hooks to the garden hose limits the amount of time that the hose can run.

Putting a rain gauge under the sprinkler will give a good indication of how much water is making it to the ground. An inch (one to two cm) is a sufficient amount of water to keep most gardens hydrated for five to seven days.

Take time to adjust sprinklers as there is little benefit in watering weeds, sidewalks and roads.

Lawns need less moisture if they are allowed to grow taller. Instead of setting the lawn mower at two inches (three cm), raise the blade an inch to three inches (four to five cm).

At this height, grass will still stay upright, look good and not go to seed.

The taller grass shades the ground and the crown of the plant.

This little bit of shade slows evaporation of moisture from the ground and transpiration of the plant; and that keeps the lawn green longer without being watered.

Lawn that is not watered will turn brown but come back green with moisture and cooler temperatures.

Flowerbeds and gardens where foliage overlaps use less moisture than ones where the ground is exposed to sunlight.

Covering exposed ground with mulch also keeps the moisture in.

Mulch need not be complicated or elaborate. It can be as simple as covering wet ground with a thick layer of peat moss or compost.

The dry layer on top of the moist soil will slow down evaporation.

In cooler weather, the layer can be mixed into the soil or it can be left on top and the worms will eventually combine the two layers.

Pots and baskets only have a limited amount of soil and water-holding capacity, which means that they need watered on a regular basis. Growers have found that 14 inch (20 cm) pots are optimum.

This size of container can hold enough plants to be attractive and enough soil to hold sufficient water for one or two days. Containers that have reservoirs in the bottom also work well, making it possible to water less often.

In some areas, water is more of a luxury than others.

Adopting habits that conserve moisture now will mean more water in the future.

Likewise, a little care and the garden will thrive in the hot weather without using excessive water.

Linda Tomlinson is a local horticulturalist who can be can contacted at your_garden@hotmail.com.

Just Posted

Updated: Red Deer welcomes 2019 Canada Winter Games Team Alberta

About 250 Alberta athletes are participating in the Games

Syrian immigrants feel welcomed

Winter Social held at Festival Hall to promote multiculturalism

Small group rallies with pro-immigration message

Group wanted to counter misinformation on United Nations migration agreement

Trump says ‘things are going very well’ with North Korea

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Saturday that “things are going very… Continue reading

NDP won’t stop until Trans Mountain is built, says minister

Deron Bilous speaks at Red Deer chamber luncheon

VIDEO: Students in MAGA hats mock Native American at Indigenous Peoples March

Diocese in Kentucky says it is investigating the matter, caught on video by onlookers

CONSUMER REPORT: What to buy each month in 2019 to save money

Resolve to buy all of the things you want and need, but pay less money for them

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Kriechmayr edges Swiss favourite Feuz to win WCup downhill

WENGEN, Switzerland — It takes a special run to beat Switzerland’s best… Continue reading

WestJet plane heading to Victoria slides off Edmonton runway, no injuries

EDMONTON — A WestJet plane has slid off an icy taxiway at… Continue reading

Sam Bennett scores twice, Flames beat Red Wings 6-4

Flames 6, Red Wings 4 CALGARY — Sam Bennett scored twice including… Continue reading

Rare ‘super blood wolf moon’ takes to the skies this Sunday

Celestial event happens only three times this century

Most Read