With major droughts occurring all over the United States, it’s more important than ever to remember to do what we can to protect this finite resource. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that at least 40 states anticipate having a water shortage by 2024. That’s a pretty shocking statistic.
People who have flower or vegetable gardens should be especially vigilant when watering, as well as during the summer months when lawn work is added to the chore list. A few precautions can be easily implemented to help ensure that water is not overused.
Lawn care: If you have an irrigation system for your lawn, keep it working properly and monitor for leaks. During the summer months, water once every three days and water your winter lawn once every five days. Adjust your lawn mower height to 1½ to 2 inches. Taller grass will provide shade for the roots and will hold soil moisture better than short grass. Additionally, when you mow, leave the lawn clippings on your grass to cool the ground and hold in moisture.
Garden care: Use native and low-water, drought tolerant plant species. Your local Cooperative Extension Office will have a list you can reference. If you’re a container gardener or have raised beds, choose your plant containers wisely. Materials heat up differently or lose moisture due to porosity. For example, metal heats up quickly so raised galvanized garden beds and metal containers will require more watering. Clay pots will lose moisture through their porous surface and the soil will dry out faster than glazed pots. It’s vital to use a high-quality potting mix that holds moisture. Organic potting soils like Magic Dirt are better than peat-based soils for many reasons, water conservation being one of them.
The long fibers that make up Magic Dirt Premium Potting Soil, Magic Dirt Garden Soil, and Magic Dirt Raised Bed Soil hold 3x dry weight in moisture for better root growth. They contain zero peat moss, coir, vermiculite or perlite and are superior at keeping soil loose and moist. In fact, one thing to watch out for is over watering. Because of Magic Dirt’s water holding capacity, your plants will probably need less watering than you are accustomed to.
Save and Reuse: Instead of letting rainwater go to waste, install a rain barrel at your gutters to maximize roof runoff. Collect the water and use it on your plants. You can also use cooking water on your plants! When you boil vegetables, save the water rather than pouring it down the sink! It’s actually full of nutrients and can be used as a free fertilizer for your plants. If you have an aquarium, don’t pour the water down the drain when you’re cleaning it. Use the nitrogen- and phosphorous-rich water on your plants. And, place a couple of buckets on the floor of your shower to collect the water that’s wasted when your water is heating up.