Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Rules for Watering

There aren't any hard and fast rules, of course. But there are wise practices. As the earth warms and water becomes ever more precious a resource, we must husband what we have. In fact this sping we here in Connecticut are 8" under so far for moisture. Shocking, isn't it?

Here's some suggestions on how to utilize what we have:

  1. Purchase an attractive watering can, one of substantial size (maybe 2 gallons). It should balance well in your hand, have a removable rose, and be presentable enough to live in the garden. (I love my French Blue from Gardener's Supply in Burlington, VT). Keep it filled at all times, especially as you leave the garden at the end of a workday. That way it's always handy to employ on a moment's notice.

  2. Obtain a good hose, keep it coiled and ready to use. If your's is a large garden, having one in each section is smart. Invest in hose guides so that as you use the hose across yard & garden it doesn't smash your lovely plants. (my hose guides are dark brown metal, ornamented with little birds, and they stay in place all season long)

  3. Set up a rain barrel. These are widely available nowadays, and are a direct descendant of the wooden barrels our grandmas had under the downspouts of our childhood homes, catching all that soft rainwater. One or two of these, hard at work snagging all the free water sheeting off the roof will go a long ways towards conserving water.

  4. Irrigate early in the day, if possible, to avoid evaporation in the midday sun. Try not to water in the evening; that promotes fungal disease.

  5. Refrain from watering your lawn. Instead, keep your lawn soil rich by using a mulching mower; dusting with a thin layer of compost; and incorporating clover into the seed mix. Grit your teeth in times of drought; the lawn may go dormant, but it'll come back!

  6. Keep your garden soil organic and therefore able to retain moisture. Dig in that compost!

  7. Mulch, mulch, mulch. Use an organic product such as Sweet Peet or Agrimix. Mulch helps the rainfall to soak into the garden; it keeps soil moisture from evaporating; it beautifies your garden; and it prevents erosion, just to name a few of its attributes.

Wise use of water befriends Mother Earth, upon whom we all ultimately depend. Do your part.

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