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Tips and tools for waterwise gardening

Written for Oregon Tilth by Marian Hammond. Here at Oregon Tilth, we frequently hear from gardeners who are looking for new and better ways to save water while keeping their gardens green and healthy during the dry summer months.

July 29, 2013
Written for Oregon Tilth by Marian Hammond 

Here at Oregon Tilth, we frequently hear from gardeners who are looking for new and better ways to save water while keeping their gardens green and healthy during the dry summer months.

And we have good news: the Regional Water Providers Consortium—a group of 20+ local water providers plus the regional government Metro—has some great, no-cost resources to help you do just that.

The Consortium provides a “Weekly Watering Number” on their website (www.conserveh2o.org) -- which you can sign up to have delivered straight to your e-mail inbox. Based on the weather in your zip code area, the Weekly Watering number advises how many inches of water your lawn and or garden will need for the upcoming week.

Also, you can reduce outdoor water use by selecting low-water and native plants, and use smart watering techniques. RWPC offers plant guides, information about lawn alternatives and how-to videos on its website: http://www.conserveh2o.org/using-water-efficiently-outdoors

Finally, here are the Consortium’s “Top Five” waterwise tips for your garden:

  1. Water lawns and gardens early in the morning (before 10 am) or later in the evening (after 6 pm) when temperatures are cooler and evaporation is minimized.
  2. Adjust your sprinklers so that they are watering your lawn and garden, and not the street.
  3.  Water in several short sessions rather than one long session to allow for better absorption and to prevent run-off.
  4. Adjust your mower to a higher setting. A taller lawn provides shade to the roots and helps retain soil moisture, so your lawn requires less water.
  5. Group plants with similar watering needs together, as different plants require different amounts of water.
Happy gardening!
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