You’ve got this. You can still grow what you love with less water, it just means being a little more creative. And I’ve decided drought, adversity in general, makes us better gardeners.
It means focusing on just the things you love, the things that make a real difference if your life, and letting go of the rest. And, if what you love is somehow impossible, well maybe it opens up a spot in an otherwise jam packed schedule to try something new, adding one more something to the growing list.
I was recently asked to share some water wise tips on Good Day Sacramento. It went a little like this:
Containers make excellent gardens. They concentrate attention on what needs to be cultivated and what needs to be watered. Just the space your container occupies. So let go of landscape and think on a smaller scale.
Water Wise Container Garden Suggestions
Use soils designed for containers such as a potting soil. I like to use a planting mixed with coconut coir and perlite. Coir means I don’t have to use peat. Plus it’s hydrophilic or water loving, holding moisture really well without becoming waterlogged.
Topping soil with mulch helps maintain soil moisture and regulates soil temperature. Keeps weeds down and protects soil structure. Coarse compost, bark, wood chips or rice straw all work well.
Set up a thoughtful watering system that works for you. A drip system, self-watering planter, nanny pot or an olla all work well. Keeping water where you want it, in the soil.
You can just see the top of the olla, an unglazed clay pot, in this box of herbs. It’s planted below the soil surface and filled with water. Water slowly seeps through the sides of the clay basin into the surrounding soil, right at the root zone. Exactly where you need it, helping develop heathy root systems and reducing water loss through evaporation.
A nanny pot is any kind of bottle, like a wine bottle. Fill it with water, flip it over quickly and push it into the soil near the plant(s) you’re watering. Again, like the olla, water slowly seeps out of the bottle (this time through the top) and into the soil as the soil dries.
12 Water Wise Gardening Tips
- Focus your attention. Grow gardens in containers, raised beds and manageable planting areas.
- Right plant, right place. Native plants, plants adapted to grow in your region or micro-climate and water wise fruits and veggies are a great place to start. *Read more on water wise edibles.
- Mulch. I use it every where I can except the few spots set aside for native, ground nesting bees and puddling areas for butterflies, etc.
- Group plants by need, this is also called hydrozoning. Keep more demanding plants closer to home so they can benefit from added attention and grey water (the water you might toss out after washing greens for instance).
- Rain barrels. Collect and store rain water to be used during dry times.
- Permeable landscaping does everyone a favor and helps restore ground water supplies.
- Direct the flow of water through your property using rain garden strategies.
- Water when it’s cool. The morning is a perfect time if using a drip system or something similar.
- Choose an efficient watering system such as drip, soaker hoses, self-watering planters, ollas or nanny pots.
- Replace your lawn. This is probably tops of the water wise trends list. Get on the band wagon.
- Succulents! The shining stars of water wise and everything fashionable in 2015.
- Grow what you love.
*BTW, here’s me on Good Day Sacramento! In case you missed the live clip. (smiley face emoticon)