If you’re a gardener that has an unlimited supply of water, consider yourself lucky. Many people live in areas experiencing severe drought condition where the garden and lawn watering restrictions make it difficult to grow healthy, lush gardens. Many people just give up when they find out how few gallons of water they are permitted to use, but some of us have just found ways to cope with less water.
There are many ways for gardeners to conserve water while still keeping their plants lush. For instance, drip irrigation (the use of a pipe or hose with small holes to gradually seep into the roots of the plant) is a great way to water plant directly. Plant placement is also effective. A garden design which places plants in groups of equal watering needs prevents wasting water on plants that don’t need it. Also, using compost or mulch prevents drainage and hold moisture.
One of the best ways to keep your garden thriving during a drought is to take preventative measures. Occasionally a drought will be predicted far in advance so set up rain barrels to catch as much rain as possible before the dry weather begins. Those already experiencing a drought should take advantage of what rain does fall by setting up several rain barrels.
Some companies sell specially made rain barrels but any large container which can catch and store water is suitable. You can even use a garbage cans. It’s a good idea to cover your rain barrel with a screen of some sort in order to filter out any unwanted leaves or debris that might fall off the roof of your house.
Once you have your barrels, place them where they‘ll catch the most water during a rainfall. Often during rainfall, there is one corner or segment of the house from which rain tends to pour off. If you are taking the simple approach to barrel placement, just place the barrel under all the places where you see large amounts of drips. However, while this might be the easiest way to place them, you won’t see very high volumes of rain in the barrels.
The most effective way to catch rain water involves adjusting your gutter system a bit. If you remove each individual segment and place it at a very slight slant so that all the water is diverted to the nearest corner of the house, you can place a rain barrel at each corner. Basically, your entire house acts as a catcher for the rain, instead of just a few feet worth of shingles.
After a heavy rainfall, each individual barrel probably won’t capture very much water. If, after it rains, it looks like it won’t be raining again soon, it’s a good idea to empty each barrel into one main central barrel. Seal it and save it out of the way, for whenever you may need it. Then the next time it starts to rain, you’ll be able to quickly put all your catching barrels into place without having to carry around all the water you’ve accumulated so far.
The use of water barrels might sound like an antiquated idea. However, when you’re in the midst of a drought and you’re able to spare that extra couple of gallons for your garden in addition the city allotment, you’ll be grateful for every bit of time and money you spent on collecting all that rain. A few quick trips to the backyard each time it starts to rain may help you conserve water and grow a healthy garden through periods of drought.
Related Articles: Dry Gardens, Dry Shade, Water Conservation