I have always been a survival of the fittest sort of gardener. Meaning that if plants to do thrive I do not plant it again. Now here in Oklahoma we have some brutal summers. HOT and dry. We often go from rainy and cold to 100 degrees in what seems like a week. So what is a frugal gardener to do? Several years ago we were in the midst of a drought and I got sticker shock from my water bill. Off the library I went, looking for answers to my water woes. I stumbled upon this book The Complete Guide to Water Storage: How to Use Tanks, Ponds, and Other Water Storage for Household and Emergency Use (Back-To-Basics Conserving) I know a long tittle,but what an enlightening book it was. It led me to investigate and try new ways of saving water.
I was already doing the usual things to save on water. Like water in the cool part of the day, Planting climate appropriate plants. But now I add these water conservation tricks to my arsenal.
- I started collecting Rain Water – You can get rain barrels if you want but any container will work in a pinch.
- I started saving our grey water. Grey water consists of any water used to wash. That is dishwasher, washing machine, showers, tubs. My dream house will have a grey water system. Before we fixed our shower faucet it leaked. I put a 5 gallon bucket under the shower head to collect the dripping water
- I put an old horse trough that I put next to the garden. I have it set up with a soaker hose so that I can use the collected rainwater to water the vegetable garden
- I plant drought hardy native plants and grasses in my flower beds.
- I water less frequently but for a longer period of time. This encourages a deeper root system
- I use mulch and compost. These help the soil retain moisture
- I save kitchen water. That is the water from rinsing vegetables from the garden, any cooking water and any leftover water from our water bottles. I put this water into a bucket outside my kitchen door to use for watering my plants in containers.
- I collect the water that drains when I water my hanging baskets and reuse it.
- I found out just how much water my garden plants needed. Most vegetables need 1” a week. I track the actual rainfall and adjust my water schedule accordingly.
- I make sure the water is going where it is needed, not on the driveway or sidewalk.