10 Ways to Save Water and Money

Apply these smart water-saving ideas and make the most of this resource.

| July/ August 2017

  • Collect roof runoff from rain into rain barrels for use in the garden.
    Photo by iStock; schulzie

• Use rain barrels. Direct free runoff from your roof out into your garden via rain barrels. As long as they sit about a foot higher than your garden, gravity can move the water effortlessly to your crops. If your house is located slightly higher than your garden, you may be able to connect the gutter downspouts to a temporary plastic pipeline to distribute the roof runoff directly into your garden.

• Watch for weeds. Be sure to keep areas between plants and rows free of weeds, or the weeds will steal water from your crops. Mulch is a simple way to make open areas unfriendly to weeds.

• Apply plenty of mulch in beds. While you’ve got the mulch out, make sure to apply thick layers throughout your garden beds. A variety of organic materials free for the taking — grass clippings, leaves, coffee grounds and other organic materials — will help preserve moisture in the soil.

• Dig in plenty of compost. If you add compost or rotted manure to the soil every time you plant something, your soil will retain moisture better.

• Plant in blocks rather than rows.Plant leafy greens, onions and other shallow-rooted plants in blocks rather than rows to simplify watering, especially if you water by hand.

• Install shade covers and windbreaks. Turn down intense heat with cloth shade covers and windbreaks, such as old window screens, attached to stakes placed alongside plants. You can also grow tall plants like sunflowers to act as a shade.

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