Friday, July 31, 2015

8 Water Saving Tips for the Rest of the Summer

It’s been a tough summer for gardeners and plants in the NW.  July 2015 was the hottest month ever recorded in Seattle, with an average temperature of 71.2 degrees – which doesn’t seem very remarkable until you consider that in July alone, we experienced 10 days with high temperatures in the 90s.  In over 120 years of weather records, Seattle had never seen more than 9 days with temperatures at or above 90 degrees in a single year, let alone a single month.

Due to our unusually warm and dry summer, the City of Seattle has asked residents and businesses to voluntarily reduce their usage of water by 10%.  Here are some ways to save water at our P-patch: 

  1. Water in the morning.  Watering in the middle of the day will speed evaporation and can burn foliage on particularly hot days
  2. Be proactive about watering plants in containers, once the soil has dried out in pots, it’s difficult to get it rehydrated
  3. Prepare the dirt around the base of your plantings to allow greater absorption
  4. Water close to the ground rather than spraying water from up high
  5. Use mulch around the base of the plant to insulate the any moisture.  Up to 70% of water can evaporate from the soil on a hot day if you don’t have mulch as a protective layer on top. 
  6. Increase organic matter – it builds humus in the soil which allows it to absorb many times its own weight in water that is then available for plant growth. 
  7. Weed control:  Weeds steal water that would otherwise be available for desirable plants.
  8. Be picky about which plant you water.  Don’t waste water on unhealthy or undesirable plants remove or replace them instead.

I’m sure there are more water-saving tips. Please feel free to share them.