Best Water Conscious Gardening Techniques
It’s August and it’s dry (or at least it is suppose to be), and gardening with water consciousness in mind is a must. Knowing the best ways to do this can be tricky, so here is our guide to help you, and your garden, through times of drought.
Water only when plants look like they need it. Remember, most plants die from over-watering, not under-watering. Use your favorite garden tool (trowel, shovel, or soil probe would all work well) to examine soil moisture depth. If the top 2-3 inches of soil are dry, it’s time to water. Also, remember to water your plants deeply, but less frequently, to encourage deep root growth and drought tolerance.
Use a rain barrel or buckets to capture rainwater from your downspouts for use in watering your garden. If you are feeling really inspired, keep a bucket in the shower to catch water as it warms up or runs, and use this water to water plants. To up the ante even more, you can re-route gray water (from your clothes washer or dishwasher) to outdoor areas to use for irrigation.
Keep a layer of organic mulch on the surface of your planting beds to minimize evaporation of moisture and suppress weed growth, which competes for water.
Keep plants well-nourished so they’re prepared to survive drought stress. Local nurseries and garden stores have an abundance of resources on soil amendments, just ask!
If you are planning ahead and thinking about next gardening season and want to add or replace a flower or shrub, choose water conscious plants adapted to the Pacific Northwest. Some of our favorites are Amaryllis belladonna, Artemisia, Ceanothus and Sedums.