10 ways to conserve water in the garden

Build healthy soil. 
Never consider the soil in your garden “finished.” Add compost and organic matter regularly for good tilth, water retention, and drainage. Think of it as a work-in progress—forever.

Plant selection.
Group plants together in a garden bed based on how much water they need. Plant drought-tolerant varieties the farthest away from your water source. You’ll not only save some water, but you’ll save time too.

Mulch everything possible. 
Mulches reduce evaporation, and many of them—such as wood chips, leaves, grass clippings, and newspaper—retain water, as well. (Bonus: mulch goes a long way as a weed suppressor.)

Consistent watering. 
Keep to that watering schedule and you’ll use less of it because you won’t have to soak soil that’s become “hard pan” after you’ve missed several days.

Use drip irrigation.
It doesn’t matter if you incorporate a drip line system or tuck soaker hoses under plants. This is the best way to get water directly to the roots with the least amount of evaporation

Use timers on your drip irrigation.
Timers allow you to walk away and visit with your garden neighbours without accidentally leaving the water running for three hours.

Water in the morning hours.
Watering in the early morning hours (before 9 or 10 am) allows the plants to take advantage of that pick-me-up drink of water before the heat can set in. You also get more bang out of your buck because the plants get to drink before the atmosphere does (less evaporation).

Water frequently and deep (and less).
Watering often and deeply encourages those roots to burrow deep into the soil, creating strong roots and healthy plants. (But remain consistent; see #4.)

Keep the weeds out.
Every day that you leave weeds in your garden is another day that you’re watering them. Weeds compete with your plants for water.

Water slowly.
Water your plants like you drink a cup of water. Start “pouring” and let it puddle a bit. Then stop for a beat or two (or more if you have clay soil) and let the water absorb before continuing. Let the water make its way deep into the soil.

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