May 16, 2012

Wasteless Wednesday: Water-Wise Gardening

Last week I attended a water wise gardening fair with my family in New Smyrna Bach, FL. We had a great time. The kids enjoyed coloring a rain barrel and making flower garden boxes.
We went home with a ton of water saving information, all printed on chlorine free recycled paper with vegetable oil based ink! I wanted to share of few things I learned and a few thoughts on water wise living this week.

During the morning event, we discussed Florida's aquifers, sustainable gardening, and ways to efficiently use water in our homes. Most of the water used in our home (30-70% depending on climate) is used for landscaping, so it is important to evaluate your outdoor water consumption.  We all need to reduce water usage in this area!  Some experts estimate than more than half of landscape water is wasted due to evaporation, wind, and over watering.

Tips on Saving Water Outdoors

Plant native, climate appropriate plants

Use more mulch and practice Grasscycling

Don't over fertilize. You will increase the lawns need for water.

Let your grass grow long.  Raising your lawn mower blade to at least 3 inches will promote deeper roots and hold soil moisture better than a closely cut lawn. Guess I won't fuss at my husband for mowing the grass as much now. ;)

How often do you check your sprinkler system? Do you change the settings with the seasons? EPA Water Sense says we should make a monthly date to regularly inspect our systems. Check for leaks, broken or clogged heads, and other possible problems. It is important to make sure your sprinkler heads aren't watering the payment, right?!

York Restoration Corporation Building Restoration Drip Irrigation

One of things I liked was they discussed micro-irrigation at the fair. Installing low-volume micro irrigation will do wonders for you water consumption. It's exactly what it sounds like, micro-sprinklers that include drip, trickle, and bubbler irrigation to slowly water and minimize evaporation, runoff, and over spray.

However you choose to water your garden and lawn, PLEASE water during the cool morning hours (or after 4pm if you can't), to reduce evaporation. It drives me crazy when I drive by a home watering their yard at noon. Is not even good for the plants. Notice afternoon thunderstorms come in the afternoon? Nature knows when to water, and so should we.
Upcycled Mushroom Bird Bath by Upcycled Stuff on Etsy
And finally, I think water wise gardening should involve water for wildlife! Remember to provide birdbaths, or build small ponds in your landscape to provide drinking water for birds, butterflies, bees and other creatures that are vital to our ecosystem.

Backyard FL Gardening
growing vegetables & kids


  1. The micro-irrigationw works well! I grew up in Arizona and it's all we used there. Thanks for sharing.

    1. That's good to know. I am glad it is gaining interest here in the South.