31July 27, 2011


When the weather is as hot as it was last week, it can be hard to keep up with watering your plants. If you add in the cost of water, keeping your plants alive can be a costly part of gardening. You can save time and money by changing the way you water. Let me give you a few suggestions.

In some of the cities and towns, the water you use to water your plants can also be charged as water that is going into the sewer system. There is a way to get free water. No, it isn’t some illegal scheme. You can get a rain barrel. Rain barrels have been around for over 100 years. Today’s rain barrels usually are set under the downspouts that carry water from your roof gutters. The water from the downspout goes into the rain barrel and the barrel has a spigot on the barrel that allows you to attach a hose to drain off the water. Rain barrels can be set up so that you can connect the barrels in series. When one barrel fills up the water drains into the next barrel. We have sold rain barrels at the store for years. The technology has improved over the years and the capacity of the barrels now makes a rain barrel a good investment.

Soaker hoses are a hose that has thousands of tiny pores in the hose that allow water to ooze out the entire length of the hose. Soaker hoses will efficiently apply water to an area about 3 feet wide. Soaker hoses are laid out in your gardens in a way that allows the hose to be near the base of the plants that you need to be watered. The hose can be held in place with garden staples. Once the hose is in place, you turn on the water. The hose drips tiny drops of water all along the length of the hose. The water drops onto the soil and is absorbed by the soil. There is little if any water lost to evaporation so all the water you apply with the soaker hose gets to the roots of the plant. Your plants will get the water they need and you will use substantially less water than you would if you used a conventional sprinkler.

Speaking of sprinklers, did you know that some sprinklers would waste as much as 50 % of the water that they apply? The traditional sprinkler that sends a shower of water up into the air and creates a wave pattern of applying the water can lose 30 to 50% of the water to evaporation. If you use an impact type of sprinkler, the water is delivered using a larger drop that is far less likely to evaporate before the water hits the ground. This type of sprinkler also keeps the water close to the ground, which also cuts back on evaporation. Even though this type of sprinkler may not be the type most people are familiar with, it is the first type of sprinkler that I show to people when they come into the store looking to buy a sprinkler.

Watering your gardens and your lawns can be a time consuming and sometimes costly part of gardening. If you use some or all of the ideas that I have told you about in this column, you will save money on watering your plants.

Well, that’s all for this week. There won’t be a column next week due to the Yankee Homecoming coverage. I guess I can say that I’ll talk to you again in 2 weeks.

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