Who doesn’t love water-saving solutions! We are all more water-wise these days and with good cause. By implementing some smart water-saving solutions in the garden it saves you time, saves the plants from dying and helps care for mother earth.

Here are my 5 top tips plus a bonus tip.

#1 Water Crystals

These can be a life-saver especially for pots that tend to heat up and dry out faster than a garden bed. Water crystals are sugar crystal sized super duper absorbent polymers. They are added to the soil and when wet can well up to 300 times their original size, absorbing not just water but nutrients too. 

They work by stopping the water and holding in place near the roots. This is water and nutrients that may have otherwise drained through a pot or dried up before the plant had a chance to access it.

They are environmentally friendly and will eventually completely breakdown into the soil.

# 2 Drip or mini spray irrigation system

This is great if you are time-poor and need something you can put on a timer so you don’t even need to worry about turning it off. This isn’t always a water saver though. If you set a timer to come on a few times each week you may end up wasting water or over watering, especially if you have had recent rain. 

The big benefits of an irrigation system are convenience, ease of use and restricted flow.  The ideal set up would have a timer where you can set start and end times that you can program or turn on manually. You can choose a combination of delivery methods such as drippers, half-moon sprayers, pot attachments, adjustable flow outlets and many more meaning you can put in the exact right option for that part of the garden or a pot. 

The drawback is that it can cost a bit for the initial outlay as you need timers, irrigation hose, outlets, connectors, elbows, valves, stoppers and if you are on tank water or have hard water, you’ll need filters as well. Another drawback is that you need to inspect it regularly. Those teeny tiny outlets can get blocked with the smallest particles so they need a clean which can be as simple as pulling it out, dunking it and putting it back in. 

I love my irrigation system as it allows me to walk through and inspect my garden while it’s being watered. I only turn it on when water is needed and make sure that all my plants are getting enough and making adjustments as I go. 

#3 Water Slowly

Have you ever noticed how much the garden loves rain more than hand watering from a hose? It looks far more alive and for longer. It is because most rain is slow and long. 

By watering slowly you are allowing the water to soak in and permeate through all the layers and elements within the soil. The soil then has a chance to hold onto the water for longer and the roots have more time to take up the moisture and nutrients. 

When we get out there with a hose or watering can we essentially dump a heap of water on in a short space of time and most of this runs off the surface and away from the plants. 

A simple solution is to use a soaker hose instead of a handheld nozzle. By putting this on low pressure and letting it just dribble out you are creating a proxy irrigation system, just be sure to move it around so all areas get a good soaking.  

#4 Harvest Water

You don’t need to have a professionally installed 10,000lt tank to harvest rainwater. It can be as simple as sticking a bucket outside in the rain or in the shower to collect the water while you are waiting for the hot water to come through. Here is a list of ideas that you can do.

  • Put large buckets or tubs outside in the rain or under dripping areas ie gutters, run-off from trees or structure
  • Install a gutter downpipe water diverter. It’s easy and cost-effective. You can then capture water in a wheelie bin or large drum to use later. When it’s full just turn the diverter back to normal. 
  • Put a bucket in the shower. During last summer when water was super rare we showered with a bucket at our feet. We then used it to water the plants or flush the loo. You can also do a similar thing with dishwater. Rinse or wash dishes in a tub in the kitchen sink then put the water on your plants. Be mindful to use environmentally friendly dishwashing liquid. 
  • Divert your greywater. Washing machine water is great for the garden, again as long as you use plant-friendly washing detergents.
  • Create water runs in your garden beds. Make little interconnected channels around plants to capture extra water, it’s like making little cups for them to drink from.

#5 Wicking Beds

Love love love these! You can use just about any container, bucket, tub or if you want to go big, an IBC cut in half. The principle is that there is always water for the plants to access.

The layers consist of pebbles, rocks or coarse sand that will sit in the bottom of the container. This is where the water will sit. You have a tube that feeds from the top directly into that area that will supply the water. You will also put in an overflow so that when it is full it won’t flood your plants. 

On Top of the pebble layer, you would put geotextile fabric. This separates the soil on the top from the reservoir down the bottom while still allowing the water to be taken up into the above soil.

Then the next layer is your growing soil. In this, you plant your plants and mulch. Fill up the reservoir via the pipe until it overflows and you have yourself a wicking bed. 

​#Bonus Tip  – MULCH!!

It wouldn’t be a water-saving episode if I didn’t mention mulch. If you aren’t mulching you and your plants are missing out! Use what you have or what is ideally local but the main thing is to use something. Anything organic that is seed free.

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Keeping chickens is so much easier than you think!

Download my simple beginners 'chicklist' to get you started.

Keeping chickens is so much easier than you think!

Download my simple beginners 'chicklist' to get you started.

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