Try economizing when water is short

Although this summer so far has not been as challenging as summers can be, August always tends to test a gardener’s patience; by now we are worn out from removing weeds, making sure the annuals and perennials are tidy, and of course, keeping everything watered in the absence of a decent rain.

In fact, watering in general is quite an energy-draining task. Just about every morning these days, I begin watering the most essential, meaning plants growing in containers or the ones at risk, such as the newly planted ones. Frankly, by the time I am done, I have to forcefully motivate myself to take care of other chores in the garden which seems rather ironic since I start off so enthusiastically in spring.

Setting aside the gripes, however, there are few pleasures that can beat the fresh produce and cut flowers that summertime always brings.  So, rather than fuss about things we have little control over, we can relax a little and modify some of the gardening practices to conserve water and get the most of the season. Suggested below, therefore, are some random ideas, which by no means are new, but do seem worth repeating.

PRIORITIZE:  Water in the order of need. For example, take care of container-grown plants and newly planted trees, shrubs and perennials first. Also, while it hurts to do so, consider doing away with perennials that have lost vigor and reached a point of no return.

WATER DEEPLY: As opposed to frequent shallow sprinkles, regular deep soaking is more beneficial to plants, plus helps save water too.

TACKLE WEEDS: In addition to being a nuisance, weeds compete for moisture and nutrients with our cultivated plants; keeping weeds under check is an overall good gardening practice anyway.

MULCH IT UP: Aside from the aesthetic value, mulch helps reduce water loss and keeps the soil cool around plants.

LAWN CAN WAIT: While everyone might not agree with me because the sight is not very pretty, we don’t water our lawn when the going gets tough; a healthy fescue lawn tends to go dormant during hot, dry months when enough moisture is not available, but does green-up when the heat subsides and dry spells are over.

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