Tips for gardening without water, recycling water
No water, no problem, tips for dry gardening, recycling water. (iStock photo)
Despite this being the hurricane season, some parts of the Caribbean region are still experiencing drought conditions.
Therefore, Loop Lifestyle put on our thinking caps and thought ‘What are some ways in which we can maintain a beautiful garden without while conserving water?’
Implementing water recycling and dry gardening measures, of course!
There are two key things to understand here, gardens can strive without water and recycled water is just as good – maybe even better for plants than tap water.
Water recycling can extend water supplies, improve water quality, reduce discharge and disposal costs of wastewater, and save energy.
Dry gardening – aka dry farming, when done on a grander scale – is a strategy for gardening where rainfall and irrigation water is in short supply.
Longtime farmer Jenny Rose Carey would likely recommend both practices in a heartbeat; her plants haven’t been watered in six years.
The ultimate goal here is to reduce and reuse – by-products include lowering your water consumption, keeping your garden alive, ‘save the planet’ and, in a way, help out the efforts of the NWC.
Sidebar: If you love gardening but don’t think you’re the type to invest time and care into your plants/crops; save yourself the hassle and hire a professional gardener, plantsman, or landscaper.
No water, no problem! Some best practices you can implement include…
1. Installing a water tank/water butt
Invest in a water tank/water butt – you want to collect and conserve as much water as possible daily.
2. Greywater harvesting
Greywater harvesting involves saving and reusing water from your washing machine, bathtub or shower.
This practice is only recommended, however, when natural or organic cleaning products are used – those that are typically paraben-free, low in sodium, making them safer for the planet and the soil.
3. Mulch like your plant's lives depended on it! Mulching helps to replace plant nutrients lost from fallen leaves, blossoms, or cuttings.
Mulching also reduces weeds and helps with moisture retention.
4. Long live perennials. Perennials are plants that typically live longer than two years (‘per’ and ‘ennial’ literally translate to ‘through the years’).
Essentially, perennials are great for the long haul. Some Jamaican perennials include lantanas, roses, jungle geraniums, and a host of other tropical flowering plants.
5. Place a bucket in the shower. Stand in the bucket or pan while you shower to collect water and store it accordingly to water plants.
6. Re-use water from old drinking water bottles. You know those bottles in the side of your car or around the house that have been there for lord knows how long…pour them all into one and use it to water plants.
Also, try to break the habit of leaving half-empty plastic bottles anywhere opt for reusable bottles instead. Small steps!
7. Use a designated rain barrel to collect water from the roof whenever it rains.
8. Re-use your pasta/vegetable wash water. Instead of letting it down the kitchen sink, set the water aside to cool then use it to water plants.
Old wives’ tale has it that throwing rice water at the root of a somewhat dormant tree encourages growth and crop production. Try it!
9. Scatter ice in the garden. Be it from your refrigerator or leftovers from a drink you just had; toss your ice in the garden every once in a while.
10. From sun up to sundown. Water plants in the morning or in the evening to prevent evaporation during peak sun hours.
11. Give your plants room to grow. The key to getting more out of your garden while watering less seems to be adding extra space for each plant’s root system, according to thesurvivalgardener.com.
If plants are placed too closely together, they’ll compete for water, leaving the soil parched; nobody wants that.
12. Keep competitive weeds at bay. This is encouraged by watering plants at the root zone and/or installing a drip system – one more reason to consult a professional.
13. And, finally, group your plants according to their water needs. Planting is no joke, do your research on the plants you grow or dream of growing to eliminate constant competing for water and nutrients.