Clever Gardening Technique
Conserving Water in the Garden
Some commonly recommended steps for cutting down on water use include:
1. Reduce the size of the lawn, or at least of the amount of lawn planted to Kentucky bluegrass mixtures, which need a lot of water to look their best.
2. Reduce fertilizer use on all outdoor plants because overfertilizing promotes lush growth that requires more water.
3. Incorporate organic matter to increase water-holding capacity of the soil.
4. Construct wide raised beds for vegetables to give them maximum depth of amended soil for deep root growth. Raised beds also allow more efficient watering because the water stays in the root zone.
5. Use mulch to reduce evaporation from the soil and keep the surface from crusting, which leads to runoff instead of water penetration.
6. Water with drip irrigation or soaker hoses and avoid overhead sprinklers, which waste a lot of water.
Xeriscape Plant Guide
The Xeriscape Plant Guide (Fulcrum Publishing, 1996; $27.95) covers 100 water-wise plants, with photographs, color illustrations, and excellent growing information. It's a collaboration between numerous organizations guided by Xeriscape Colorado. Pay special attention to the culture information to find out if the plant sounds adaptable to New England soils and weather.