On Thursday the 18th I attended a Water Wise seminar presented by Urban Agent Hayes Jackson and Jay Cummings of Green Way Sprinklers. The purpose of the session was to help us learn to conserve water in our landscape. Most of the suggestions are ones we know and should already be practicing: use irrigation wisely; use proper watering techniques; water thoroughly and less often; water early in the morning to avoid fungus and disease problems; watch the clock, and target the root zone of your plants (Suggestions courtesy of Hayes Jackson). These are pretty common sense ideas and don’t need a lot of explanation. Hayes also talked about the growing trend by homeowners and businesses to harvest rainwater through the use of rain barrels or cisterns.
Needless to say, when trying to conserve water in the garden the best rule of thumb is to plant the right plant in the right place. Proper plant selection and placement helps you and your plant thrive.
When Jay spoke, he talked about the use cycle and soak method where the homeowner waters in three cycles 4 to 6 minutes a cycle (water, soak, water). This allows the water to soak in and there is less run off. Of course, this whole idea was foreign to me; my hand shot up immediately. I often run my sprinkler an hour and a half in one area so that the plants could get a really through soaking. However, in the spirit of adventure and to try out this theory I have programmed my irrigation clock to use the water, soak, water cycle to see if my yard continues to flourish while cutting my water usage considerably. I will keep you posted about the results of this unofficial experiment.
Most gardeners have tried to put the extended drought of 2007 and the watering bans of that year behind us. Although Alabama is considered to be a wet state overall, every year presents a time of extreme heat and little rain. All of us who love to garden (as well as those who do not garden) should remember that water is a precious commodity and to use it as wisely as we possibly can.