As spring continues without much rain, it is incumbent upon all of us gardeners to do our best to conserve water through better irrigation practices, proper plant choice, and the sharing of information. Drip and subterranean irrigation systems will be the most efficient way to deliver water to your garden.
Here are some drip irrigation tips:
- Drip systems require full pressure to function properly and if there are leaks, you won’t notice plants suffering until it is almost too late.
- Ensure your systems operate long enough to water deeply. A one-gallon-per-hour emitter, left on for 7 minutes delivers less than two cups of water to the plant, creating a shallow-rooted, thirstier plant. If watering is deep, it will need to be done much less often, conserving water and creating healthier root structures.
- Set timers to water very early in the morning. This limits evaporation and allows the plants to absorb more of the water delivered.
- Inspect all emitters to ensure they are flowing properly. Inspect all connectors and at the valves for any leaks and repair/replace them.
- As plants grow, the emitters should be moved out towards the drip line (outer perimeter) of the plant to deliver the water to the feeder roots, allowing the plant to more efficiently absorb the water.
Choose the best plants for our climate. Living in a Mediterranean climate gives us a broad selection of low water use plants to choose from. See our Mediterranean climate plants.
Mulching is vitally important to retaining moisture in the soil, which cuts down on the need to water frequently. It also provides the benefit of inhibiting weed growth. Weeds will steal water from plants.