Conserving Water in the Garden

There are many ways to use less water on your garden, and still have a bountiful harvest. This guide is about conserving water in the garden.
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March 30, 2011 Flag
15 found this helpful

Last year, my family ran into the not-so-fun situation of running out of water in our well. Oh, the things we take for granted! But necessity is the mother of invention and it lead me to do the following to conserve water:

Take a used 2.5 gallon plastic water container (Target sells bottled water this way and so does Super Walmart and BJs) that has a pull tap and cut a large, 3 sided hole in the back, leaving a plastic flap that can be opened or closed. When you take a shower, take the container in with you. As the water is warming up, hold the shower head so the water fills the container. I was surprised to find that it took almost 2 gallons of water to get it up to temperature! I then use the water for plants, our dogs and cats, and even to wash my hands. This conserves water when the weather is dry, saves money for those who have town water, and is a great emergency resource if you lose water if you lose electricity. It is also good when camping - put it at the end of your picnic table and you have an on site faucet!

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By Rita from Whitinsville, MA

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July 6, 20120 found this helpful

I have a small leak that can't be fixed need new faucets. So in meantime, I set a glass under faucet and in morning I have a glass of water to take my pills, without wasting the drips thru the night.

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July 6, 20120 found this helpful

Also, the collected water that would have been wasted you can dump in the toilet and flush the toilet without using the water in the tank. Every little bit adds up!

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July 16, 2010 Flag
5 found this helpful

We bought a rain barrel this year. I noticed our condensation pipe for the central air conditioning was spitting water so I put an 8-gallon can underneath the pipe and it fills itself in 24 hours. I pour this water in our rain barrel so we can reuse it.

By waitress from Brick, NJ

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July 22, 20110 found this helpful

Tomatohanger, could you post some "natural" methods to keep cool? I would sure appreciate not having to use the one small a/c that we have, since the temperature where I live can go up to 110degrees! My son has asthma and he cant breathe when it gets very hot. I never waste the water and use it to water my pot plants or sweep it around on the ground in my stone flagged yard to cool it down so we, and our pet dog can actually be able to walk there without burning our feet! Yes, it gets that hot here in malta.

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July 22, 20110 found this helpful

Some of us fall apart in the heat! & what with the dreadful heatwave in the East. A/C is definitely called for! Our a/c unit drains into the flower bed below. Definitely good for the garden. There was a good feature on yahoo recently about keeping cool over the summer, using fans, and so on. Even putting ice/frozen milk jug in front of the fan. I've done that. We have fans in almost every window and more & turn them on/off as the weather changes. Luckily here in So. Calif. the nights are cool, so if we put the fans on before we go to bed, it will cool the apartment significantly. We notice the difference when we have been gone for a few days, & the fans haven't been running!

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August 31, 2012 Flag
5 found this helpful

By sawing a piece of PVC pipe that can stick up from the ground about 5 inches and have about 7 inches below the ground you can have a great watering/fertilizing gardening helper.

PVC Pipe For Deep Watering

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July 1, 2009 Flag
5 found this helpful

Here are some tips for conserving water in your garden: Water your garden in the late afternoon but not at night. It needs time to let the surface dry so mold and fungus aren't able to damage the plants.

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July 22, 2008 Flag
2 found this helpful

Here in North Carolina we have been experiencing drought conditions and are being encouraged to be mindful of wasting water. Since I have many plants which often need to be watered, I have tried to think of ways to be able to water the plants while conserving water.

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June 20, 2011 Flag
1 found this helpful

We have a small dorm size refrigerator that we use for extras like sodas, water, and party food. It is not frost free, so in the summer it frosts up easily. When I defrost it, I try to catch all the water that drips off then I remove the big pieces as they become loose.

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July 9, 2016 Flag
0 found this helpful

This is a guide about use cooking water for watering plants. Nutrients and minerals such as calcium are released into the water as you cook eggs, veggies, and other foods such as pasta.

Silver pot with steam coming out of it against black background

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July 5, 2016 Flag
0 found this helpful

This is a guide about conserve water with a snow fence. If you live where there is lots of snow and wind you may save water with a man-made or living snow fence.

Bright Orange plastic mesh snow fence in a field of snow

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November 20, 2007 Flag
1 found this helpful

Keep track of the days that it rains on a calendar. Circle the day and write "Rain". This way its easy for you too see which day it rained. It will help you save money on your water bill.

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July 5, 2005 Flag
0 found this helpful

Few of us are aware of how much water we waste. Most of us merely turn on the sprinkler and walk away. In many places, water is not only scarce, it's expensive. How you deliver water to your lawn and garden can have a major effect on your water bill and ultimately, on the environment.

The Best Delivery Systems

The goal of watering wisely is to deliver the right amount of water to the right location, the plant's roots. Any more, any less or anywhere else is simply a waste. Overhead sprinklers are outdated and inefficient because water is delivered to areas not needing it and significant amounts are lost to evaporation.

Low-pressure drip irrigation systems work best. Slow, thorough soakings encourage roots to grow deeply to where moisture supplies are more continuously available- ultimately reducing your need to water. Porous pipes, in-line emitter tubing and soaker hoses deliver water directly to the base of each plant, each drop soaking into the soil. These systems are flexible, simple to assemble, adapt to any site and reduce water use up to 70%.

Devise a simple drip watering system around trees and shrubs by punching holes into the bottoms of plastic jugs and burying them into the mulch under drip lines.

Recycling Water

Rain barrels and livestock tanks attached to rain gutter down spouts are easy, inexpensive ways to collect and store water for gardening. Attach spigots and hoses to the bottom to create cheap, gravity flow drip-systems. Cover them to prevent children and small animals from falling in.

Water from the kitchen sink and bathroom toilets should not be used for irrigation due to health concerns. Water draining from the shower, bath, or laundry can be used, however, if you use chemically free soaps and detergents in your home.

The water used to rinse milk cartons is good for preventing certain plant diseases common to tomatoes, eggplants, petunias, peppers, and potatoes. It also protects cabbages from cabbage worms. Recycle water after cooking vegetables to enrich houseplants with valuable vitamins and minerals.

How Much Water is Wise?

As a rule, water deeply, but infrequently. Most vegetables need about 1 inch of water per week. Trees and shrubs need only a half-inch. To determine how long to leave your system on, place several cans of the same size around areas being watered. Check the time when you turn the water on and leave it on until at least one of the cans is filled with an inch of water. Now you know how long to leave your system on.

Other Factors to Consider

Soil Type: Excellent, healthy soil will reduce your need for watering. Water percolates quickly through sandy soil and slowly through clay.

Soil Moisture: Don't base your decision on when to water solely on the look of your plants. Strong afternoon sun can temporarily cause plants to wilt despite moist soil. Overwatering can also cause wilting. Test your soil's moisture. If you have to dig deeper than 2-3 inches to find moist soil, it's time to water.

Plant Types: Corn prefers a lot of water, cantaloupes less. Plant thirsty plants together and keep in mind it can take transplanted seedlings up to two years to lose their root ball and develop downward roots. How you water those first two years can contribute greatly to root systems later on.

Mulching: A good layer of mulch around everything in your garden will hold moisture in and keep water-competing weeds out. Don't forget to mulch pots and planters, too.

Time of Day: Water early in the day before heat causes excess evaporation and so leaves have time to dry before nightfall, reducing the chance for spreading disease.

A Few Water-Wise Tips

© 2005 ThriftyFun

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May 1, 20070 found this helpful

Hi,

Is there any problem with the chemicals in the pool water, especially Chlorine? I would think that the high concentration of chlorine would kill grass and plants?

Thanks,

dave

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July 23, 20130 found this helpful

Before I plant any veggies in my raised garden, I bury a black soaker hose a few inches below the ground in trench. I cover the hose with soil and then plant the tomatoes, peas, beans and etc. next to the hose. I then attached a hose that is hooked up to a timer. When the garden needs water, I only have to turn the timer on for an hour or so and the roots are nicely watered and the plants are not. That sure helps with preventing mildew on the plants. They don't have to dry off after watering.

Source: Me! However, I am sure I am not the only one who thought of it.

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June 28, 2011 Flag
1 found this helpful

Water is one of the earth's most valuable resources, so it is important to make sure that we garden in a way that doesn't over-use or waste water. With a little planning, you can reduce your garden water waste, and save yourself a little money at the same time.

Watering Solutions

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May 20, 2012 Flag
2 found this helpful

My husband loves his fish tanks and I love gardening. Between the two of us we use a lot of water. But he bought a fish tank vacuum to help him clean out the tanks and originally had it hooked up to the bathroom sink faucet.

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September 14, 2009 Flag
2 found this helpful

I noticed water coming from a pipe from in the attic of the house and traced it back to the unit for an air conditioner, that is in the attic of a lot of Florida homes.

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June 27, 2014 Flag
0 found this helpful

This is a guide about using greywater in the garden. Greywater is the domestic wastewater resulting from household water use. Some sources such as water from showers, sinks, or bathtubs is generally safe to use for garden irrigation.

woman watering in her garden

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July 1, 2011 Flag
1 found this helpful

We noticed that there were puddles outside the windows with these air conditioners. We gathered some old five gallon buckets, and placed them under the drips.

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May 26, 2005 Flag
0 found this helpful

When watering your lawn by using sprinklers, make sure the water is not hitting your house (ex. siding, windows, or foundation walls), only the grass, flowers, and bushes.

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July 3, 2007 Flag
0 found this helpful

Instead of running the sprinklers on a timer, I only turn them on when needed. Been doing this for years. Since we have water restrictions in our city, we are limited to T and F.

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June 22, 2010 Flag
0 found this helpful

We save our bathtub water and run it through a pipe into barrels under the deck. We then hook up our pump to hoses and water our garden with the recycled water. The deer do not like the soapy water!

By denowolfes from Talbott, TN

Recycle Waste Water in Your Garden

Answers:

Recycle Waste Water in Your Garden

Great Job! Bet you spend many happy hours in your garden. GG Vi (06/06/2010)

By Great Granny Vi

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June 2, 2010 Flag
0 found this helpful

A great tip for water drought areas. When taking a bath, save the water! Plants love the soap to kill off insects and salts for the nutritional value. We drink tea, soft drinks, milk, etc. and save those containers. After your bath, emptying your kids pool, after boiling potatoes, corn, eggs etc. let the water cool down. Then water your plants. I will get about 12 gallons from one bath. Why let it go down the drain? Use it on your flowers or veggies. Reuse your dishpan water also. When you get in the habit of doing this you would be amazed on how much would have gone to waste down the drain.

By Doreen from Bartow, FL

Answers:

Recycle Waste Water in Your Garden

Put a bucket under the faucet when waiting for shower water to warm up. This is fresh water that would be wasted. Now you can use it anywhere. (06/06/2009)

By Mama2one

Recycle Waste Water in Your Garden

I also use the grey-water from baths to flush our toilet. I just fill a bucket to use later when we need it. (06/06/2009)

By susanmajp

Recycle Waste Water in Your Garden

I keep a bucket on the kitchen floor to dump the water I used to rinse rice, wash vegetables, etc. I probably get a bucket full of what I call green water once a day during the week, and more on the weekends. (07/31/2009)

By MarieClaire

Recycle Waste Water in Your Garden

We do this, too, and we've been able to siphon the bath water using a garden hose. This only works if your tub is higher than your garden area, though. Other things we do to save water:

  1. Use the water from boiling/steaming veggies (plants love the nutrients and we actually drink it, too, cause it's full of minerals).

  2. When I wash lettuce in my spinner, I use the rinse water for my plants as well.

  3. We installed downspouts in our gutters to drain into 60 gal barrels which we use for watering flower beds. (Wish we could have gotten 200 gal barrels!)
Here in northern NM, some people build their homes to reuse the "gray water" from kitchen sinks, bathtubs, washing machines, and they save tons of well water in this way. (08/13/2009)

By emanuelli

Recycle Waste Water in Your Garden

Would it be OK for my garden if I used the bath water after my kids' bath? We bathe our girls together to save on water but wondered if the soap in the water would be hard on the plants? If not, that would be a great use for the garden.

You can also reuse these types of water to help flush toilets to save water. (08/13/2009)

By emhauss

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September 14, 2009 Flag
0 found this helpful

We don't have a big garden. Just a tomato plant, some succulent plants and magnolia tree we try to give extra water too. We have a large window A/C unit in a spot where we can easily put a dish pan to collect the water that drips from it otherwise it would be all over the patio making a mess.

We started using that water on the above mentioned things and then began to thrive. We decided it was free of chlorine and maybe that was giving the plants a cleaner "drink" of water when we have some. It is so dry here and at times we don't have any.

By Bev from Uvalde, TX

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