Any good ideas on how to help my garden and flower retain more moisture? I live in KY and we are in desperate need of rain. I am watering things as I can but I wondered if anyone had any more ideas. I've got mulch on everything that I can.
Make or buy a rain barrel.
I have rain barrels and use them we just need the rain:)
Bath water, kitchen water even with dishwashing (especially if you use organic dishwashing soap) liquid in it can be saved and used to water with. Put buckets or coffee cans under the shower and you will be surprised how much they can catch. Don't use washing machine water, too many chemicals in it.
You can use leftover coffee to water, it's good for your plants. You can also use the bathwater if you don't use chemical in it.
Save some milk jugs. Poke holes in the bottoms, but make sure the holes are not too big. Fill the jugs and set them very near the base of the plants. The water will drip for a constant water source. You can adjust the speed of the drip a bit by tightening or loosening the lid accordingly.
Here's some REALLY cool stuff... It's a crystal gel that expands to 400 times it size when water is added... In fact, I just heard on the news that they have developed a way to add fertilizer to this stuff & actually grow food in desert climates!
You add it to the plants soil & the plants absorb the excess water from the gel when it needs it!
Just search the internet for "Plant Gel".
Here's where to buy for home use:
Here's where to buy for commercial farming & also info on how they are farming with it in locations with little water & very poor soil:
---> If you like, before adding water to the crystals, first mix a little fertilizer with your water, THEN add the water with fertilizer in it to the crystals.
* A NOTE:
If this is all a great big hassle for you. Miracle Gro brand now has it's own potting soil with little beads of this type of gel in it.
The bag says: Miracle Gro: Moisture Control potting soil mix.
* I bought some of this potting soil, It's doesn't work as good as adding the gel yourself, but it's better than nothing PLUS it feeds your plants for up to 3 months too.
NEWSPAPERS!!! LAYER NEWSPAPER ABOUT TEN TO FIFTEEN PAPERS THICK AROUND PLANTS AS CLOSE TO STEMS AS POSSIBLE. COVER WITH MULCH OR SOIL, WATER THOROUGHLY. ALSO KILLS OFF WEEDS AND GRASSES WHICH SUCK UP MOISTURE FROM PLANTS.I DO THIS AROUND ALL MY FLOWERS AND BEFORE I PLANT MY GARDEN AS PREPPING FOR PLANTING. DON'T HAVE TO WATER NEARLY AS OFTEN AND USUALLY IN CENTRAL TEXAS THAT'S A BLESSING.JUST TILL OLD PAPER UNDER IN THE FALL. REALLY GOOD WAY TO IMPROVE POOR SOIL TOO.
Dead or dying Iris leaves, pine needles, and cardboard in the proper multi-layers work great. Use whatever you have or can afford. God bless you. : )
Milk jug watering: anchor those jugs down or the wind will blow away as they empty!
To Kellycajun: when you water, does the water go through the newspaper layers or do you just put the hose near the stem?
I used the crystals in my hanging baskets this year, but one caution! make sure they are buried deep. when they expanded, the ones on the surface were sitting there and when I watered, they rolled off and fell onto my deck. One granule of that stuff, about a grain of rice size, swells up to big as an ice cube. Blobs of clear jelly on my deck under each hanging plant, looked sorta sci-fi. Otherwise, they did better than ever before, because they really do give slow-release water to the plants.
You can get a kit for starting a drip system for cheap, I did a drip setup for my aunt's front bed and now she has her whole place set up to water with the opening of one faucet. Drip irrigation is famous of course for maximum water into the ground with minimum evaporation into the air. If a lawn is being watered with sprinklers shooting water into the air on a hot day, it's been found that FORTY PERCENT of the water is lost to evaporation before it hits the ground!!
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