Home » Gardening » Special reports » Watering responsibly – we’re all involved

Watering responsibly – we’re all involved

Systems to water plants

Watering is an essential part of gardening – but how should we go about it?

40% of American rivers and 25% of Western and Central Europe’s rivers are extremely polluted.

For the past two decades, raw water reserves are degrading at alarming rates.

It is now crucial to preserve this resource. Using it responsibly is one way of doi ng this.

Did you know?

  • Watering, a critical garden taskOn average, only 1% of the annual supply of drinking water is actually drunk.
  • Half of the world’s population will meet extreme water shortage in the course of the next quarter century.
  • Preserving this rare resource is getting more and more important.

We often water too much and inappropriately.

First, reduce the amount of watering needed

Mulch and deep soil, let nature store water

Nature has many ways to store excess water, so a wise gardener finds ways to take advantage of it.

  • Water less with mulchSpread mulch everywhere you can: in flower beds, shrub beds, under fruit trees, to the side of walkways…
  • Increase soil depth with raised gardening.
  • Even lawns needn’t become ‘water sinks’: plant kikuyu grass, dethatch and topdress to turn rock-hard lawns into healthy, water-absorbing surfaces.

Lastly, use hydrogel in the garden as a way to store water and retain it for plants.

Water only during appropriate seasons

Water evaporates very fast under direct sun.

  • In summer, it is much better to water in the cooler evening hours. These cool hours give plants and soil time to ‘drink up’ before all the water evaporates.
  • In fall and spring, on the other hand, only water in the morning to avoid freezing.

Plant native plants

Native plants evolved over millennia to survive only with whatever water is naturally there.

What to use for watering

Best type of water for watering

Rainwater not only reduces your water bill, it is much healthier for your plants and vegetables, too.

  • Best is to set up a rain water recovery system.
  • Most rooftop materials are safe, but in some cases runoff may include contaminants. This is the case for brand-new roofs. Freshly painted roofs or those with peeling paint aren’t ideal, though.
  • Generally, perfect materials for roofing and water collection are traditional, natural ones: slate, thatch, terra-cotta shingles, wood shingles…

Other types of water should only come as a backup:

  • Garden and wateringTap water usually has chlorine and fluoride to control infections and bacteria, for instance.
  • Watering with bottled water is a clear example of waste: all that pumping, filtering, packaging and transportation! Keep it for more essential needs such as preparing baby formulas and drinking for vulnerable people.
  • Ground water or well water is often loaded with too many minerals. As a result, in time, irrigated soil often shows signs of mineral poisoning.
  • Runoff water from roads picks up many pollutants. For example, small dust from tires, brake pads, and exhaust fumes contain heavy metals. They might end up in your vegetables! Even for flower gardens this isn’t ideal because polluted pollen kills bees and butterflies, too!

Smart tip about watering

World Wildlife Fund tip: Check weather forecasts before watering, there is always a chance rain will fall soon!

Images: CC BY 2.0: Steve Ilott; Pixabay: J.W. Vein, Karolina Grabowska / Kaboompics, Manfred Richter
A comment ?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *