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This article was written by Matthew Clay, 2021 NC State University Summer Intern with North Carolina Cooperative Extension in Lee County.
Tired of consuming more water in the summer watering your garden? Water may already be limited during periods of drought and there are ways to save on water usage in your garden. There are several things a home gardener can do to have a water-wise garden.
One option to help conserve water is the timing of watering your plants. Avoid watering in the heat of the day to reduce the amount of water that can be lost from evaporation. A second option is to plant drought-tolerant plants which need less water and can tolerate dry periods. Some examples of drought-tolerant plants are Black-Eyed Susan (Rubeckia hirta), Yarrow (Achillea millefolium), and Sea Lavender (Limonium latifolium). These plants also provide great color to your landscape and serve as pollinator attractors. In addition, planting plants with similar water requirements can help conserve water. Adding mulch around plants can help retain moisture and help reduce the amount of water evaporation from the soil. If you remove weeds from the garden, you eliminate competition for the water, and then less water is needed. Another option to save on your water bill or to conserve your well water is to collect water using a rain barrel. A rain barrel collects water that runs off your house and into a downspout where it is then collected and stored in the barrel. Keep a cover or a screen on top of it to prevent debris and bugs from getting in it and have it elevated so water drains easily to water your garden.
By conserving water, you help preserve the water supply of our environment. It will also help your garden thrive during periods of drought. Also, if there are water limitations due to drought, your garden will not be as affected.
Matthew Clay is the 2021 NC State University Summer Intern for North Carolina Cooperative Extension in Lee County.