Sunday, July 7, 2013

Water, water, water....

The weather seems lopsided for the US this year. Parts of the nation are dealing with far too much water and parts of it are dealing with none at all. We're lucky so far in that it's been hot, but not as hot as some places, and it's been dry but not as dry as some places.
If you're in a severe drought, getting water to the lawn or flower bed may not be number one on your list of priorities. A vegetable garden might be on the list, but if it's hard to get enough water to it, you may still be able to save it.

First, mulch everywhere you can immediately after watering. Use whatever you have on hand: Newspaper, cardboard, grass clippings, weeds, sheets of plastic. That will trap and hold moisture right away, then you can concentrate on finding ways to get water to the garden without having to run the hose or sprinklers.

Using gray water is illegal in some areas, so not all of these ideas may work well for you. Whether it's illegal or not, use gray water with caution on food plants. Some is fine, like rinse water from dishes; some may not be, like bath water. Whenever you use gray water, use it immediately. It becomes "black water" quickly as pathogens multiply under ideal situations. Once it's on and in the ground, it doesn't deteriorate.

Save rinse water from your washer. There are many different set ups in laundries, so it may be difficult for you to save it, but try to figure a way to do it. Some people can pump water out onto the lawn straight from the washing machine. Mine goes into one of those huge granite sinks and I just put the plug in it when the wash water drains. (More often, I use the wringer washer and that makes it simple.)

Save rinse water from washing dishes. I don't know how hard it would be to do that with an automatic dishwasher. I wash dishes by hand. Rinse water from dishes is good for the soil.

When it rains, get a bucket or a bowl or whatever you can find and catch the water from your gutters. (In some states, catching rain water is illegal, too, so be sure to check first.)

Keep a bowl under the kitchen faucet to catch drips and drops and water run to cool off or warm up. It's not gray water, so anyone can use it.

I put a pitcher on the back of the cabinet and dump bits of leftover water and ice cubes into it. When it fills up, it waters a couple of plants.

Put a bucket under the faucet in the shower to catch water while it warms up. This isn't gray water either, but if you also put a plug in the tub and catch the shower water, it is.

As you work on it, other water saving ideas will occur. Don't ignore them, no matter how outlandish they may be.