Let’s talk about the elephant, or maybe the grasshopper, in the corner of the garden.  If you are like me and you have been following the dire extended drought situation in California, you may be wondering, how bad will the water situation get in Utah this year and how will it affect my garden?  We have already heard some early warnings of possible water restrictions to come and, without several significant storm events in the mountains, our snowpack will not be as deep as we would like it to be.  This is beyond our control, but there are simple things gardeners can do conserve water in the garden.  Therefore, in honor of Utah State University’s 2015 The Year of Water declaration, I would like to share 3 simple tips you can do now to help you inexpensively conserve water in your garden later this growing season.

  1. Convert sprinkler system spray heads to drip irrigation tubing and emitters. One note, avoid mixing different types of sprinkler heads in the same zone.  Conveniently, there are adapters to retrofit sprinkler systems with drip tubing and emitters with only minor modifications.  Therefore, you can save water and save money with drip irrigation without too much fuss or finances up front.  For more information on this tip, check out the not-so-conservatively titled USU Extension fact sheet ‘Water-wise landscaping:  Ideas for landscape water conservation without changing your landscape design’.
  1. Limit irrigation to your planting beds by not watering your walkways. By applying water to your planting beds and not your walkways, you are not only saving water, you are also saving your back from having to weed your walkways.  Weeds love water too so use drip irrigation to deliver water exclusively to your garden plants.  A top dress of mulch will also help to conserve water, and exclude weeds.  For more information on mulches, check out the more briefly titled USU Extension fact sheet ‘Using mulches in Utah landscapes and gardens’.
  1. The million gallon question on a dry year like 2015 is …. Is it legal to collect rain water in rain barrels in Utah? And the answer is …. Drumroll please …. YES, it’s legal with minor restrictions– and it is inexpensive to build your own barrel!  Check out this great information on Rainwater Harvesting provided by Brian Greene from USU Extension Water Quality – or watch the video below to learn what is legal and how to build your own inexpensive rain barrel – Thanks Brian!

Thanks for helping USU Extension honor ‘2015 The Year of the Water’ and make sure to brag to all your neighbors, family, and friends about how your garden is the poster child of water conservation in 2015!