In typical years, summer heat
means daily watering, but with tough California water restrictions in place
homeowners have to find creative ways to make less water go further in their
Apply Biochar to Your
Landscape: Biochar is an all-natural
charcoal-like substance that improves moisture and nutrient retention in soil while
providing a habitat for beneficial soil microorganisms. Look for lawn and
garden care products at your local nursery that contain a blend of soil
amendments and biochar. Apply the mixture to your landscape. Since biochar
holds in moisture, lawns can go longer between waterings.
Reduce the Size of Your Lawn: A lawn does not have to dominate a front or
backyard. Reduce its size and ring the remaining grass with drought tolerant
plants. These plants not only take less water, but also need less maintenance
than the once-a-week mowing that lawns require.
Change Your Watering Schedule: Many cities only allow watering two or three days a
week on specific days. Check with your city for restrictions and schedules. Fines
can run as high as $500 after previous warnings and violations. When using
automatic sprinklers, set timers to run on between 4:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. to
cut down on daytime evaporation. Make sure water is absorbed into the soil and
not spraying sidewalks. If allowed, water lawns for 15 minutes at a time.
Use Drip Irrigation: You will use less water and
water more deeply by using drip irrigation or other water-conserving methods
for plants, trees and shrubs. Apply enough water to soak 6 to 8 inches into the
Expand Areas of Mulch: Mulch requires no water,
yet it can make a garden area look full and well manicured. Intersperse large
areas of mulch with drought tolerant shrubs and plants. While these plants are
often slow growing initially, once established, they will grow quickly and fill
out the space. If your yard already contains mulch, it may be time to add another
layer. Mulch consists of various sizes of chopped wood, usually made from
recycled trees and other wood materials so it naturally thins over time.
Ideally, plants and trees should have about three inches of mulch around their
base. When the mulch compresses to about two inches, add another layer. Mulch
will retain water--a critical advantage during the year's hottest months--and
keeps roots cool even during the heat of the day.
Pick Vegetables Often: Pick ripe vegetables even
if you do not plan to use them immediately. Vegetables that are not harvested
soon enough will produce a chemical that inhibits further blossoming. Inspect plants
at least every other day during the summer. This is especially true for beans,
cucumbers, eggplants, squashes and tomatoes.
Established Grapes and Berries: Established grape and
berry vines and trees require surprisingly little water. Water deeply once a
week until fruit is harvested. After harvest, water once or twice a month.
Red Chili Peppers: When chili peppers turn from green to red,
they can be picked and dried for cooking. Once picked, dry them thoroughly in
the sun until they become brittle. Store the dried peppers in moisture-proof
Labels: biochar, drip irrigation, drought, gardening tips for July, lawn, mulch retains moisture, Southern California