Maintaining a nice landscape or garden is very important for most home owners. Gardening has become a passionate hobby. The plants provide the food and ornamental benefit to owners and also help in reducing the carbon dioxide in atmosphere. They consume water and carbon dioxide to make their food in the presence of sun. This process is called photosynthesis (assuming most of you know this but just in case!).
Native plants are adaptive to the environment and do not require watering every day. The Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS) recommends Big bluestem, Eastern red cedar, Blazing star and Pitch pine as low water use plants for the North East region of the country. See their website for recommendations for other regions.
Xeriscaping is the concept of landscaping or gardening without any requirement of supplemental irrigation. It requires sowing of plants whose water requirements are met through regional precipitation. Though it requires adequate planning in sowing, it can be very helpful in saving the time on regular basis and money by reducing water and energy bills.
Plants that require irrigation should be irrigated in the evening instead of daytime to minimize the water losses due to evapo-transpiration. Sprinkler systems cause undesired wetting of plant and hard surfaces (roads, patio and pathways). Drip or trickle systems are more efficient than sprinklers in saving water since these systems add water directly into the root zone. A drip system provides water exactly where it is required, so it saves both water and energy by reducing the time of irrigation. It is important that any irrigation system should not be left unattended for long.
Mulching not only helps in reducing the evaporation but also reduces the weeds. Organic manure or compost helps in increasing the soil water holding capacity. High water holding capacity of soil decreases the loss of water due to gravity. It helps in retaining the nutrients in root zone for long duration and reducing the water sources contamination, since washed-out nutrients can pollute the surface or ground water resources. Fall is the right time to start preparing the compost for next year. So think ahead of time and plan your garden to conserve the natural resources.
If you have a balcony, see how you can garden then. You can even set up a garden at your office if you have a rooftop. And if you’re interested in urban gardening, check out this blog. There are also lots of blogs out there about sustainable gardening, such as Garden Rant. Take a look, it’s great stuff!