Taking Root #12

Water Wise

By Gini Bramlett

With water being more expensive than ever due in part to it becoming a natural resource we can no longer take for granted, it is more important than ever to think about how we will use water in our home gardens.

Those of us with vegetable and flower gardens, berries and fruit trees, as well as those with green lawns, need to find creative ways to save on this most valuable commodity. When planning a new landscape, plants that have low water needs are a good idea.

For vegetable and flower gardeners and berry growers, using drip or soaker systems can save an abundance of water simply by watering only the plants and not the pathways. Overhead sprinklers have their place, for sure, and can be highly effective for watering larger areas, but in garden rows or raised beds, they can waste hundreds of gallons by watering areas that really don’t need it.

I keep an inexpensive oven timer in the garage that is meant only for outdoor watering my raised beds. I set the timer according to each individual bed’s water needs.

Digital timers can be big time savers too, but can be a bit costly if more than one or two are needed. They can be set to run automatically at specific times of the day and/or week, and can be especially effective if you’re going out of town. But you still have to have a timer for each faucet in your yard, and this can add up.

Each of my raised beds has a separate connector, which enables me to water only the bed that needs watering. I also try to grow vegetables with like water needs together. Some need watering more often and some need it less frequently. This way, water is used only when and where it is needed.

I know that some of you may be a little concerned about the expense of purchasing soaker hoses and connectors, but they aren’t that cost-prohibitive, and will save you money on your utility bills in the long run.

My husband and I have also made the decision to not water our lawn during the hot summer months; our vegetables and berries get what water we use. Lawns will go into dormant periods during dry weather and turn brown. Some people have the mistaken idea that if their lawns are not watered all summer, they will die, but that’s simply not the case. Lawns will again become their glorious green after the first good rain. Holding out on watering lawns will save dollars on your water bills and help assure there is water for everyone when needed.

Brownsville Farmer’s Market

Don’t forget to stop by the Brownsville Farmer’s Market on Saturdays from 9am-1pm for fresh local and organic vegetables, berries, cherries, peaches, herbs, jams, chutneys, local honey, and fresh green beans are just around the corner. Also, stop by for fresh pastries and breads along with your morning cup of coffee

A certified Master Gardener is present at the market most Saturdays to answer all your garden questions.

The farmer’s market is looking for new vendors to sell their produce and wares at the market on Saturday morning. Crafters are also invited. For more information about the market, call manager Diane Remoir at 541-359-5898.

And remember, volunteers are always welcome on Thursday mornings from 10-noon at the Community Garden to help plant, weed, harvest and assist in other garden duties. During hot weather, we tend to get there earlier when it’s cooler, so come when you can. No need to call; just stop by. We’ll be glad to see you and appreciate the help you can give!

Harvests from the garden help the Brownsville Senior Center, Sharing Hands Food Bank and Senior Meals.

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