Michelle Morgan

It’s gardening season in California but with a potential drought coming water usage is a growing concern. Even if conditions aren’t dry at the moment, it’s a good idea to think about how you use this precious natural resource — and how you can use it more wisely.

Here are five great tips from your friends at Gene Morgan Insurance Agency to help!

  1. Think about where to plant. Your space has a big impact on the amount of water you
    need to use. The same backyard can have areas that get different amounts of sun, shade
    and rain, for example. A flat spot will hold moisture better than one that is sloped. And,
    don’t forget to check the soil — clay soils will retain water much longer than sandy soils.
  2. Choose the right plants. Different plants and vegetables thrive in different conditions.
    Pick plants that will work well in your climate, and group plants with similar watering
    needs in the same area.
  3. Increase moisture retention with mulch. Mulch does more than insulate the soil and
    reduce evaporation. It is also effective at reducing weeds, which can suck up water
    meant for your plants. And, mulch doesn’t have to be bark or manure; it can be a plastic
    sheet. Add a soaker hose or drip system underneath for the best results.
  4. Know how much water your garden is getting. Install a rain gauge (or even a tuna can)
    so you always know how much water your garden has received — either naturally or
    from sprinklers. The average garden needs about an inch of water a week. If you can
    feel moisture just under the surface of the soil, you probably don’t need to water. And,
    remember, sprinklers don’t always provide even coverage, so monitor where the water
    goes, not just how long you’ve had them on.
  5. Install the right irrigation. One of the best ways to get water to your garden is through a
    soaker hose or a drip irrigation system. Both are (usually) inexpensive and easy to
    install. They are beneficial because they don’t simply spray water. They instead provide
    it in measured doses right at the root zone.

With a little bit of planning (and some dirt on your hands), you truly can have a water-friendly garden in the Tri-Valley. Enjoy the season!