Waterwise Wednesday: Enjoying the Fruits of the Harvest

Its harvest time for all those rain-barrel-watered garden veggies.

Save water during cooking by rinsing the produce in a large bowl of water and gently scrubbing with a veggie brush. Steam the veggies instead of boiling – it preserves nutrients in addition to water. If you choose to boil, use the minimum amount of water and save it to water plants later.

And to preserve fruits and veggies, eat them in order, starting with the things that will go bad the soonest:

First: bananas, berries, cherries, kiwis, avocado, spinach, lettuce, and grapes

Second: tomatoes, mango, peaches, pears, melon, apricots, and zucchini

Third: cucumbers, pineapple, and pomegranates

Last: carrots, potatoes, celery, apples, grapefruit, and oranges

Photo © Liz Van Steenburgh

 

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Waterwise Wednesday: Nebraska Natives

Our downtown native landscapes serve many functions: to absorb and purify water, stormwater managements, water conservation, beautification, and inspiration. Enjoy these Nebraska native plants from the Guadalupe Center’s pollinator garden.

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Waterwise Wednesday: Feed the Lawn

It’s the height of mowing season (Yes, bad pun) with many uses for grass clippings:

1. Leave clippings on the lawn as a natural fertilizer.

2. Compost clippings, making sure to mix the grass into the pile to enhance aeration and prevent compaction.

3. Make (Lawn Clipping) Tea
Make lawn clipping tea by placing fresh cut clippings in a bucket of water and allow it to steep for about three days. Then pour the nurtrient rich brew onto the roots or spray on the leaves.

4. Mulch with clippings to retain moisture, suppress weeds, keep the soil cool and improve its fertility.

5. Raised Bed are a great way to use up your excess grass clippings. Thin layers of clippings alternate with thin layers of shredded leaves to provide a nutrient rich compost base to the bed.

6. For the truly crafty use clippings as a natural organic fabric dye.

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Waterwise Wednesday: Managing Stormwater Runoff

While it’s unusual to get the amount of rain we had two weeks ago, it does remind us to take some flood precautions.

1. Basement windows or doors are common storm water entry points and should be sealed against leaks. Clear plastic covers or window wells that extend above ground level can help. Ideally, window and door sills should at least a foot above ground level.

2. Slope the yard away from the foundation to prevent water from pooling near the house and leaking into the basement. Create a rain garden or low basin landscaped with shrubs and flowers to encourage water to soak into the ground.

3. Eliminate paved surfaces where possible and consider alternatives that allow water to soak into the ground. Consider porous concrete or porous pavers for driveways. Gravel or woodchips for walking paths.

4. Aim downspouts toward the lawn and away from the foundation and paved surfaces. Consider using cisterns or rain barrels to catch rainwater for watering lawns and gardens in dry weather.

Photo: Creative Commons

Waterwise Wednesday: Garden Hose Tips

Use an adjustable shut-off nozzle which can be down to fine spray so that water flows only as needed. Turn it of at the faucet instead of the nozzle when finished to avoid leaks.

Use hose washers between spigots and water hoses to eliminate leaks.

Do not leave sprinklers or hoses unattended. 600 gallons or more can flow in only a few hours. Set a shut-off reminder to turn it off.

 

Check all hoses, connectors and spigots regularly.

Install ornamental water features, like fountains, only if the water is recycled. 

 

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Photo: © Creative Commons Zero (CC0)

Waterwise Wedneday: Lawn Watering Tips

Don’t overwater your lawn and remember a hearty rain eliminates the need for watering for as long as two weeks.

Water lawns early in the morning – the lower temperature and wind speed are reduce evaporation.

Position sprinklers to water the lawn and shrubs … not the paved areas.

 

 

 

Raise the mower to at least three inches.   Image may contain: grass, shoes, outdoor and natureTaller grass encourages deeper rooting and shades the roots to retain soil moisture.

Avoid overfertilizing. Fertilizers increase the need for water and mowing.

Sweep, not wash, clippings back to the lawn from the driveway or sidewalk. Washing the driveway can waste hundreds of gallons of water.

Waterwise Wednesday: Landscape Tips

1.  Mulch to retain soil moisture and control weeds.

2. Plant native and/or drought-tolerant grasses, ground covers, shrubs and trees. Once established, they do not need to be watered as frequently and they usually will survive a dry period without any watering.

3. Group plans together based on similar water needs.

4. Choose the right water system for the job. Drip irrigation and soaker hoses work well in plant beds, while sprinklers work better on the lawn.

Photo © Creative Commons Zero (CC0)

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