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
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.
Photo: © Creative Commons Zero (CC0)
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. Taller 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.
Consider these tips from conserveh20.org as you prep the sprinkler system for the season for effective and efficient watering.
1. Look for signs of leakage, especially damage to sprinkler heads or piping which could have occurred over the winter. Repair and replace as needed.
2. Look for accurate spray patterns. Adjust your sprinkler heads so they water your landscape and not sidewalks or pavement. Also make sure their spray isn’t blocked by plants or other materials.
3. Clean clogged nozzles and sprinkler heads.
4. Install a rain sensor. Rain sensors are designed to shut off sprinkler systems when rainfall reaches a preset amount, usually 1/4 inch. Once the moisture level subsides, the sensor re-enables the sprinkler system, resuming the previous watering schedule. Rain sensors should be mounted in an unobstructed area exposed to open sky – minimizing the potential for fallen leaves or other debris from blocking the sensor.