The Orange community and the City Council have reduced the amount of potable water used over the past few years by more than 50 per cent.
Gardening expert Reg Kidd said this efficiency gain through smart water use has translated into more effective and efficient gardening.
Here's how you can think smart and save your garden during Level 5 water restrictions and the drought.
11 STEPS TO SUCCESS
- Don't make major changes to your garden in summer. Soil disturbance will encourage moisture loss.
- Mulch, mulch, mulch around your plants, trees and shrubs.
- Compost increases the organic content, encourages earthworms and improves soil structure. Without good soil no amount of water will allow your garden to thrive.
- Watering. Push aside the mulch and put your fingers in the soil. If it is actually moist below the surface then you don't need to water.
- Consider installing rainwater tanks. Invest in a 5000-litre tank and have it plumbed into your toilet and laundry. Toilets use about 14 per cent of drinking quality water in the house. Washing machines will also use about 16 per cent.
- Use grey water. This is a great option for supplementing garden watering because it does not rely on potable (drinking) water. But it does need to be managed carefully.
- Practice being waterwise. Water late in the evening (if you have a water supply other than tap water). Level 5 restrictions allow watering only from 6pm-7pm on Sunday nights. Make a small dam from mulch around plants to avoid water running off. Water the roots of plants. Leave your lawn long, more than three centimetres.
- Review your pot plants. They use more water than plants in the ground. They are usually more exposed to sun and wind so protect them.
- Use soil additives like water crystals and soil wetting agents to improve the success of water retention.
- An irrigation dripper system is better than a spray. Water the roots not the above ground parts of the plant.
- Vegetables and fruit trees are an important aspect of many gardens. In addition to providing a source of food they also recycle household waste through compost. They are a great source of relaxation and a reminder of our seasons and natural ecosystems.
Cr Kidd said by following a few steps you will not only save water but you will also save money, time and the environment by reducing stormwater runoff.
And it will enable you to maintain a rewarding and successful lifestyle.
"Many simple and cheap things can be taken to maintain and have that garden survive and thrive even in very hard conditions such as drought," he said.
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