By Rose Kelsch
One of the things that makes Eliot such a great place to live is our beautiful lawns and gardens. Local residents also have a strong commitment to preserving the community’s natural resources, and we frequently hear from Eliot gardeners who are looking for new and better ways to save water while keeping their gardens green and healthy in the dry summer months.
Good news: the Regional Water Providers Consortium has some great free resources to help Eliot residents do just that.
The first step is knowing how much water your garden actually needs. The Consortium makes that easy by posting a “Weekly Watering Number” (www.conserveh2o.org) that tells you exactly how many inches of water your lawn or garden needs for the week, based on the weather in your zip code. You can even sign up to receive the watering number by e-mail each week.
Another step to reduce outdoor water use is selecting low-water and native plants and using smart watering techniques. The Regional Water Providers Consortium offers plant guides, information about lawn alternatives, and how-to videos on waterwise irrigation on the Outdoor section of their website.
Here are the Regional Water Providers Consortium’s “Top Five” waterwise tips for Eliot gardeners:
- Water lawns and gardens early in the morning (before 10 a.m.) or later in the evening (after 6 p.m.) when temperatures are cooler and evaporation is minimized.
- Adjust your sprinklers so that they are watering your lawn and garden and not the street.
- Water in several short sessions rather than one long session to allow for better absorption and to prevent run-off.
- Adjust your mower to a higher setting. A taller lawn provides shade to the roots and helps retain soil moisture, so your lawn requires less water.
- Group plants with similar watering needs together, as different plants require different amounts of water.
Finally, the Regional Water Providers Consortium will offer free outdoor watering gauge kits from July 1 – August 10. The kits include a water gauge and timer to help you measure your sprinkler’s water use and ensure that you’re giving your lawn and garden the right amount of water. Kits are available while supplies last (one per customer) to metro-area residents who receive water service from one of the Consortium members. (Visit http://www.conserveh2o.org/about to confirm your provider).
To receive a free kit, call 503-823-7528 or email RWPCinfo@portlandoregon.gov. Please include your mailing address, water provider name and how you heard about the offer.