Ten Great Water-Saving Gardening Ideas

picture of a dripping sink in a garden

In these times of drought, we all need to be smart about keeping our plants healthy – and not waste water at the same time. A thriving garden doesn’t require tons of water. It simply needs a smart gardener armed with practical ideas and frugal techniques.

 

To retain water, add compost to your soil

Organic composting helps amend your garden soil with nutrients so it can be fertile. It also traps moisture to help plants take root. Composting can be done even without an expensive bin. As an example, you can collect food scraps from your kitchen and take them straight into a compost pile.

 

Apply mulch to your soil

Mulch provides a protective layer that can prevent up to 70% of moisture from evaporating, especially on a hot day. After composting, apply an adequate layer of mulch to avoid water runoff. Mulching also keeps weeds from taking over precious soil space and vying for water and nutrients, which your growing plants badly need.

picture of brown rubber mulch

Have a strict AM and PM watering schedule

Keeping to a fixed routine can help you save water while optimizing root and plant growth. Gardens are best watered from early morning up until temperature begins to rise before noon because there is less evaporation then. If your plants are in pots and containers, they tend to dry out quickly so water them at noon and into the early afternoon.
Avoid watering at night – this can cause fungal growth because there is no sun to help evaporate excess moisture.

watering plants when there's sunlight

Know which plants to water at specific times

Of course, observing your plants for any sign of drought stress means you have to customize your watering schedule specifically around it. Knowing the types of plants and their developmental stages can also help you incrementally reduce watering. For instance, squash, melons, cucumbers, and other vine crops only need ample watering during their flowering and fruiting stages. Peppers, tomatoes, and eggplants also do not need excess watering as they love the heat, and tend to bear more fruit in warmer weather.

 peppers

Avoid “thirsty” plants

If you’re starting a garden from scratch, it’s wise to go for plants that don’t “guzzle” water and require a lot of maintenance. Low-maintenance plants like succulents are ideal because they thrive in drought-like conditions, such as in deserts. Go for small plants and those with narrow leaves instead (ferns are a good example).

If your garden already has established plants that are slow-growing, fret not because those don’t require a lot of watering, either. Thirsty plants include big-leafed ones, ones that need constant fertilizing, and those that grow at a rapid rate or are newly-planted.  

 

Save kitchen and fish tank water

After boiling vegetables, don’t throw away the water in your pot. Let it cool before using it to water your plants. There are added vitamins and minerals in this water that can help nourish your plants. The same goes for water from your fish tank- it’s rich in phosphorous and nitrogen that can aid plant growth.

water in a pot

Choose drought-tolerant plants

In times of drought, think small. This means the smaller the produce, the bigger its chance of surviving hot weather. Think miniature bell peppers, eggplants, cherry tomatoes, and other vegetables that are tiny yet rich in nutrients, and actually flourish in heat.

someone holding cherry tomatoes

Other tried-and-tested drought-resistant produce include okra, Swiss chard, legumes like chickpea, lima beans and cow beans, mature rhubarb, chiles, cantaloupe, and herbs such as rosemary, sage, oregano, thyme, and lavender.

 

Collect rainwater in your garden

You can harvest water when it rains by using a plastic or metal barrel to collect roof runoff. You can place the barrel directly beneath a downspout so it collects most of the water and fills up quickly. Use a dipper to water the plants with, and keep the barrel covered to prevent insects and debris from getting into it. Doing these can significantly reduce your water bill, as opposed to relying on a garden hose for regular watering.

rain barrels collecting water

Select practical plant containers

The kind of pot or container you put your plant into can have a great effect on its growth and your gardening habits. Avoid metal containers because they will just take away the moisture from the soil in the container and create an overheated environment. Use them as decorative outer containers, instead.

 

Go for glazed pots. If you choose unglazed terra cotta ones, chances are the soil will dry faster in them because they’re porous. If you need to transplant seeds and starts outdoors, you buy coconut husk pots that decay when roots start taking hold, or biodegradable plant pots that allow you to bury them whole into the ground without replanting.

 

Group plants with similar water needs

In a drought, it’s no longer practical to plant in rows. It makes better sense to do block and grouped planting. The logic behind this is that the plants provide much-needed shade and nutrients for each other without competing for moisture and nourishment. A water-efficient garden layout can have blocks of similar-needs produce like cucumbers, squash, and zucchini – these vegetables require the same amount of watering. It may be tempting to add some cauliflower or broccoli into the mix, but as they need more room and are thirsty plants, they will create a problem with watering and nourishment.

 

Designing a Drought-Resistant Lawn

Sprout coming out of cracked concrete

 

Widespread drought has cast a dark shadow on the gardening community. In these times of water conservation, many homeowners and institutions have come under fire for using sprinklers or garden hoses to water their lawns. Lawn maintenance and caring for one’s garden are in danger of becoming wasteful activities.

Fortunately, there are ways to still have a beautiful garden and keep it thriving without using up too much water. You can opt to make it a DIY project, or consult a professional gardener to draw up a plan for your drought-resistant lawn. Either way, the secret is in keeping everything practical and low-maintenance while creating visual panache.

Create texture with rocks and plants  

A smooth, well-manicured lawn is impractical during a drought because it is difficult to maintain with minimal water supplies. It is also hard to hide dry and barren patches on a flat lawn. Go for a mixed-garden bed instead. You can make up for possible visual gaps in your lawn with different textures and shapes. Sandstone boulders and paving stones can be interspersed with tall native grasses that do not require constant watering – plus they can prevent erosion while allowing rainwater to hydrate the soil.

Install a drip-irrigation system

Drip irrigation system

This is an effective way to keep your plants directly hydrated without wasting water the way a sprinkler system does. A drip-irrigation system can be adjusted to suit the season so you can take advantage of moisture from the cold months.

Choose drought-tolerant plants

There are low-maintenance plants that only need irrigation once every couple of months. Some drought-tolerant shrubs, trees, evergreens, and perennials include yarrow, Spanish lavender, African daisies, bottlebrush, rockroses, juniper, myrtle, oleander, bougainvillea, yellow bells, aloe, all manner of cacti, and most native plants. Many of these examples have minimal to moderate watering needs, come in a variety of colorful blooms attractive to hummingbirds and bees, and feature gorgeous textures and scents.

Use mulch to keep moisture locked in

rubber mulch

Black Rubber Mulch

Mulching is an effective solution to keep moisture locked in the soil where it needs it most. Rubber mulch is particularly reliable at keeping the soil and plant roots hydrated because it doesn’t retain moisture itself. Just two inches of mulch spread out evenly between plants can keep temperatures even and foliage healthy and thriving.

Select garden ornaments that provide shade while beautifying

Stone or wooden benches, birdbaths, gazebos, and sculpted garden ornaments not only add drama to your lawn, but also much-needed shade for grass and flowers. Keep textures and shapes varied to heighten visual appeal. It’s also good to consider how these ornaments can catch rainwater for plants, the way sloping stones, fountains, and ponds do.

 

Resources:

http://www.sunset.com/garden/landscaping-design/drought-resistant-plants/drought-resistant-plants-lawn-alternative

http://www.sunset.com/garden/flowers-plants/water-wise-plants/low-water-plants

http://www.bhg.com/gardening/landscaping-projects/landscape-basics/drought-tolerant-landscaping-ideas/

 

Mulch For the Holidays and Spring

With the holiday season quickly approaching, who doesn’t want their property looking great for their in-laws and guests?  Now that the summer heat has let go it is a great time to mulch and save some money going forward.

Just think, you can make your home more attractive than ever and know that when the snow melts it will look just as great!  Everlast Rubber Mulch looks great year after year. Available in 7 rich and vibarant colors…colors that last.  Remember the old adage “the only thing you get with a pile of wood mulch is a coupon to go back and bet more”.  Mulching once with Everlast Rubber Mulch not only reduces weed growth but also keeps your landscape budget working for you.  Next spring you can buy more annuals and perennials, enjoy your weekends by not having to mulch, and forget about lugging bags or wheelbarrows once or twice a year across the lawn!

We can ship direct via our online store or find a dealer near you.

Don’t forget that every bag of Everlast Rubber Mulch reduces landfill use…recycling at its best!

red landscape rubber mulch in garden

Colorfast Over a Decade and No Weed Block Expense!

Why Rubber Mulch is Colorfast

Red Wood Mulch After  Rain

Wood Mulch After a Rain

One of the best characteristics of rubber mulch for landscapes and playgrounds is the way it is colored.  Various companies use different methods but the general concept is the same.

Mulch colorant 101……

Wood mulch is colored using a colorant that is more like a stain than a coating.  Wood mulch absorbs colorant based on how dry it is, how open the cells are, how much colorant is applied, and how long it is allowed to soak.

Wood mulch can only hold it’s color as long as the wood fiber is there to hold it.  In other words, as the wood mulch continues to decay, the color leaves with the wood fiber that falls away.

Everlast rubber playground mulch is coated with a colorant that includes a binder.  Since rubber will not absorb anything due to it’s closed cell nature, a binder must be used to adhere the pigment to the particle.  Everlast Kids Rubber Mulch utilizes automotive grade pigments with a world class binder to coat the rubber particles.  The color will last as long as the binder adheres to the rubber mulch and our products last up to 15 years in most weather conditions.  Everlast Rubber Mulch has been used from middle eastern desert environments to near tundra conditions and our products perform year after year.

Rubber Mulch doesn’t float either making sure your money stays put…..

Red Rubber Mulch in Landscape Bed

Colorfast-Won’t Float-Weed Resistant

Here in our nursery I like to say “at the bottom of every wood mulch pile is a coupon to come back and get more”.  If you are tired of mulching take a look at our products and find out why we are the “nearly world famous” rubber mulch.

Rubber Mulch-Heavy Rains-Reduce the Chances of Fungus

This time of year we are asked daily if “rubber mulch will float”.  One of the original reasons we started with rubber products here in our nursery was the fact that it does not float.  Rubber is heavier than water and with all of the rain we have had lately I suspect our wood mulch sales will increase significantly by summer’s end due to the material wash out and color fade typical in wood mulch.  This also applies to wood mulch used in playgrounds.  Spring wood mulch is starting to weather and will need to be freshened up for the fall…..keep an eye out for fungus.  Artillery fungus is another issue see post here.

Summer is a great time to install Everlast Rubber Mulch.  By removing years of decaying wood mulch from your landscape beds you can reduce the threat of fungus which will be very prominent especially in the South Eastern U.S. this summer.  Removing mulch fungus starts with removing organic wood mulch.  Rubber Mulch doesn’t hold any water and allows proper soil aeration greatly reducing the fungal threat in your landscape.  Installing rubber mulch now will guarantee that your fall and winter beds will look fantastic for visiting relatives during the holidays.

You can finally throw the coupon away-you know the coupon at the bottom of every wood mulch pile-“See you again!”

Rubber Mulch and Water Retention

landscape rubber mulch saves waterAsk any gardener or landscaper for mulch recommendations and you will certainly get an answer with some conviction and seldom will opinions match.  There are some universal truths to mulching though and general observation can tell us one universal truth.

Wood mulch that is applied year after year becomes rotten underneath and matted on top.  This leads to water shedding; water is directed away from the root zone and aeration of the root zone is greatly impacted.  Water simply can not penetrate a thick layer of matted wood mulch and therefore this is certainly a bad mulch practice.

Rubber mulch never mats or rots and is always permeable.  Therefore, all water runs straight through with no water shed.  Rubber also holds moisture in the ground.  If we have a semi load of rubber mulch that is soaking wet and leave it on a concrete pad in the hot Florida sun the material will never dry out.  The water will remain trapped in the rubber because rubber is an insulator.  The top is warm and the middle is cool so the water doesn’t escape.

Years ago we were presented with an opportunity in Dubai.  No matter what the customer tried they could not hold moisture in the ground until they top dressed with Everlast Rubber Mulch.  The rubber mulch allowed all of the irrigation to flow through to the plants and held the water in the ground.  The soil temperature was only 2 degrees warmer than the wood much beds due to the insulative nature of rubber mulch.

This is exactly why rubber mulch acts as weed barrier.  The rubber stays dry so weed seed dehydrates before it reaches the soil.  It is just that simple!

For more information on our landscape rubber mulch and playground rubber mulch please visit our websites Everlast Rubber Mulch or Playground Rubber Mulch.

Gardening and Rubber Mulch for Mental Health?

I just read a great article in American Nurseryman magazine by the editor Sally Benson who was paraphrasing a radio program she heard recently.  The discussion revolved around the fact that our daily lives are immersed in rigid geometric shapes….from the TV, cellphone, computer screen, rooms in our homes, offices, SUV’s, etc.  Seems like everything around us is just another box.

stress relief through gardening

Stress Relief

I believe that second only to pets, gardening can provide a fantastic outlet and stress reliever for those of us living in a busy and urgent world.  Every morning I look forward to checking on my gardenia’s progress from the day before.  My home landscape is covered with blooming beauties and of course a few different colors of my “Nearly World Famous” Everlast Rubber Mulch.

I love to landscape due to the fact that my mind relaxes while I check on the progress of all my favorite plants and I am constantly expanding my plant varieties.  I thoroughly enjoy mixing colors and creating refreshing contrasts to my world which is full of black bordered monitors and sterile websites and data streams.

I am extremely busy but still make time for my landscape in part because I don’t have to spend my time weeding my beds….I am lucky because I get to focus on the fun side of gardening-the sensory experience that doesn’t involve sweat!

Do yourself a favor and take a good look at our low maintenance rubber mulch products….the dividends can be life changing.

Playground Rubber Mulch Testimonial-Brand Comparison

It is my pleasure to recommend Everlast as a company with integrity and quality a product. I received our shipment of Playground Mulch and all I can say is that “I absolutely LOVE it!”. I can certainly say this was the quickest turn around I have ever had with a company. I truly appreciated the representative professional manners and I really felt like they cared and enjoyed actually helping me make my decisions regarding our playground. This is not my first experience with a major purchase of mulch and indeed we will be return customers. I value this company so much, I have recommended our state resource department to use Everlast and to stay away from the company ********, who still owes me mulch and money to this day. In fact there is no comparison to Everlast. I have never seen mulch so rich in color and chunky as it is. I already know it will be around for along time. The ***** looks like pea gravel and it stands out in a bad way on the playground after it was put down. I wish I had found Everlast first. I wish you continued success with your company as you supply our children with the safest fall protection they have ever had.
Thank you,
Peace and Sparkles ,
Ms.U

Simple DIY Low Maintenance Flowers This Spring

gorgeous spring flowers

                                       Spring Flowers Add Color

care free hanging baskets

Care Free Hanging Baskets

One of my neighbors loves her spring flower baskets.

Unfortunately, her husband is ill and she was worried that she could not keep her flowers watered this year she needed an easy gardening solution.

Now she has drip irrigation forever more.

Most people know us as “the nearly world famous” rubber mulch folks.  Our products offer low maintenance solutions to mulch, weeding, and watering.  My neighbor knows we love low maintenance landscape solutions so she asked me to help her keep her flower baskets and pots looking great without the daily watering hassle.

Here is the solution:

  1. Plant flowers and use soil moist.  I won’t plant anything without it.  What is soil moist?  It is a soil additive that looks like granulated sugar.  It holds numerous times it’s weight in water. It swells up and retains water at the root level keeping your plants hydrated.  A small pinch will do and it is worth it’s weight in gold during hot summer months especially in hanging baskets that have a small amount of soil.
  2. Use drip irrigation.  Simply buy some black poly hose and string it through the branches or bury underground.  It is inexpensive and lasts for years.  Once this Sycamore fills out no one will ever know the irrigation is from above!

DIY irrigation for spring flowers

3. Install little barb fittings to connect 1/4″ hose to the pot waterer.  They come in many different forms.  Short and tall watering spikes that shoot water out in a fan, as a drip, or with a little adjustable sprinkler head like these that can shoot out up to 3′.

drip irrigation save water spring flowers

Drip Irrigation Saves Time and Water

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Pick up a small battery powered timer that connects to a garden hose.  You will need an adapter to go from your garden hose to the black poly pipe.  The timer can be set to water any day or any time you like.  Now you can maintain your busy lifestyle and come home to gorgeous flowers all season long!

drip irrigation how to

One Adapter-Two Hose Clamps and a Piece of Old Hose Connects Your Hose to Poly Pipe

This is project makes a great mother’s day gift or project to enjoy with your kids.  I did 10 baskets for under $100 and it will be there for years to come.

 Now you can make it rain anywhere you want anytime you want.

UPDATE

A few weeks have gone by and now you can see how the drip irrigation and some Osmocote have helped!  Best thing is the owner has not done a bit of work!

flower bed with drip irrigation and rubber mulch

Low maintenance withe DIY irrigation and rubber mulch.