Drought-ready tips

Del Mar gardeners share their water-saving strategies

The San Diego County Water Authority Board of Directors recently agreed to cut water deliveries to its 24 member agencies by 8 percent and also immediately declared a Level 2 “Drought Alert.”

With that news, and the mandatory restrictions placed on resident gardeners, many are being forced to get creative with their water usage.

On July 1 the water cutbacks begin. Anticipating the pending restrictions, the Del Mar Garden Club posed this question to its members: Do you have the best water-saving tips for summer gardening? Here are some of their

From Linda Chisari

  • Many are planning to reduce or get rid of lawns. If you have a subtropical lawn (St. Augustine or Bermuda), do not apply Round-Up now. The nighttime temperature must be 55 degrees or more for these grasses to grow and, therefore, metabolize the Round-Up. If you try to do it now you will waste the Round-Up, as well as lots of water.
  • Do not put in new plants now. No matter how drought-tolerant they may ultimately be, the new plants will need to be watered right through the summer. Instead, cut back on watering your existing plants now and watch what survives and thrives through the summer. In the fall remove the plants that didn’t do well and replace them with new plants. Fall is a better time to plant because the cooler, shorter days give the plants the opportunity to establish good root growth before putting on new vegetative growth in the spring.

From Dwynn Daniels Robbie

  • It takes 4 1/2 quarts of water before the temperature gets hot in my bathroom sink. In my kitchen sink it takes 3 quarts of water to go from cold to hot. I wash my face in the kitchen sink and collect the water in a saucepan as I wait for it to get hot. I use the water to water the herbs outside.

From Gale Darling

  • Months ago I created and posted beautiful little signs in my quest bathroom, kitchen sink and washing machine that say “Please conserve water” to remind my houseguests (especially the out of state ones) how precious our water is.
  • I have a bucket in my shower to collect the gray water and I have also cut my use by reducing the shower pressure. Also we don’t have to flush every time we use the toilet.
  • Yesterday I removed half of my small front garden’s turf and replaced with decomposed granite. Now I have another charming niche to sit in.

From Carol Vernon

  • While waiting for water to get hot at the sink I keep a pitcher nearby and run the water into the pitcher and then transfer it into the garden or use it to make coffee.
  • After steaming vegetables or cooking pasta I use the water in the garden.
  • I pour old water from the pets’ water bowls and flower vases into the garden.
  • I put buckets under my rain chain when it rains to collect the water for the garden.
  • I wash lettuce from my garden in a big bowl of water and pour the water into the garden and do it several times to get all dirt out.
  • I pour old black coffee into the garden.
  • I had my husband install shutoff buttons in each shower so they can be turned off easily after soaping up before rinsing.
  • For toilets that are not low flow you can put a two-liter soda bottle filled with water in the tank
  • I water the garden with a hose and stationary sprinkler more instead of using my automatic system so I can target just the areas that need water.
  • I only wash full loads of dishes and laundry.
  • I turn the water off when brushing my teeth.
  • I wash fresh vegetables and fruit over a bowl so I can use the water in the garden.
  • I also wash dried beans over a bowl so I can use the water in the garden.

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