Every Spring, I place my order with Mother Nature–

An inch of rain a week, please.  And make it gentle rain.  No gully washers.  No big winds  or hail that knock  plants down. 

I ask nicely, make all sort bargains, but I never get my way.    Just look at this year–It’s only mid-May and we’re already praying for rain.    Here’s how I cope.

Use sprinklers as a last resort.  Yes, I have them and I use them SOMETIMES.   But for regular watering, soaker hoses and drip irrigation are much more efficient.   After all, it’s the plant’s roots that need the water, not the leaves and certainly not the driveway or sidewalk.  Sprinklers are wasteful. 

My drip irrigation system was cobbled together out of several old mister systems from Lowes.   I found that pulling the misters (just little sprinklers on posts) and using their tubes and valves would deliver a steady drip to plants and shrubs.   This is super-thrifty watering.  Nothing is wasted.  And I’m not watering  the mulch which while holding water in, can also keep it out.   

Another favorite way to water saw me though the worst drought on record without losing a single plant–

Ok, they’re ugly.  But gallon milk jugs with holes in the bottom will deliver a slow drip that will keep a plant  going for a week.  The milk jugs are also great reminders.  It’s hard to forget a new plant if ugly milk jugs are sitting at its feet. 

Like blog partner, Melissa, I am a big fan of rain water.  (Check out her excellent post on watering for even more tips https://youshouldgrowthat.wordpress.com/2010/05/10/tips-for-watering/)  

And while I know a 500 gallon rain barrel may be too big a commitment for some people, it helps me sleep at night.  Insurance after the last bad drought.  Plus–since clean, processed water is such an issue in many parts of the world, I feel better being frugal with mine.  

Another frugal step– I save some gray water for the garden–washing my vegetables over a bucket and pouring it into tightly covered back up barrels.  I just used 64 gallons of gray water on Saturday.  Hard work, but a good feeling.  And the plants really perked up. 

If you’d like to know more about my drip or soaker hoses, leave a comment.  I’ll get back to you.  But milk jugs are free.  Ask your friends and neighbors with thirsty kids.    Then cut down the tops, drill or punch holes in the bottom and you’ve got superefficient watering.  Give it a try.