Many modern homeowners have rediscovered the benefits of growing at least some of their own fruits and vegetables in backyard gardens in recent years. After all, few things taste better than fresh-from-the-garden produce, and it doesn't get any fresher than a thriving home garden. If you've recently decided to join this trend and cultivate your own backyard garden this year, you probably have a lot of questions about how to minimize the costs involved in cultivating a backyard garden while maximizing its output. You're probably particularly concerned about keeping your water bill at a reasonable level — there's no sense in growing your own fruits, vegetables, and culinary herbs if your water bill skyrockets to the extent that you'd be better off financially if you bought these items from your local supermarket or farmers market. Fortunately, there are ways you can cut down substantially on water usage when growing a garden. Following are two of them.
Water First Thing in the Morning
Many busy homeowners wait until late afternoon to water their gardens, particularly if they work outside of the home. Unfortunately, this is the worst possible time to water because it's usually the hottest time of the day, which means that a significant amount of water will evaporate rather than soaking into the ground and reaching the roots of your plants. Even waiting until early evening isn't a good idea because even though the air temperature may have cooled down a bit, the soil has been absorbing heat all day long, which means that much of the water will turn to steam. It's better to water the first thing in the morning when soil temperatures have had a chance to cool down overnight. As an added bonus, being out in the garden the first thing in the morning is a wonderful way to start the day.
Build Strong Soils
Poor, depleted soils not only produce substandard plants; they also fail to absorb and hold water, which can make water bills rise substantially without providing much in return. Building strong, healthy soils that are water-retentive and rich in plant-friendly nutrients. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to amend your soil with plenty of organic material such as compost. You can create your own compost from household waste such as certain food scraps and lawn clippings and vegetative debris, but you also have the option of purchasing ready-made compost from home and garden retailers.