All gardeners face the problem of watering their plants. Depending on the region you live and what is in your garden, you could be searching for water every day, or, you could just let nature do its thing with minimum effort. Generally in Australia, it’s a bit of both, and it pays to have a bit of planning for your irrigation needs for those stinking hot summer days. So read on as we look at some of the most popular ways to water your plants, in order to choose the most appropriate for your garden.
When the fresh water from your tap is not so rare that there are water restrictions in place, tap water is the best solution for watering plants. It’s clean and contains minimal components which can harm your plants. It can also be accessed easily from hoses or simple sprinkler systems in your yard.
On the other hand, tap water can contain chlorine, used for cleaning the water, which may affect your soil chemical balance. Tap water is also too precious a resource in some areas and at some times of the year, and really can’t be justified for use on your garden.
Having enough rain water for your gardening needs is the best solution you could choose. It is free and generally clean enough for using in the garden. The biggest disadvantage of rain water use in the garden is its need to be gathered. For collecting rain water, some special equipment like tanks are used. This kind of water for watering your garden also depends on the weather. The East coast is OK for collecting rain water, with regular enough wet periods to keep them topped up; while more dry regions may still feel the lack of water and need to revert to other means.
Where you live can also determine to quality of your rain water. If you live in a big city with lots of pollution, or near a mine site with lots of dust in the air, rain will often collect this as it falls to the ground, meaning that the water you collect may not be as clean as you think it should be!
Bore water really depends on where you live and whether you have access to underground water sources. Sometimes there is enough bore water in your location, but you can’t use it because it’s too dirty for your plants. A lot of the time bore water is quite different in its chemical composition, and can contain pathogens from under the ground that may affect the chemical conditions of your soil and damage your plants by introducing infections. Always test the quality of the bore water you’re using, and then act accordingly.
Grey water is another solution for those who would like to save tap water for drinking. This uses the water leaving the shower, the kitchen sink or the washing machines rinse cycle, and diverts it to your garden. It can contain a lot of soap and some organic elements, but generally is free from any hard chemicals which damage plants.
Most experts will advise using special aqua filters to get the water as clean as possible for your garden and this will help prevent the soaps and chemicals we use to wash with from changing soil chemical composition and pH too much.
You also don’t need an expensive set up to use grey water. It can be as simple as putting the hose from your washing machine into a container, or putting a bucket in your shower to catch any splashes as you wash, or even just the cold water as it gets hot.