Free Watering Gauge Kit

This past week in the Pacific Northwest was a hot one and everyone I talked to was concerned about keeping their plants alive during the sudden heat wave. I don’t have a sprinkler system or even drip irrigation or soaker hoses on a timer. That means I hand water everything from pots to new plantings.

During the dry spells, I try to water the landscaped areas of my yard only when needed; however, I have lots of new plantings that I water regularly to help get them established. And then there are all my containers. A few years back, I attempted to scale back the number of containers on my deck, porch and patio because it can be time consuming to water, especially when one has to get to work in the morning! Instead of scaling back their numbers, they keeping multiplying—beautiful pots and beautiful plants are more than I can resist, apparently.

Time commitment aside, I enjoy watering my garden by hand. I find it very calming—a wonderful way to start or end the day. It let’s me see my garden up close so I pay more attention to plant combinations I particularly like (see photo). The health of the plants gets noticed and I can see clearly what needs my attention. And I water only those plants and areas that seem to need it most, hopefully saving water. (I don’t know about you, but each time I turn on the hose to water, I am very conscious of the amount of water I’m using and its source. I wish I were able to use grey water or water from a large cistern filled with rain water rather than using our pristine drinking quality water. The cistern is on the list of projects.)

How about you? Do you have a sprinkler system or do you hand water? Not sure how long to run your sprinklers? To help you figure it out, get a free watering gauge kit and use the Weekly Watering Number.

Many people over-water their yards and lawns. Established turf requires an average of one inch of water a week to stay healthy. (Some think the hay color of dried, un-watered lawns is beautiful!) The trick is figuring out how long it takes your sprinkler to water one inch and then creating a weekly watering schedule so your lawn and shrubs get the water they need – but not too much. The Regional Water Providers Consortium is offering free watering gauges and timers this summer, which will help you keep your lawn and shrubs healthy while conserving water.

You can request a free watering gauge kit by contacting the Consortium at 503-823-7528 or by sending an e-mail to RWPCinfo@portlandoregon.gov.

The Consortium also provides a Weekly Watering Number on its website at www.conserveh2o.org. The number indicates how much water – measured in inches – your lawn, shrubs, perennials or vegetable garden needs that week.