While Airdrie has seen some precipitation in the last few weeks, a total of 40 millimetres in the month of June, slightly higher than last year's June precipitation total, the Farmer's Almanac predictions for summer 2022 foresees, “sizzling temps, and scattered showery weather”. For those who love to frolic in the sun, the news couldn't be better, but for gardeners and farmers alike, dry, hot summer means that watering the garden will become a constant chore.
Rosa West, the President of the Horticultural Society of Airdrie, and a lifelong Airdronian said that water has always been an issue in Airdrie.
"We're not as green as we appear. We are a semi-arid climate, almost a desert. The only reason we can grow anything is because of irrigation. We do not get enough annual rainfall to support much more than grass," she said. “After last year’s dry summer it's important now more than ever to save water when you can.”
The city recently stated that the average resident uses 250 litres of water per day, the equivalent of two full bathtubs of water per person. But what of those who take pride and pleasure in having a fecund, green garden? What can be done to have an oasis in the backyard without having astronomical water bills? West recommends that having rain barrels is a great way to utilize Mother Nature, although she noted that they can't be depended upon.
"[Water barrels] are a great supplement. Watering, proper times of the day, not watering in the heat of the day, not because it's going to hurt your plants, but because it's going evaporate," she said. "Watering early in the day or at the end of the day is your best time for conserving water."
West said that during times of drought, prioritizing what needs to be watered first can also help.
"It's your trees first. Don't water anything else, your grass, your annuals, not even your vegetable garden; because we have grocery stores," West said. "Your trees cannot come back."
The city also recommends not water on windy days and making sure one's garden-hose nozzle has an automatic shut-off to save water.
"Water only when you need to. An established lawn only requires 25mm (about 1 inch) of water per week," the city website states.
And if you're unsure just how much you should be watering your prized lawn, you can always use the Frisbee trick and place a Frisbee upside down on the lawn, once it’s full, turn off the sprinkler.
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