Let's talk for a minute about water conservation. . .
There are many things you can do to reduce the amount of water required in your yard and garden. Of first importance in water conservation is mulching around your existing plants. Mulch will hold the moisture in the soil and dramatically reduce evaporation, keeping the moisture where the roots can use it. Mulch has the added benefit of keeping down weeds, and also regulates the soil temperature for greater yields. Mulch around trees and shrubs and cool soil crops such as strawberries, raspberries, lettuce, peas, spinach, and chard with straw, rotted hay or grass clippings, shredded bark or bark nuggets, soil pep, even a layer of pea gravel will do nicely. For crops that benefit from a warm soil, such as watermelon, tomatoes, squash and cucumbers, use plastic to cover the soil. Drip systems are a very efficient method of delivering water to only those plants you want to water, reducing evaporation and soaking deeply. Soaker hoses can do much the same thing, and tend to clog less than drip systems, and are especially effective when buried with a layer of mulch. Gallon milk jugs with a few holes poked into the bottom, and then half buried next to plants, are an inexpensive and effective drip system. Try putting a long dowel stick tipped with florescent paint into the mouth of the jug to help you find the jug when the foliage of your plant gets tall. Gardening in raised beds also conserves moisture, especially if you have loosened the soil under the beds as well. Loosened soil can absorb and retain much more water. When you are preparing your soil, add lots of organic matter, like Nutri-mulch or old hay, leaves, or lawn clippings, and dig it in deeply. Organic matter can hold up to six times its weight in water and keeps the water from running off. You can also add Soil Moist, a granulated polymer that soaks up many times its weight in water and holds it where the roots can use it, losing very little to evaporation or runoff. Soil Moist reduces your watering by half, and remains in the soil for three years, and takes very little to be effective.