The Drought and My Houston Garden

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Waiting for rain that never seems to come, I am looking for ways to reduce my watering. What strategies may we use.

There have been days with a mist of water on the ground on a few mornings. Is that why, they say that Houston is not in the extreme drought that the surrounding areas are already in? My latest project is creating spots to hold  water from the rain. Swales to catch water that is running off the property, but which are far from creating pools by the foundation. I had a large plastic pot from a tree that I overturned and placed into a hole to deal with one spot that has a water pool when it rains. I am thinking of adding more of these water basins. Finally I have more trenches to catch the water flow before it leaves my property. (I wonder if I can convince the city that this should reduce my drainage fee- wild hopes continue).

    The fact that my tomato plants have not been water hogs took me by surprise. I had not thought of burying the tomato plants deeper when transplanting, but this will be my method from now on. I am trying this trick with a few pepper plants, but I see no difference between them and my other plants. I am also trying the idea of planting the pepper plants with high mulch around the plant, but a basin near the plant. Again no real difference. Moving the mustard and chard to a shady spot helped them. They do get sun in the hottest part of the day with shade for the rest of the day. This is extending their season. Peas need quite a bit of water, and I am keeping them moist If they obtain regular watering, they keep producing. The beans have received no more water than most plants. They are producing pods now, and the plants look healthy, but maybe they need more water to be better producers.
   My roses were blooming quite well, and the bushes are full. Mulching them well has been a big help. I will need more watering if I wish to keep the flowers going. The only non-vegetable plants that have required much water have been the impatiens and allysum, both of which were newly planted. The one plant that would want more, but it is going fine with the amount that I am providing, is the grass. My grass is green, yet it is not lush or thick. I also do not mind the weeds (like dollar weed). The mint is growing into the grass, as are other herbs, so I am not concerned with one full carpet of grass.
    I am watering more than my neighbors. I am growing my own vegetables though. This will be the big challenge going forward: finding the right way to treat the plants to reduce my water usage, while still obtaining the results that I want. I am hand watering. I do find that sprinklers of any type do waster water. By hand watering, I am getting the water where it is needed: the ground for the roots. Deeper planting is working with a few plants, and the mulch is also a factor. The most important step has been being watchful. When the leaves looked stressed, I know that I need to water, so I am watching the plants. Walking through the garden each evening is relaxing, and that is the best way to reduce watering.

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This site came out of my desire to write about my love of gardening, but also to connect it to my knowledge derived from home inspections. That is why I tied it to the home inspection site.If you have questions, you can email them to me (frank at For home inspections, call 713.781.6090.
Happy gardening, Frank


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