6 Tips for Conserving Water in Your Garden

Hey . . . what's that wet stuff on the weather report? Spring is here, and that means perfect gardening weather and occasionally a little rain, too. For those of us growing food here in community and backyard gardens and farms here in Central Texas, water is a precious commodity. When it falls for free, right out of the sky, it's great to have a plan for making the most of it. Read on for tips for harvesting and putting that water to good use--your garden will thank you!


  1. Don’t let that precious rainwater go to waste! When it rains, capture that water for your garden! Veggie gardens thrive with rainwater. Use rainbarrels or other harvesting systems to capture water from roofs. Click here for City of Austin Rainwater Rebate program info.
  2. So important it bears repeating: don’t let that precious rainwater go to waste! You can best capture rainwater by slowing it down as it moves downhill through a garden site by building a rain garden. Learn about "earthworks" techniques to capture rainwater here. Want more? We'll be teaching a Rain Garden Class on April 5th--click here for more info and to sign up »
  3. Mulch, mulch, mulch! Mulch is a biodegradable substance like wood chips, straw, pine needles, or simply shredded leaves raked from your yard (we like this kind best, because it’s free!), used to blanket the soil in your garden. Mulching minimizes evaporation and regulates soil temperature, which is vital for root development and healthy plants.
  4. Choose the best time of day to water. Water in the morning and evening to minimize evaporation and shock to plants.
  5. Get to the root of it all! Deliver water directly to the soil--use drip irrigation, soaker hoses, buried clay pot (olla) irrigation, wicking beds or hugelkulture. These are techniques that greatly minimize evaporation, thereby greatly enhancing the efficiency of your watering.
  6. Enrich the soil. Amending the garden with nutrient-rich compost helps with water retention and grows healthier, stronger plants!