Glorious water.

It’s getting hot and summery! California is needing to be conservative with water and that is a good thing. However, we want to swim and water a big garden, 38 fruit, nut and berry trees, and enjoy all that the glorious element of water has to offer.

The average family of 4 people uses up to 12,000 gallons of water a month. I went over all our water bills and usage and for most of the year we use 3,500 to 5,000 gallons a month. The summer of last year we used up 9,000 one or two months. It was all the new trees and babying them through the summer and a garden that I wound up giving up on.

This year I have a water saving plan. Our trees have matured and with a semi clay like soil, I’m finding that I only need to water every two weeks. As a matter of fact, my apricot tree is suffering from over watering just once a week. I had the problem with my blueberries last year. I was used to more drainable (is this a word?) soil. Clay soil hangs on to water. We also use a lot of rice straw for mulch and it helps tremendously.

I water the garden once a week and use more straw mulch. I water by hand some of my garden children, like the tomatoes that need a little extra. Recently I pulled out some rows of greens that bolted on me. The mustard greens bolted the minute it got hot. I have since learned that they don’t do well once it’s over 75 degrees and I’ve also found a type of mustard green that do well in heat…Green Wave. I’ll keep you posted when I replant in the Fall. So, I replanted with some melons, corn, and beans that my planting calendar said was good to plant in June. I water these patches daily until they are up and running. I will mulch and reduce watering once my babies are strong enough.

Mulch is big. It holds in water, protects roots, thus reducing the watering by more than half.

Another trick is to water in the late evening so the water doesn’t evaporate.

We have no lawn. Just garden, containers of flowers, and the fruit and nut trees. But we have to be very smart or it can take up more water than a lawn.

We waste nothing. The bucket in the bathroom in the photo at top is what we use when we shower. We then use that water for container plants, porch plants, flowers on the stairs and around the outside.

This was a pool we found free on Craigslist over the winter. It takes a lot of water. We are filling it today for a playdate and will splash about in the same water for the next few days of triple digits. When it has become pond like dirty, we will scoop out the water with 5 gallon buckets and water the garden, all the trees, vines, shrubs, and plants. It will only be used when the weather is unbearable but the water will have two lives; one for fun, cooling play and then to water everything on our quarter acre.

You can still enjoy a summer but just implement water saving. We need to water our garden and trees so why not give the water double purposes.

Have fun!


  1. Question on the shower water – I’ve been looking more into using gray water for my garden but I’m perplexed – doesn’t the soap hurt the plants?


  2. This heat wave and drought is really bad for you guys out there in California, praying you get some much needed rain. So happy you found a pool for the kids, that will come in handy this summer, enjoy your days with your family Kate, looking forward to reading your blog 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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