Month: June 2012

Teaching Kids Water Conservation

multi-use gutter cleaning wand

Are you looking for activities to do with the kids this summer that are both fun and educational? Why not teach them about water conservation?

Why teach your kids about conservation?

There are many benefits to becoming a water-wise family, including saving money, but there’s more to it than that. Conservation is a community effort and learning begins in the home. By teaching your kids about conservation you teach them to look beyond themselves—to see the beauty and wonder in the world.

Did you know?

  • Each time you water your lawn you can be using up to 3,000 gallons of water
  • An average American family of 4 can use 400 gallons of water a day
  • Standard toilets use about 3.5 gallons of water per flush
  • A typical faucet uses about 2 gallons of water per minute

Conservation Tips

Here are some easy ways for your kids to get involved in water conservation:

Outdoors:

Have your kids help you check your sprinkler system. (Any easy excuse for running through the sprinklers is a good one, right?)

  • Make sure that your sprinklers are not watering the sidewalk, driveway, street, or house
  • Look for leaking or broken sprinkler heads
  • Try the screwdriver test. Have your kids stick a screwdriver into the grass, if it goes in 6 inches with minimal effort there is no need to water. If they struggle getting the screwdriver into the ground it may be time to water again
  • Use a hose-end nozzle when washing the car instead of letting the hose run
  • Have them remind you to use the rain delay option on your sprinkler system timer/controller when it rains

Indoors:

  • Turn off the water when brushing teeth
  • Check for leaks and work on fixing them together
  • Shower instead of taking baths
  • Stop using the toilet as a waste basket
  • Use only one cup to drink out of throughout the day
  • Put a container of water in the fridge so you always have cold water (without having to run the tap)

Activities

One way to really help your kids understand how much water we use is to do some activities with them.

  • The Human Faucet. This do-at-home experiment shows kids how much water they use when they let the tap run while brushing their teeth. You can find detailed instructions here.
  • Visit your local water plant or nearby natural history museum to learn about the water cycle.
  • Interactive games and websites. Check these out:

Go for it!

Next time your kids tell you they’re bored, don’t stress about what to do. Take it as an opportunity to have fun and learn how to become a water-wise family together.

Square Foot Gardening

Orbit Irrigation traveling sprinkler

With processed foods increasingly prevalent, many people are seeking natural and organic options for their diet.  But a trip to your local grocery store will reveal that although going green may be healthier for your diet, it does little for your budget.

To combat these high prices many people are growing their own produce and square foot gardening is making it easy.

What is Square Foot Gardening?

Square foot gardening is an innovative approach to traditional single-row gardening.  At its basic level, square foot gardening consists of a 4′ x 4″ raised planter with 16 units.  Each square foot unit is used to plant a different crop.  This system takes less work, is easy to maintain, wastes less water and materials (such as seeds), and yields plenty of crops.

For tips on how to set up your own square foot garden, click here.

Watering Your Square Foot Garden

There are a number of ways to water your square foot garden, they include: Bucket watering, Hose watering, Soaker Hose watering, Sprinkler System watering, and Drip Irrigation.*

Bucket Watering

This includes a large bucket of sun-warmed water and a cup.  Water each plant with a cup of water.  Although this method is inexpensive, it is tedious work that someone must attend to each day.

Hose Watering

Use a gentle hose-end attachment to water each plant.  Setbacks to this method include increased risk of molds and fungi (due to the leaves getting wet) and the fact that this system is not automated.

You can browse Orbit’s hose-end products here.

Soaker Hose Watering

A soaker hose is a porous hose that allows water to seep slowly into the soil.  It is less work, but you still have to remember to turn it on—to combat this issue you can try one of Orbit’s hose faucet timers.  While this method protects the leaves of your plants, you cannot control which plants receive more water and it is still difficult to ensure even watering.

Sprinkler System Watering

Rather than try to water your garden individually, you can adjust your sprinkler system to also cover your square foot garden.  This approach is convenient because it is automated; however, you are less likely to receive even coverage and the leaves of your plants will be watered, increasing your risk for mold and fungus.

Drip Irrigation

Many square foot gardeners feel that drip irrigation is the ideal method of watering your garden.  Drip systems allow the water to soak directly into the soil with the added convenience of flow adjustment for individual plants.  These systems are also automated, ensuring consistent watering.

Despite what some people may think, drip irrigation is fairly simple to set up.  For help and tips you can check out Orbit’s Free Installation Guide.  Or you can view our Drip Made Easy videos.

 

As always, if you have any questions, please give us a call at: 1 (800) 488-6156.  Good luck with your square foot garden and enjoy a warm and healthy summer!

*Special thanks to: My Square Foot Garden