School’s Out and The Garden Is Thirsty!

07 Jun

In Atlanta, many gardeners are beginning to see the first fruits of their labor. Last night I enjoyed fresh green beans with my dinner. Oh, they were divine! I thanked God while I was picking them, breaking them, and eating them.

Since little (or no) rain has fallen in several weeks, our house has entered water conservation mode.

The  “water bucket” has returned to the kitchen. This yellow eyesore, sits beside the sink and receives every drop of water that would otherwise be tossed, discarded….wasted. From leftover tea, to water captured during hand-washing, every drop is rescued and fed to hungry plants.

Noone in this house runs the water while brushing their teeth. We are careful stewards of every single drop.

We’re even carrying water to Billy’s. After first meeting Billy and recognizing that all farmer’s have an urgent need for water, I incorporated two 45 gallon rain barrels into my home. Since my heirloom tomatoes are living at Billy’s, every Monday and Wednesday when I visit, I load two five gallon bucketss of water into my trunk and carefully drive them to his house.

Water, is the most precious resource any farmer has.

There are many simple tricks everyone can do to conserve water. Low flow toilets are wonderful, but in my older home, I can still conserve water by placing a quart jar (like a pickle jar) in the holding tank. Each time the toilet is flush less water is used.

Applying mulch to thirsty plants is another wonderful way. And for the love of humanity, practice pratical common-sense thinking when watering the lawn. Unless one lives in Arizona no lawn under the sun requires watering every day. That’s just a bunch of hooey the lawn maintenance people have sold you.Check with the Cooperative Extension Agent in your area. They will confirm that lawns watered every day require MORE water than lawns that aren’t.


Because lawns that receive water every day never develop deep roots. Only thirsty grass plants dig deep into the soil for nutrients. Please, stop watering lawns every day. And don’t get me started on chemical run-off as a result of over-watering. Today, adjust the timing of watering to once a week, never….ever daily.

Alas, the children have awoken from their slumber. Remarkably, they have decided (in June no less) to hack out a garden space and plant more vegetables. I’ll let you know how that turns out. Fingers crossed. Until then, consider how you use the precious resource of water in your home.

Renea Winchester is an award-winning author. Her book In The Garden With Billy: Lessons About Life Love & Tomatoes has been nominated for a SIBA and the Georgia Author of the Year Award (GAYA).

She may be reached at


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