The dreaded word “drought” keeps popping up in the news in our part of the country.
I've been reading articles about being especially careful when cooking out by watering down the area under the grill before lighting the charcoal or when using an outdoor fire pit, and not parking in grassy areas because the heat from the catalytic converter and other hot parts under the car could start a grass fire — and being very careful with those fireworks this 4th of July.
These cautions need to be taken seriously, even though we have never had to worry about grass fires in our area of Indiana in recent years.
Of course, my main concern is about our plant life. I've been talking about water conservation off and on for several columns due to the very dry season we are experiencing. I've suggested that you use a maintenance-type water system on the turf and always water at the root zone of all your other plants, and not waste water with overhead sprinklers — but we need to take a step further and begin to recycle our water.
I have found by experimenting that I waste a lot of water that could have been recycled in the garden, so here are a few ideas of ways you too can save water:
•When you take a shower, set a small bucket under the spray in a safe place so you won't trip over it, and use the collected water on your plants.
•If you take a tub bath, scoop buckets of water out of the tub and use them on the garden. If you are worried about the soap in the water, make sure the water goes on the soil around the plants, not on the leaves. It is possible that you might kill a pest or two by doing this.
•Resist using bath salts or lots of bubbles in the water so you won't be adding salt build up in the soil. It is also recommended that you not use this water on your root vegetables.
•Another way to minimize salt buildup when recycling bath and dishwashing water would be to dilute the water with clear water before using it on the garden.
•I found that I use a lot more water just running the tap for things like filling my carafe to brew coffee, or getting a drink, or washing fruits and vegetables. Keeping a dishpan or bowl in the sink catches the extra water so I have plenty for my container plants inside and out.
•Instead of using the dishwasher, let the kids do the dishes in a dishpan — then pour that on a container plant or garden area that needs it. Again, dilute the soapy water before using it.
•Catch the water in the dishpan when you drain off cooked vegetables or pasta. Let it cool and use it on the garden. You will be adding nutrients by doing this as well.
•Don't pour that leftover coffee, tea or those unsweetened soft drinks down the drain. They can be mixed in the waste water or diluted with plain water and used on the garden.
•Skip saving sugary drinks or beverages containing alcohol. The alcohol in the beverage could damage the plant, and the sugar will draw pests to your garden that you won't want to deal with.
All this may seem extreme, but recycling will help conserve our main