The dog days of ­summer—long sunny evenings, warm ­temperatures, ­swimming, vacations, and… drought

›› Kayla Siefried, Compost Education Centre

While we here in Victoria have had cool-ish evenings and skies clear of smoke, if you tune into any news you’re bound to hear about the stage 4 to 5 drought conditions across the province (5 being the highest) and forest fires raging in Central and Northern BC. Surprisingly, 70% of the water that is used in the CRD is used by households, while the remaining 30% is industrial, commercial, and institutional use.

So, what’s an individual to do?

Start with being mindful—are you using unnecessary amounts of water in your garden, to wash your dishes, to clean your body and cloths? Then act! Here are some top tips for reducing water waste in the garden & home:

  • Water your garden deeply, and less often, this will encourage deep resilient plant roots which can deal with short periods of drought. Cover your soil with deep layers of leaf or straw mulch (all year round!).
  • Skip grass watering (let it go dormant) or replace lawns with native plant gardens which require far less water.
  • Keep a couple small buckets in your shower and in the kitchen sink to harvest excess water from showers, dish washing, veggie washing to water to houseplants, flowers, and ornamentals outside.
  • Wash clothes only when they are really dirty and use short cycles—same goes for your body!
  • Let your yellow mellow!

On another gardening topic, now is the time to get ready for a winter garden. Feels strange in the middle of summer, but timing is everything and now is the time to sow winter lettuce, collards, kales, radishes, and spinach for eating all winter long. Saturday, August 12th from 10am-1pm in Haegert Park is the day to come to the CEC’s August Organic Plant Sale to purchase all manner of organic winter veggie starts like purple sprouting broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts. There will also be beautiful live pedal powered music. See you there!