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Save Water & Money with Home Water Conservation Projects

The content in this post was written by Golden Love in the April 3 Love’s Gardens newsletter. We found it so useful, we wanted to share! It is reprinted with his permission.

Rebates Available for Water Conservation: Money for YOU!

Were you aware that you can get rebates for home improvements related to water conservation? Some of these rebates are large enough to pay for a significant portion of the cost to install property upgrades that help you reduce or eliminate your use of well or municipal water for landscaping.

For instance, if you live in the Soquel Creek Water District, you can now get up to $750 to help offset the cost of a rainwater storage system or up to $1400 for your greywater system! Plus, either of these upgrades would reduce your future water bill, thus providing additional savings.

Here are some recent rebates received by Love’s Gardens’ customers:

  • Westside Santa Cruz — $1,740 for lawn removal: $870 cash from State of CA and $870 off water bill from City of Santa Cruz.
  • Aptos—$1,400 off water bill for a Aqua2use pumped greywater system to Grey Flow Dripline.
  • Westside Santa Cruz—$1,000 off water bill for lawn removal.

You can contact Love’s Gardens for a free landscaping rebate evaluation.

Upcoming Garden Tour: Saving Every Drop

Watsonville Private Home
Sunday, June 2, 1:00–3:00 p.m.

Robin Spring and her husband Michael Lejarza are opening their lovely garden for a spring tour. When approaching Love’s Gardens for help, Robin and Michael expressed a goal of reducing water use. In addition to being a serious environmentalist, Robin also has a stellar garden!

She wanted it all, so they looked into the possibility of watering her front ornamental garden with their washing machine and pump to greyflow drip irrigation. Because her house is on a slab where piping is encased in concrete, they were unable to harvest their shower, sink, and bath water, and the washing machine just wasn’t enough water to make a difference.

Instead she chose two Bushman 530 slimline tanks, with a leaf filter, first flush diverter, pressure booster pump, filters, and a remote control valve dedicated entirely to rainwater. They will be watering their hot peppers and other veggies with rain water after the wet season using their existing irrigation controller.

In addition this, the overflow from the rain tanks waters their front garden and the existing drainage pipe from the back garden is now being directed into the garden.

They received a $250 rebate from the City of Watsonville too!

Robin and Michael are excited about these improvements because:

  1. They will be reducing their water bill by storing rainwater in tanks.
  2. Excess water from their tanks waters the front garden during the wet season and stores it in the soil.
  3. Water from their backyard downspouts is now going into the front garden, instead of the street.
  4. Michael’s hot pepper collection might be healthier because of rain water!

This tour is open house style. Stop by anytime between 1:00 and 3:00. They will be leading tours intermittently and answering questions about the water-conserving features of Robin and Michael’s landscaping.

Tasty organic snacks from Tastes Like Love will be on hand for your nibbling pleasure. The tour is free, but your RSVP will help them prepare and will get you the address.

Micro-Bites

From Bay Nature Magazine, January-March 2005

“A single pinch of healthy soil harbors more than 10 million bacteria.”

“One of the functional roles of soil bacteria is that of a decomposer: Bacteria consume organic matter, breaking it down into forms that can be used by other soil organisms.”

“Nitrogen-fixing bacteria, it could be argued, are responsible for life as we know it.”

Read the whole article here.

Spring Gardening Tip: Building root systems to withstand the dry season

A lot of water can be saved by observing your garden in early spring. This year, we have received ample rainfall that is nourishing plants at deep levels in the soil. Let’s take advantage of this opportunity by moving the start-up date for turning your irrigation controller on or hand watering to later than normal.

Established trees and shrubs can, depending on your soil, wait till June or even later, if you have a rain garden that has stored water in the soil. Annuals and shallow rooted plants will need water sooner. These can be touched up with some greywater from your kitchen sink or heat-up water from your shower before turning irrigation systems on. Look for vibrant leaves in the morning!

The goal here is to encourage your plants to dive deeper for water. Early watering schedules can create lazy plants and larger water bills!

Pictured above is a photo of Love Gardens’ rain garden that stores over 8K gallons of water annually to nourish our plants without municipal water.

Financing Available

Have you been thinking about doing a large project on your property, but aren’t sure how to make it work financially? There are numerous ways to finance projects to improve the sustainability of your home and landscape.

Here are a few options:

  • CaliforniaFirst Loans: These are long term, fixed rate loans for projects to improve sustainability of your home. These could be for energy improvements, water conservation, or other green projects. Repayment is made with your property tax bill. Love’s Gardens is the only Santa Cruz area irrigation and drought-tolerant landscaping contractor listed with Renew Financial, a company that offers CaliforniaFirst financing.
  • Green Loans: Many financial institutions offer special financing for projects to improve energy efficiency, water conservation, and other green goals. Check with your bank, or consider Santa Cruz Community Credit Union’s Get Green Loans.
  • PayPal Credit: If you just need a little time to pay off the project and don’t want to pay any interest, then PayPal Credit may be a good fit. Ask your contractor if they can invoice you through PayPal. If you qualify, you will have 6 months to pay with 0% interest or payments. To find out more about PayPal Credit, click here.

Learn More

Take the plunge and learn even more about how to regenerate our local watersheds by joining us for our Permaculture Design Course weekend focused on Regenerating Watersheds & Soils. It takes place every six months during our certificate course. For details, visit our website.

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