As the city of Sacramento continues to roll out water meters, customers are shocked to find out their actual water use. How do those gallons add up?
See for yourself before the new meter gets installed. This month, the nonprofit Alliance for Water Efficiency introduced a free online tool for homeowners: It's called Home Water Works (www.home-water-works.org). It offers an easy and accurate way to total up your home's average water use, along with tips to whittle away hundreds of gallons.
The Water Calculator, the website's interactive tool, makes water saving a personal equation. In less than a minute, you can discover your family's estimated average daily use indoors and out.
The Water Calculator quickly estimates how much water is used for toilets, showers, clothes washers, faucets, dishwashers and even leaks. Those estimates are based on national water use studies and climate data, tailored by ZIP code.
Then, follow the links to see how simple tips can lead to huge savings. The Water Calculator guides you from bathroom to kitchen to backyard, suggesting ways to save more water and taking into account steps already taken such as drip irrigation or low-flow toilets.
Created through a unique partnership by the alliance with Chicago's Field Museum and financed in part by a grant from the Home Depot, the Water Calculator also estimates the carbon footprint associated with heating water for your home.
With little effort, you'll discover how much water (and energy) you can save daily.
If you have bare-root roses, fruit trees or other dormant plants awaiting transplant but don't have time (or a prepared space) to plant them in the ground, keep them happy and healthy while they wait.
If the delay is less than a week, put the plants' roots in a bucket of water. If it's a large plant or tree, use a wheelbarrow or large trash can. It's important to keep the roots moist and hydrated, even while the plant is dormant.
Another option: Plant your new bush or tree in potting mix in a 5-gallon or larger container. Add two spoonfuls of bone meal, but hold off on any high- nitrogen fertilizers. In spring, transplant it to its permanent location. That will allow the roots some time to develop, too.
Remove old flowers from camellias and azaleas to avoid petal blight.
Finish pruning roses.
Start peppers, tomatoes and eggplant from seed indoors.
Plant bare-root roses and ornamentals such as peony, bleeding heart, coral bells and astilbe. Plant blooming camellias, azaleas and rhododendrons.
Transplant or direct seed snapdragon, candytuft, lily of the valley, larkspur, Shasta and painted daisy and stocks.
In the vegetable garden, plant Jerusalem artichokes, strawberries and rhubarb. Transplant seedlings of lettuce, cabbage, broccoli and kale. Direct seed radishes, beets, peas and chard.