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Get 'smart' irrigation controller, learn how to use it

Regional Water Authority offers Rachio 3 deal and free workshop

Man with remote controller
Get a smart irrigation controller at a discount and learn how to use it free. (Photo courtesy RWA)

On the hottest day of the year, decide to water smarter.

This current heat wave is a reminder of how dependent our landscapes are on proper irrigation. But how much water does your garden need?

A "smart" controller takes some of the guess work out of watering. It acts like a thermostat for your sprinklers, using local weather conditions to determine when and how long your system should run.
Smart controllers can be expensive, up to $270 for a 16-zone system. And they can seem a little intimidating to set up.

The Regional Water Authority has answers to both: A Rachio 3 Controller offered at a deep discount and an online workshop to learn how to use it.

The controller is available for $75 plus tax to customers of RWA's member water providers. That's about two dozen local agencies.

According to the RWA, a Water Sense-labeled controller such as this Rachio model can save an average home about 13,500 gallons a year.

Now how to make the most of that technology: Take an online class.

RWA's free virtual workshop is set for noon Tuesday, Aug. 25. Advance registration is required.

"The Rachio Controllers have many features that help you maintain a beautiful garden," says the RWA.

During this virtual workshop you will learn:
-- How Rachio can make any yard smart
-- Overview of installation, hardware & software setup
-- An overview of each schedule type
-- An overview of how the app works
-- An overview of your yard and zones


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of Feb. 18:

It's wet to start the week. When you do get outside, between or after storms, concentrate on damage control:

* Keep storm drains and gutters clear of debris.

* Clean up tree debris knocked down by wind and rain.

* Where did the water flow in your garden? Make notes where revisions are necessary.

* Are any trees leaning? See disturbances in the ground or lawn around their base? Time to call an arborist before the tree topples.

* Dump excess water out of pots.

* Indoors, start peppers, tomatoes and eggplant from seed.

* Lettuce and other greens also can be started indoors from seed.

* Got bare-root plants? Put their roots in a bucket of water until outdoor soil dries out. Or pot them up in 1- or 5-gallon containers. In April, transplant the plant, rootball and all, into the garden.

* Browse garden websites and catalogs. It’s not too late to order for spring and summer.

* Show your indoor plants some love. Dust leaves and mist to refresh.

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