Over the past few months, most Louisiana homeowners have dealt with moderate to extreme drought conditions. That means our lawns and gardens have been suffering from excessive heat and from a lack of rainfall too, and that's never a good thing. Just look at the picture above and you can see for yourself what a lack of water can do to a lawn.

Bay Area Water Inspectors Monitor Water Usage
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The problem with most of us amateur lawn and garden aficionados is that we simply don't know how to properly water the grass and the garden. Many communities, such as Lafayette where I live, even have watering restrictions during the oft dry summer months.

So, how do you know if you've watered the lawn or garden too much or too little? Believe it or not, the answer to that question just might be residing in your pantry right now. That item is a can of tuna. No, it has to be a can a pouch won't do in this case.

Washington Deptartment of Ecology via YouTube
Washington Deptartment of Ecology via YouTube
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First things first, eat the tuna. You're not going to throw that out in the yard unless you want to attract stray cats, possums, and even snakes to the party. Once you've emptied the can, wash it out and completely remove the lid.

You're going to use that empty tuna can as a DIY rain gauge for the microenvironment that is your yard. Set the can in the path of your lawn sprinkler's spray path. Then water as usual.

Elena Rabkina via Unsplash.com
Elena Rabkina via Unsplash.com
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After about an hour you'll want to check the contents of the can. You'll find that some water has collected in it, but is that enough water to completely hydrate your lawn and garden? It is if you find at least an inch of water in the can. 

Garden experts say most of us water our lawns incorrectly. We turn the sprinkler on for fifteen or thirty minutes and think we have done enough. What we have actually done is hurt your lawn by watering too shallow. The short-time watering doesn't allow for enough water to penetrate to the bottom of the roots of your grass. That will leave those roots dry and will make your lawn less resilient to drought conditions during the summer and colder temperatures during the winter.

Lawn 2
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The above picture is a classic illustration of improper watering. And, yes, that's my lawn before I discovered this hack.

By allowing enough watering time for an inch of moisture to collect in your tuna can you can rest assured that enough water has penetrated deep into the soil. This will strengthen the deep roots of your grass and garden plants making them more likely to survive and thrive no matter what kind of weather Mother Nature dishes out.

The experts say the best time to water is in the morning and they suggest watering at least once a week during the summer months. Of course, that depends on how much rainfall you receive at your home during the week. If you've gotten a lot of rain, then refrain from adding the extra moisture.

How to Generate Landscaping Leads: Top 25 Lawn Care and Landscaping Marketing Ideas
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Oh, there is one caveat we should disclose, the more you water your yard, the more you have to mow it. But still mowing is better than sweeping away the dust where your grass used to be or having to walk barefooted across those crispy crunch blades of used-to-be grass.

Who knew an empty tuna can could be a gardener's best friend? If you think that's something take a look at these other products that found fame and fortune in uses that weren't originally intended.

11 Products That Were Invented to be Used for Something Else