How To Conserve Water On Food Gardening?
Author : My Food Garden
What stems out of growing own food are rewards of self-satisfaction and achievement. The tasty, nutritious vegetables and herbs you grow in your garden are a superb money-saving method. Count on food gardening as advantageous since you are controlling the chosen pesticides and herbicides and the amount being used on plants. Furthermore, food gardening is even considered in Brisbane as an excellent way to keep the city cool, and in a way control climate change.
However, there is one side to be concerned about that is water conservation and using only the necessary water on the new cultivating patch. How you are handling smart water usage to keep your water bill down is a vivid part of the picture that clarifies whether the food gardening project is expensive or within your means.
To ensure the food gardening patch is sufficiently watered but not over-watered, a few steps will prove beneficial.
1. Use Extra Ingredients and Boost The Garden Soil
What is put in garden beds or pots will nourish the soil.
a. Pearlite – A superb addition to the potting soil is the all-natural, lightweight product made using volcanic glass. Absorbing water like a sponge, even it will stop the pots and prevent the raised garden beds from drying out.
b. Coir or Coconut Fibre – With the coconut fibres, the potted plants can make a maximum of the received water. It has the capability of holding about 10 times its weight in water. After it dries out, it’s easier to wet it again.
c. Compost – Compost helps soil with water retention while enriching the soil with the benefits of additional nutrients for plants. Compost can be DIY to use.
For bulk buying, you can choose Pearlite and compost – better to consult with food gardening professionals to explore the options.
2. Prevent Soil From Drying Out
Keeping the soil moist actually helps in saving water – if the garden dries out, then the soil will become hydrophobic or water-repellant. To avoid this condition, soil should be kept moist.
Digging down into the pot while watering plants reveals it is nice and damp. In case, the garden beds or pots have dried out, then only the big brink will only have a wet top layer – hence a lot more water will be needed.
If you find some pots have become really dry, then submerging the pot for a few minutes in a bucket or tub surpassing the size of the pot will help. But remember, leaving the pot in the water for a long time will cause the pot to suck in excessive water, and the n the plant roots will start rotting.
Herbs and vegetables grown in smaller pots will dry out quicker than the bigger ones. As much as possible, keep the pots away from direct sunlight – arrange the pots in such a way that the biggest pots are blocking the small-sized pots. On hotter days, you can use a cardboard shield.
3. Water the Crops Before or After the Heat
Watering the crops right in the heat of the day means the crops are competing against the sun to absorb water, but the sun will ultimately win.
But watering the crops early in the morning or evening, when the sun is really not so high gives a better chance to the crops to win the game. Although how hot the day will be is a determinant factor, yet watering the plants when the soil is in shade or only when the morning time is gentle or during the early evening sun marks the well-being benefits of the crops. Develop it into a daily routine.
4. Normalize Using Drippers
Drippers encourage efficient water use since the root zone absorbs water slowly with no run-offs. Thus drippers are water-wise compared to overhead sprinklers.
All local hardware stores in Brisbane are selling dripper hoses and all relevant connections for you to buy, but these are somewhat pricey. However, an alternative for food gardening is using an old garden hose drilling small holes into it and capping the end to create a dripper system.
But when you are purchasing from the local hardware store, then you shall find out exactly the amount of water they are using – say, 2 litres per dripper per minute. But, with the DIY drippers, you should be more cautious with water pressure and be more careful on the side of a gentle flow.
Weaving a dripper system through pots might be hard, but not impossible. But when needed, then moving the pots will be difficult.
Whichever option has been chosen – using a timer with a dripper system is compulsory. No need to worry if left accidentally turned on!
5. Prioritize Mulching
Insulating like a blanket, Mulch insulates and keeps the underneath elements cooler and damper. The part of soil exposed to the sun dries out much faster than soil under mulch. Hence, a no-brainer for saving water.
Pea straw or regular straw and sugar cane are a few environmentally friendly common mulches.
However, own lawn clippings form the cheapest and most convenient mulch option as well as the leaf litter or both combined.
Apply much in the layers about a 5cm layer. Be careful to leave a gap in between the mulch and plant’s stems, to save the stems from rotting due to excessive moisture. But make sure to mulch around the plants only after they are grown. Do not forget, that mulch is a favourite among the little critters likely to attack the baby plants. Actually, these bugs will be good for garden soil as long as the plants are big and healthy. Because mulch is organic, so over time it will break down. At some point, you will have to top it up.
Planting a ground cover near the food garden patch is another option. Consult the food garden professionals and find out the species sure to thrive in the local conditions in Brisbane.
Keep the drippers in mind – In case, you are using mulch around a dripper system, first set up the drippers. Next, put the mulch over its top to reap the benefits of absolute water efficiency.
Prepare Your Garden To Survive Even In Hot Days – Here is How!
In the stance of a heatwave, follow the steps mentioned above, and use a shade cloth to protect your food garden. You can even use an umbrella to shield your plants.
When the plants are in the pots, but not so heavy – manually move them to the position where they could get some morning sun and afternoon shade. Ensure they are in full protection when the sun is at its peak during the daytime. Maybe you are worried about lack of time to put shading up and down, or move the pots several times a day to avoid heat – remember, they better be in the shade for a week and not be scorched under the inflating sun rays.
Well, time to draw the ending line! We shall call it off by stating the importance of water conservation in food gardens. As you can note, your water bill goes down and you can continue food gardening within your budget. But by conserving water, you are saving a limited resource. Marginalizing pressure on water supply is a step towards conserving water to maintain a resilient and sustainable system.