Water rationing is not fun for anyone — especially gardeners! But with a few creative water saving tips, you’ll be able to have your garden (and your shower, too!). Here are some tips for watering your garden less in a year of drought from Pamela Mason, Cole Canyon Farm.
- Water Less —The greatest hazard of the home garden is over watering. You can probably grow all your usual plants and water 1/3 less with great success. Especially tomatoes.
- Mulch, mulch, mulch — Nothing does more to conserve water in the soil without creating a muddy environment than mulch. So many types can be used; we use straw from the goose barn and spent soil from our plantings that is full of perlite. Stones, plastic, old carpet, tires, composted manure – anything that enriches the soil, creates tilth, and holds moisture gently will do.
- Drip — Use drip irrigation but do not use an automatic timer. Inspect your garden and employ drip when the plants need it. Most vegetables need a consistent amount of water and do not thrive or produce well when allowed to go completely dry between watering. But sunlight hours and wind can effect the plants need for water and you, the gardener, can make the best judgement of when and how much to water.
- Root Depth — Know the root depth of your favorite garden plants to determine watering requirements. Lettuce for example is a shallow rooted plant so only needs a minimum of water to satisfy the roots. Root vegetables such as beets and onions require deeper watering.
- Mediterranean Herbs — Remember that lavender, oregano, marjoram, rosemary, sage and thymes do very well with little to no water once established. They actually develop stronger flavors and scent when deprived of water.
SOURCE: Article courtesy of Cole Canyon Farm, Gardening in Drought, by Pamela Mason