|Aged wood chips used for garden mulch.|
We have been putting our plan into action all year long and it keeps expanding. We are continually coming up with more ways to save water in the garden. I'm not giving up our gardens without a fight. I will do whatever I can to keep them growing and producing throughout the drought.
MulchI can't say it often enough. You have to cover the soil. Mulch does a fantastic job of reducing water use in the gardens. Even though the very top layer of mulch may dry out, it can still hold water and keep the soil underneath consistently moist.
|Radicchio planted close together forms a living mulch .|
Living MulchGrow a living mulch to shade and cover the soil. It is really easy to do. Plants are carefully spaced in the garden so that they brush shoulders. Keeping the soil and your organic mulch shaded and cool helps reduce evaporation.
|Edge stones help control soil erosion .|
Control Soil ErosionOne of my projects this week has been setting edge stones to keep the soil and mulch in place. If you've taken the time to build up healthy soil and a good layer of mulch, the last thing you want is to have it slowly erode away. Erosion control is an important aspect of soil and soil moisture management.
CompostThose rotting fruits and vegetables are loaded with liquid, and once composted produce a moist, rich fertilizer that will help keep your gardens healthy through the drought. If you have a compost tumbler or something similar, catch the compost tea runoff in buckets and use it to water and feed with. Dilute the compost tea with clear water.
Water Less FrequentlyMost people water more than necessary, so cutting back most likely will not hurt your gardens. Before you turn on those drip lines or sprinklers, stick your finger in the soil and find out if it really needs more water. We have two 50-gallon barrels we use for watering. And we do it the old fashioned way - with a bucket. The bucket method gives us more control over how much water is used.
Every Last Drop.Save every bit of liquid you can to water your gardens, from the last of the coffee in your pot to the water used for washing and steaming vegetables. Even spent coffee grounds can add moisture to your soil.
|Pomegranate trees are heat and drought tolerant.|
Heat and Drought Tolerant Plants and TreesChoose plants and trees that don't need much water. We have plumbago, sage, rosemary, garlic chives, pomegranates and more happily growing with little or no added water. We even have kale, Swiss chard and Brussels sprouts that are doing very well without irrigation. When you are buying seed and selecting plants, look for ones that can stand up to hot, dry conditions.
Garden TrainingTrain your garden to thrive without water. I can guarantee you'll be surprised how much water your plants don't need. Pay attention to those plants that do especially well and propagate them. They are the ones that will serve you well throughout the drought. Take cuttings and save seed from the healthiest plants in your gardens.
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