Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sunday Gardening News! Water Conservation in the Garden Sunday, June 12, 2011

Good morning gardeners! Hope everyone has a little something in the ground by now  and things are growing good for you all.
Out early this morning with a thermos of coffee (which I need to stop drinking) and looking at the garden. The sun is coming up and there is still a mist of fog hanging about. It's going to be a lovely day.
For starters, the brussel's sprouts I started from seed are producing....broccoli.
Somehow, I guess the seed got mixed up at the seed place and instead of sweet succulent little baby cabbage heads, I have sweet succulent broccoli instead! LOL

The flea beetles are really doing a number on the egg plant too but the plants continue to soldier on however despite the attack. I have tried one experiment to see if it would help though.
I have one eggplant in a big pot and have set that pot in a big tray that's a few inches deep and wide and long enough where I can set the pot right in the middle and keep the tray filled with water. I'm hoping that the flea beetles, trying to get to the plant, will fall in the moat and drown!

Also, I had my first ripe tomato on Thursday. We are growing several types this year. Celebrity and Early Girl hybrids, Pink Belgium Giant, Oxheart, Caro Rich, Black Russian Cherry and Brandywine.  Of them all, the earliest, most vigorous plants are the Black Russian Cherry tomatoes. Although started at the same time, the Black Russians were by far the fastest most sturdy plants and have already started producing and ripening! Plus, those are absolutely some of the best tasting tomatoes! They aren't tiny little cherry tomatoes but larger, and they ripen to a deep dark brownish purple. Delicious!
The weather here is hot, like most places now, and dry. Although RJ did his best to send some of that last rain he had down this way, the storm petered out before it got to my house. Drat!
That means we've been pumping water from the creek to keep things going.
My excellent neighbor Dave has a great setup this year. He has a gas powered pump down at the creek and when he put in the beds this year, he laid down some old water hose that he had drilled holes in, on top of the soil and then covered it with row cover. Now, all I have to do if I'm going to do the watering is crank up the pump and plug the hose into the hose at the bed I want to water and let 'er rip!
Easy peesy!
For my small garden I have a little electric pump and just use a water hose.
Neighbor Dave and I have talked a lot about what we'd do if we didn't have electricity for my pump or gas for his and we've come up with a plan.
He got several 50 gal. plastic barrels and we plan to line them up by his workshop and run the gutter to them. We would have storage for about 300 gal. at a time that way and that would be a start.
We can always form a bucket brigade and haul water that way if needs be.
Coupled with mulching and good soil management (which I guarantee a person would develop if they had to haul water by hand!) that would hopefully be enough.
At any rate, things are rocking along well here. I've had all the squash and zuchinni and salad makin's a person could want, plus gooseberries, raspberries and a few plums. It's that plum tree's first year to produce!
The pear trees are going to be loaded this year as well and I can't wait for a ripe juicy pear!
Now about watering. Nobody much likes to have to get out and haul or pump water. It's a good idea to conserve water as much as possible so plan on mulching around your plants with leaves, or grass clippings, even newpaper will do. I know there are pros and cons to each of these things, but, if you are in a situation where you don't have access to a water tap, or you  don't have a water tap, you want to think ahead and plan for dry times.
One of the neatest planting methods I've ever read about for low rainfall areas, is the method used by the Zuni Indians.
A remarkable way of growing food in dry climates. And just plain beautiful to look at too.

Here are some links.
TreeHugger: Zuni Water Harvesting Techniques
ZuniSpirits:Zuni Waffle Gardens
NMAI. Native People and the Land pdf.
VegetableGardener: The Roots of Square Foot Gardening
So doomers, as we all move into our dry seasons, it's a good idea to think about what if.
What if you had to garden but didn't have access to public water???

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