One of the things that I love about gardening is how it makes me more aware of weather. I’m guessing that every single gardener at Guelph Street Community Garden knows that we haven’t had a lot of rain lately. In fact – CBC was saying that we have had half the normal rainfall in both May and June. Trying to grow plants makes us take notice of these things.
So now that we are aware – what can we do other than keep hauling water from home?!
Here are some things I’ve learned from others as well as from the Rodale Organic Life website about conserving water while gardening
- Water deeply – rather than water a little bit each day or every few days – water less frequently but water deeply – so that the soil gets wet to at least one foot deep. Then don’t water again until the soil 4 or 5 inches down is dry again. Deep watering makes plants grow deeper roots which makes them more drought resistant.
- Water only in the morning or in the evening – watering in the heat of the day means that much of that water will be lost to evaporation
- Water the root zone of the plants (not the leaves) – and pour the water on slowly to minimize having the water run elsewhere
- Mulch, mulch, and mulch some more. Both straw and wood ships can be used as mulch – and both are available at the garden. Mulching is a very good way to retain moisture in the soil. Besides that – it discourages weeds and adds organic matter to the soil when it breaks down. How much mulch? – 4-6 inches is best in areas that are fully exposed to the sun.
- Cut down on cultivation – which turns the soil and causes the water in that soil to be exposed to the sun and evaporate. Instead of hoeing to keep weeds down, smother them with mulch.