Archive for the ‘Soil’ Category

One of the Effects of Drought

Drought has been upon our part of the world for several years now. In spite of some winter rains, we have been way behind on overall rainfall and it looks like we are going into a hotter than normal summer.

Ranchers prepare for this by thinning their herds. Farmers prepare by setting up expensive irrigation systems. What are you going to do for your garden?

No water, Even for the Fountain!

5 things to do to prepare the garden for a drought:

1. Plant water-wise plants

If you know it is going to be a dry year, plant more Okra and less Tomatoes.

2. Mulch, Mulch, Mulch…

I have posted on this before but it will make all of the difference in the world.

3. Add organic material to the soil.

I have heard a story where a man went to the desert, dug a hole, buried a bale of hay, and came back a year later to a green dot in the middle of the desert. Organic content of the soil acts as a battery, storing water for the lean times.

4. Put up a shade cloth

For the plants that don’t need direct sun, a little shade can really take the edge off.

5. Plant so that the ground is always shaded.

Don’t let the sun hit the ground, and the evaporation rate will be much lower.

6. I know, I only said 5… Water with drip irrigation at each plant…

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Top 5 Reasons for Using Rainwater Collection in Your Garden

I strongly recommend using rainwater collection for your garden. There are a hundred reasons to use rain and I have tried to summarize the top 5:

1. Pure Rain for Pure Plants

You are growing this garden to feed your family. The contaminants in local water supplies are scary and are bad for your plants. Flourine, Chlorine, Trihalomethanes, Lead, Benzene and many more. The World Health Organization lists 157 contaminants in water. If you want to reduce your exposure, use rainwater. I used to live in a town where we all knew not to water the plants with tap water because the tap water always killed them. If the plants don’t like it, you probably shouldn’t use it. Where we live today, the tap water just smells bad…

Rainwater from the Special rain tap!

2. Low Cost

Where we live, we are charged for both water and sewer based on water consumption. Our water utility charges a crazy amount for water and it is unaffordable to keep a garden going without rainwater. If you want to save money, use the water God provides from the sky.

3. Low Impact

Energy flows through your property in the form of heat, wind, sunshine, and water. A key permaculture concept is to capture energy closest to the source and prevent it from leaving your property (the sink). Collecting water at the highest point on your property will allow you to use gravity to feed it to your gardens. Using rain prevents you from using all of the energy required to collect it from surface or ground water, filtering it, purifying it, and distributing is miles to your home. Using what you have without using the water system is your selfish (in a good way) act to use the resources you have at your fingertips.


4. Resilience

In bad times, there is security in knowledge and systems to grow your own food. Whether you lose

Downspout collection system

 your job or the power goes out for an extended period of time, having access to a low cost food source is a huge blessing. Rainwater allows you to use what flows through your property without cost (after the system setup is complete) and increases your resilience in hard times.

5. Emergency Water Supply

Having rainwater collection also can provide you with a drinking and bathing water source assuming you know how to purify it (a topic for another day). Water is life and you and your plants need it to be healthy.

Rainwater can be collected in something simple as a bucket, a barrel, or a full sized rainwater collection tank. Your location, lot layout, and budget will determine what you can do but don’t be discouraged from trying something small. 

Water tanks can range from 30 gallons up to 10000 gallons

Our tanks are 1000 gallons each and will fill up with just a few inches of rain. Rain where we live often falls in huge amounts all at the same time so having a big collection system will increase how long you can go without having to go to the tap. I have two friends that have 35000 and 45000 gallon systems and rely on their rainwater for most of their water needs.

Did this inspire your to act or do you have a question? Email me at greenthumb at cubicfootgardening dot com or leave a comment!