Living in the arid Southwest, conserving water is a norm. There are a number of ways to conserve water in the garden, though the most popular ways of conserving water are going to be through irrigation systems. While above ground, drip emitter systems are popular and work, they aren’t always as efficient as irrigation systems could be. There is a company out of California called Drip Works that sell drip tape irrigation lines which are very efficient. When looking to conserve water in the garden, give drip tape a try in your garden rows.
Another traditional way to conserve water is through clay pottery called ollas. You bury the olla water container and fill it with water, and it slowly releases the water to the root zone of the plants. Superb idea, and you could make your own ollas quite simply.
Of course the most efficient way to conserve water is through landscape design. Here one plants relevant and drought-tolerant plants in designs that make the most out of water travels, when it rains, etc. The Permaculture Institute teaches these concepts as well as many more.
Compost, as far as I’m concerned, is the gardener’s best friend. It enriches the soil as it lightens it, and at the same time it increases the soil’s ability to hold moisture. It’s made from decaying plants, so it contains not only the major elements for healthy plant growth, but many of the vital trace elements as well. Which is why I call compost brown gold, and my fancy but simply constructed composter the Cadillac of composters.
There are many reasons to start a garden. Firstly, gardens truly are beneficial for the soul and spirit of a person. To see such a thing as a flower or plant grow and flourish, producing nature’s beauty, or to see a plant morph into an edible plant, becomes a simple joy to the gardener. Secondly, gardens simply are good for the earth. Plants breathe in carbon dioxide [co2] and exhale fresh oxygen [o2], giving us all a gift of fresh and healthy air. Thirdly, you will benefit from what the garden produces, whether it is beauty to look at and smell and touch, or whether it is a harvest that you will be eating when the plants are ready. The benefits of starting a garden are innumerable.
How do you start a garden?
In simplest terms, a garden requires these things to grow: soil, sunlight, air, and water. Plant a seed in soil, where sunlight will reach the plant. Water it daily or every other day, and before you know it your plants will be lively and growing. Look at the seed packets to find out growing information of the particular plant. Plants have various needs such as spacing from other plants, sunlight requirements, and watering requirements. Also, some plants grow better in varying seasons. Some places you could buy seed from are Peaceful Valley, Seed Savers, Seeds of Change, Strictly Medicinal Seeds and Native Seeds / SEARCH.
While planting in any soil is usually what it takes for plants to start growing, plants really thrive in fertile soil or soil with added nutrients. When adding nutrients I prefer to add nutrients that are as natural as possible such as happy frog. Adding compost is also a good idea, as compost provides rich humic or composted organic material that makes plants very happy to grown in and around. When adding amendments to the soil, make sure they are certified organic and OMRI listed.
My favorite type of garden is a wildflower and vegetable garden. It is such a joy to see a wildflowers flowering. One of my favorite plants is echinacea, which is also used as a traditional remedy for a number of things. What is your favorite type of garden?
If you are able to, start growing a garden… and I hope you find the joys that I have found in gardening!