Monday, March 31, 2008

Some thoughts on watering

I know, I know, how difficult can watering a garden be?

The thing is I currently have three criteria I am trying to meet while setting this up. First, because this is my lazy square foot garden I want a system that requires very little work on my part once it is set up. Second, I want to be as conservative in my water usage as I can. Third, it needs to be cheap.

One of the most conservative methods I have run across uses pottery vases called Ollas which are buried, filled with water and slowly feed the plants as water seeps through the pores of the vase. Combine that with rainwater harvesting and you have a good lazy way to water while conserving water at the same time.

Unfortunately, the Ollas are too large to work in a square foot garden. That and I am not set up for rainwater harvesting. The expense of setting up for both is beyond my budget at this time.

Another method that somewhat meets the lazy criteria is similar to hydroponics. As long as you keep the water reservoir full the roots of the plant suck up as much as they need. As the water level lowers the roots grow keeping in contact with the water.

Here is a video showing how you can build a self watering system for individual plants. Similar to hydroponics except instead of the roots growing to meet the water they use twine to suck the water up to the plant from below. This is also a great way to recycle old water and soda bottles.

I am working out the details to combine these methods to allow me to provide just enough water for the plants to thrive but to do so even if I'm out of town on a camping trip this summer.

I will post the details when we return from our trip in mid April. I still need to look at supplies and what I have laying around to see exactly how I will set this up. As I put it together I will take pictures to document my progress.

Until then check out the video and the link to the Ollas.

Photography by Patrick B├╝rgler

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