How to Water Train Your Organic Vegetable Garden


 How to water Train your Organic Vegetable Garden

March 14  2014

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Any questions? Email me andy@invisiblegardener.com

 Today is how to water train your vegetable garden to produce with the minimum  amount of water. Again we dont realize how much water we are using and that we can easily reduce our garden water usage by 75% and still have a vegetable garden!

Did you know that you can grow 4 to 7 times more vegetables and use 75% less water if you use a raised bed instead of in the same space in the ground?

  1. Beds should be at least 18 inches high and should go down an additional 18 inches into the ground (10 by 4 is good). Yes, you will need to have the wood or what ever material you use to make the bed ( I have made them out of rocks, wine bottles, logs, bricks, untreated wood), go down into the ground as sides along with a bottom. You do not use wood at the bottom but use instead a layer of gopher wire covered with a layer of small rocks for drainage. My favorite and what works best, is to make the bed 24 inches up and 36 inches down for a total of 60 inches of soil. Studies have shown that  lettuce will have roots that will go al the way to the bottom ( and still be looking for more room) of this 60 inches bed. Roots go down looking for water and nutrients and the deeper the root system The higher the Brix levels and the less the pest and diseases. Also deep roots require less watering.
  2. Make a mixture of organic potting soil along with compost and rock dust as well as add micro-biologicals. Now a days you can buy organic potting soil with microbs but you should always add live microbs which you only get from compost made with animal manure  ( note to FDA- no, compost and manure are not the same, and compost if properly made will have no manure left in it to cause any harm). I would add Earthworm castings that was not heated which should have earthworm eggs. Compost if sold in a plastic bad is not alive so you will still need to find a good live source of compost. Compost sold in bulk is not really a complete compost since they are not made using animal manure but rather in most cases sewer sludge (oops I meant Bio Solids) which is not the same thing. They do not even add rock dust! Mulch on top.
  3. You should bury a soaker line 1/2 way up the bed and then fill in the rest to the top. With the soaker line buried, you will need to control the watering since you do not wish to flood it and make it a muddy mess. Also remember that when you have plants growing it in, that they will suck up he water so keep the water on the dry side and only water more when needed. When you first plant, they will need a little bit of watering from the top to get established and then the water should come from the soaker lines. I would start with 10 min watering, keeping an eye of water on top and water coming out the sides. You should water enough to soak the bed and then allow the bed to slowly dry out over the next week. You should be able to water twice a week this way.
  4. Catch any rain you can in rain barrels and then  use that water thru  the soaker lines.

 

 You can also listen to the radio show version for only 99 cents (free to members)

 

Andy Lopez

Invisible Gardener

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How to Water Train your Trees


 

only nature waters this tree…

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How to Water Train your Trees

Any questions? Email me andy@invisiblegardener.com

 Trees naturally take care of themselves. They have deep root system that actively look for sources of water and minerals. Look at the trees in nature and you will see how they manage to survive months and sometimes even years without any apparent source of water. Trees have deep roots that go down 4 times as deep as the tree is tall!

After a good rain, your trees will not need to get any water from you for at least two weeks and in many cases a whole month can go by before you should turn on their drip. 

Your trees will need 3 drip heads each, at two gallon per hour. They should be placed three or four feet away from the trunk, best is mid way out to the drip line, place evenly space around the tree. Tree vents, clay drain pipes or as we call them here in Malibu, Wine Bottle Holders, areburied down 1 or two feet. They can get a green grate cover which fits into the tree vents which you then attach the drip head to.

You should set your drips to water your trees for 1/2 hour at least up to 1 hr drip twice a month at most during hot times, once a month rest of the time, less during rain. The amount of time depends on your soil and its ability to hold water. This is the training part since you actually are also training your soil to hold more water. Your soils ability to hold water depends on how alive it is. This is to say your soil has living micro-organisms and if they are not present, your soil will not be functioning  and it will not have the proper organic matter and bacteria that both needed for trees to then be able to hold  more water. Your trees root system (and the whole tree itself)  also hold a great deal of water in storage for use later as needed. So by watering them only as they need it, you are encouraging the trees to develop deep root systems needing very little water from you.

Feeding your trees organically will insure they they are healthy and disease and pest free. Thus, an important part of feeding your trees and indeed your entire property is to provide rock dust at least 2 times per year, winter spring summer and fall better. The best way to health trees is to apply rock dust, compost ad a nice acid mulch several times per year. Never place anything directly up giants the bark, try at least  2 feet out and about 10 feet out past the drip line. I also suggest vertical composting. Placing tree vents about 10 feet out from the tree about three feet down. In here is where you place your compost, rock dust and organic fertilizer mix along with endo and ecto bacteria. Place the drip head on top and water deeply once a month. Replace the mixture once a year.

Remember trees with high Brix readings will not get attacked by pests and  will not be getting diseases.

 

 

Andy Lopez

Invisible Gardener

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Brix vs Pest


Brix  vs Pest

The Higher the Brix, The Lower the Pest and Disease

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How to water train your fruit trees


Organic Grapefruit

Organic Fruit need less water

 

Feb 21  2014

Don’t Panic it’s Organic!©

How to water train your Fruit Trees.

Any questions? Email me andy@invisiblegardener.com

People do not realize this but they are usually over watering  their fruit trees especially citrus. So here is what you will need to do in order to get the most out of your healthy fruit trees with a minimal amount of water.

Take a look at your current water system. Are you using a blubber or a drip? If blubber convert over to a drip. Use three 2 gallon per hour drip heads for each tree. A blubber will lose 75% of its water into the air while not providing deep watering.

Deep watering is the key. A fruit tree only requires deep watering maybe once a week with every other week being your goal. You can train your fruit trees to grow just fine with a good deep watering only twice a month!

The training part is to make your fruit tree develop deep roots instead of the shallow roots it gets from frequent watering.

Here is how to tell how much you should water. Turn on the water and time how much water the drips heads provide, keeping an eye on the time. So if it is running say 5 minutes and the water has already filled the well that is bad and it means you have some work to do to get the soil to hold 20 minutes of water. So basically you want the water to go straight down as far as possible. To help the water go down you can place what I call Tree vents underneath each drip. The tree vents I use are clay drain pipes (wine holders to everyone else) which is about 4 inches wide and 1 foot long. This you bury into the ground so that the top is even with the soil or a littler bit higher. Place the drip head so the the water drips down to the bottom of the tree vent. You can use 4 inch pvc but I have found that the clay pipes allows the water to seep sideways thru the clay which further helps to spread the water and keep it below ground. Place the tree vents with the drip about 3 feet  out from the fruit tree (this depends on the age of the fruit tree, if young do not use the tree vents until it gets a few years old then place the tree vents allowing for growth of tree or plan on moving them out). Three Tree vents along with the drip heads will provide enough deep watering to allow a fruit tree to go one or every two weeks watering.

A good amount to water your fruit trees is around 20 minutes of three 2 drip heads per tree twice a month during summer and once a month winter. This also will prevent hard pan.

You also need to make sure you apply rock dust, compost and mulch to form a nice layer about 2 inches . Place this outside the tree well to about 6 feet. Inside the tree well only add enough to provide them with the proper nutrition they will need. Also what goes inside the tree well is a good organic fertilizer. I usually add 1 lb of each per season and  a cup of the organic fertilizer. Do Organic Foliar sprays as needed.

A healthy fruit tree with deep roots requires less water then a weak fruit tree with shallow roots. Chemical fertilizers produce weak fruit trees esp if they are watered too much.

 

Andy Lopez

Invisible Gardener

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Don’t Panic It’s Organic! – How to Water Train your Roses:

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Don’t Panic It’s Organic! – How to water train your Roses:. radio show version is linked above Feb 8th 2014 Whats in your Garden? How to Water Train your Roses Any questions? Email me andy@invisiblegardener.com Here are some simple ways … Continue reading

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Hard Pan and How to remove


Whats in your Garden?

Hard Pan?

Hi,

CIMG1061

I thought this information would be important to you and so here it is. Any Questions you can email me and I will answer in next blog

In Case you haven’t notice, 2013 in California was the driest year on record with last year being really low also. What does this mean to us herein Malibu? Well, unless we get a good soaking soon, the subsoil will start to dry and when all the moisture is gone it will become hard as a rock! What this means is no nutrients (no air, no bacteria) will reach the tree’s root system which will die off and then the tree dies also. This effects smaller trees that are not as well established with deep roots that are reaching under ground water sources that are deep. This really effect Citrus and most fruit trees as they do not have these deep roots for many reasons one of which is the way it is being watered. Watering for a few minutes or even 15 min every few days, the tree will never get a deep root system and once hard pan hits it is gone.

Here is what you can do to protect not just the trees but your whole property.

Place Tree Vents (Clay Drain pipes called Wine Bottle holders by the folks at Bourget Bros In Santa Monica), these are 4 inches wide and 12 inches deep. You also should get plastic green cover crate that covers it. You bury these out a few feet from the tree with 4 placed all the way around. Run a drip line and place 2 gallon per hour drip head so that it drips into the tree vent. Use the cover to attach the drip head.

In the tree vent you should place the follow mixture

Compost

Rock Dust

Small amount of organic fertilizers with bacteria, micros etc.

The drip should be on for 1 or 2 hours per week depending on condition of soil, etc.

In some case, you can get away with once every other week.

How can you tell if you think you have hard pan?

Get one of the clay drain pipes, bury it where you think you have hard pan, even with top of soil. Pour water into the vent and watch for the water to drain down. It should drain while you are looking at it. If it does not drain right away and if you come back in an hour and it still has not drained then you have hard pan.

If this is the case you should install the pipes in out of the way places with the drip.

You can do one of two things:

You can individually place said mixture above into each pipe and make sure the drip is working. Turn it on and wait to see how long it takes for the drip to fill the vent and then make sure the timer runs that long. You should be able over time to inquire the amount as it starts to drain. The compost will help to break up the hard pan along with rock dust  ( your local source of this is Anwalt Lumber..see gypsum). Another choice is to set up a fertigation unit which will feed thru the lines. The use Nitron-A35 which is excellent for this..see nitron.com).

Please email me your garden questions and I will  answer in my next column. I am also open to suggestions on topics important to you in Malibu.

Happy New Year

Dont Panic Its Organic!

Andy Lopez

Invisible Gardener

andy@invisiblegardener.com

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Frankenapple: Bad News No Matter How You Slice It


Frankenapple: Bad News No Matter How You Slice It.     and the hits just keep on coming…..,

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