How to water Train your Organic Vegetable Garden
March 14 2014
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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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Catch any rain you can in rain barrels and then use that water thru the soaker lines.