How to water a garden

There are plenty of small-scale steps you can take to make efficient use of garden water. Here are some no-cost tricks you can try:

  1. Don’t stake plants. Let your tomatoes, beans and other climbers sprawl (on clean, dry mulch), or else grow bush varieties. By doing that you’ll expose less leaf area to the drying effects of sun and wind.
  2. Punch small holes in the bottoms of large cans or plastic milk jugs, set the containers next to thirsty plants, and then fill them with water.
  3. Grow some vegetables in partly shaded areas. Lettuce, parsley, peas, cabbages, and broccoli – among others – can do quite well on just five hours of direct sunlight a day. Fine netting shades crops well.
  4. Hill up sides of raised beds to create basins that will trap and hold as much rainwater as possible.

The soil should be our first concern in all aspects of farming and gardening, because nurturing the diverse life it sustains is the strongest we can take to growing healthier plants. While expensive irrigation systems or conservation strategies will help you save water, the best way to conserve moisture is to make soil improvement your top priority. A humus-rich soil – created by using lots of compost and cover crops – will hold water it gets while still allowing for aeration.

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