Saturday, May 15, 2010

Preserving Water for Your Kitchen Gardener 2

   For the past 10 years Gwen Steele has been teaching ways to garden using less water. This method is called xeriscaping and consists of seven sensible principles to guide you to garden with the environment you live in rather than fighting the natural Nature. A natural for the efficient kitchen gardener. These are:
  1. Planning
  2. Design
  3. Soil Preparation
  4. Practical Turf Areas
  5. Efficient Irrigation
  6. Appropriate Plant Selection
  7. Mulching

   You will have the added bonus of reducing maintenance time and costs as well as pest and disease problems.
   Irrigating lawns is where the majority of domestic outdoor water is used. Watering less often for a longer period of time promotes deep roots that are more drought resistant. On clay soil it is possible to keep a lawn green with only seven inches of water added in a whole season. This can be done in one inch applications.  Eg: One inch in May, June and September and one inch two weeks apart in both July and August. This illustrates how little water is needed on clay or water retentive soils. The good gardener understands this.
   Growing lawn on sand is a major waste of water. A minimum of six inches of good topsoil is needed before planting a lawn in this situation.
   There are several drought resistant grass seed mixes available such as Enviro-Turf and Enviro-Lawn that look like a regular lawn but are low/water low/grow  mow. Another option is to remove lawn from areas where it is not needed for activities and replace it with drought tolerant ground covers, shrubs, ornamental grasses, etc. A kitchen gardener needs to pay attention to new or established recommendations.

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