From Dean Dowd on September 26, 2008 in Landscaping
Oh, the bright colors and flavor-rich fullness of homegrown, organic fruits and vegetables! Having your own garden overflowing with plenty is truly a luxury, as well as an enjoyable pastime. Unfortunately, to achieve that bountiful harvest comes hours of hard work, patience, and lots of water.
In addition to providing healthy food for your family absent of harmful pesticides and commercial fertilizers, you want a garden to be cost-effective and worth the effort. After all, if costs are high, you have to weigh whether you are actually saving money growing it yourself over purchasing organic produce from local markets.
There are many ways to cut water costs, and to make your garden your pride and joy as well as a productive and cost-effective venture.
- Install drip irrigation. Although not all plants thrive with drip irrigation systems, most love it. This is a great way to conserve water and allows you to give your thirsty plants a long, slow drink instead of a big gush all at once.
- Utilize a rain barrel system. These are quite simple and when strategically placed, can work quite well. The system works by placing a barrel under a roof or in another area that is prone to rain run-off. Choose a clean location, not polluted by chemically treated materials, etc. Many of these barrels come with a filtration system to purify the water. Although it is possible to store this water for some time, it is probably better to rely on this system more as a supplement than as the sole irrigation for your garden (unless you live in a climate prone to a lot of rain consistently throughout the year).
- Mulch your plants. This not only helps develop a nutrient-rich soil, but it also protects the roots from drying out too quickly.
- Plant in a well-organized fashion. Plan your plants in an order that allows you to water the smallest amount of space as possible. Place plants as close as they allow to still thrive, and where they can benefit from water run-off from each other.
- Wisely plan your watering schedule. Avoid the hottest periods of the day. Watering in the morning is the best time as it helps to avoid the development of molds and blights on the plants that can occur from nighttime watering.
- Install a timer system. This will not only make your life easier, but it will ensure that area gets just the right amount of water in the shortest time possible. Be sure to choose a timer that has a rain sensor to shut the system off in the event showers during your absence.
- Plant as many native varieties as possible. More native species will naturally do better with the weather conditions of where you live, allowing you to supplement with less water.
Harvesting and preserving produce that you grew from your own hard work is really quite rewarding; plus, the diligent patience required to nurture each plant is actually very therapeutic. Request free estimates from prescreened landscaping contractors to help you install your garden area.