Since I first started TendingMyGarden.com in 2010, one of the things that I’ve found to be strong within gardeners is the urge to water.
The urge is so strong that unless someone literally has no way of watering (other than maybe hauling an occasional watering can to a plant – like my situation) they never really know what the plants will or can do.
In this age of marketing, we’ve been programmed to think we have to water in order to garden.
And it’s easy to make wrong assumptions based on what you see taking place, but not really knowing all the variables involved.
Here’s an example of what I mean:
A friend who lives about a mile from me visited yesterday. We walked through the garden and talked about how the almanac called for more dry weather in this area.
A few days ago, even though she uses mulch, my friend felt it necessary to water her onions and some other vegetables in the garden. They really perked up and seemed to “grow” a bit over night. Of course she attributed that to the watering.
As we continued our conversation, it turns out that the same time her onions perked up overnight, was exactly the same time mine perked up and also seemed to grow some. Except mine were not watered. (I’ve not watered onions EVER in the almost 40 years I’ve been growing them.)
Nothing Wrong with Watering especially if –
- you have good water,
- the means to water at ground level and water deeply,
- and water only when needed.
The “when needed” part is probably where most gardeners miss the mark.
If you’re gardening with nature and using the 3 keys (deep soil preparation, adding organic matter/materials, covering the soil) in almost all cases it will be very seldom, if ever, that you need to water.
I’m living proof that’s true. But there’s plenty of documented proof as well.
Here are a few facts that I covered in a previous post:
- Working with nature (using the 3 keys) will allow you to garden with 67% to 88% LESS water.
- Only 20 inches of rain per year can produce the “best yields in the world” when working with nature.
- Soil that has been deeply prepared will have the capacity to hold 25% of its volume in water. For example: 24 inches of deeply prepared soil can hold 6 inches of water.
- Covering your soil (shading your soil) reduces evaporation by 13 to 63%.
- Once your soil is improved to have the right nutrients, plants transpire (give off) 10 to 75% LESS water.
- Having only 2% organic matter will reduce the water needs of plants by 75%!
For example: if the soil has 1/2% organic matter a plant may use 200 gallons of water. At 1% organic matter it would need 150 gallons of water. But at 2% organic matter the plant would need about 50 gallons, which is 75% less than the 200 gallons.
If we’re working in harmony with nature, the water needed to grow a pound of food is reduced to about 3% of what is normally required (in conventional gardening/farming). That being the case, the vast majority would never really need to water.
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