Water Gathering Techniques
Now, when you start a veggie garden, ensure that you have access to water that is essentially free of charge. This will save you money and will not pull from valuable municipal water resources, especially when you live in semi-arid and arid areas (such as South Africa).
|In a perfect world, it should rain every second day!|
We have invested in a rainwater tank for the veggie garden that collects the rain that gathers on the roof of our house. Now I have read lost of great and horror stories on rain water collection – as long as the roof you choose is fairly clean (from leaves and twigs) and does not house birds (diseases are carried in bird feaces) the water is fine for vegetable watering. Our roof is kept clean by the wind and does not gather any other debris. Also the birds do not have suitable nesting sites on the roof – too hot up there!
|Rain water tank and two 120L drums with additional rain water|
Grey water refers to water from the washing machine, shower, rinse water ect. Black water, is what you do not want to add to your garden, refers to water from the toilet, dish washing machine, shower water containing hair dyes and any other water with food oils or industrial chemicals (paints, thinners…).
We also gather ‘grey’ rinse water such as the water from washing the vegetables from the garden, as the soil clogs the drain J. The cold water that runs through the pipes before the warm water starts to flow. Fish tank water (or in my case, snail tank water) – contains lots of good stuff for the plants. Water you cooked any plant-based food in, veggies or pasta. The water that has become unsuitable-for-pet-consumption from the pet’s bowl. Water from the flower vase, after the flowers have died. It is quite amazing the amount of water you can actually reuse.
Maximising water usage
The drip systems available here in SA is not large enough for my garden, so I am stuck on old fashioned watering can methods. Although this can be tiresome, it is a good workout and you get to inspect the plants while you water them.
For my large plants and pot plants, I have invested in some ‘waterers’. These are ceramic based water holders and plant roots can pull upon the water they hold when needed, which is facilitated by the porous nature of the ceramic. They come in a large amount of shapes and sizes. You do get huge ones that can be sunk into the garden known as ‘ollas’. There are ceramic spikes available that you attach to plastic coke bottles (so more water can be stored in the waterer), wick systems and self-watering containers. These are also useful for holiday watering J.
|Small, well used, two day waterer|
|Larger, week waterer|
Mulching is another way to maximise water usage, although I do not mulch. I have found that the mulch has the ability to hide very large weeds, protects some pests, feeds termites (wood/bark based mulch) and I personally feels that it makes the garden look like a dump. I only use mulch under the strawberries so that their fruits do not rot. Many gardeners prefer mulching, so it was worth mentioning, although it is not for me J.
-19 Dec 2011-
-19 Dec 2011-