May 17, 2013

Garden Started

We have two wicking beds planted and growing great.

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At this time of year, which is our hottest and driest month, we usually only plant in our two wicking beds. They are extremely efficient with water, as the water is poured into an underground pipe and sucked up by the plants’ roots (for full description and instructions, click here). They are small enough to be able to place shade cloth over everything with ease, and large enough to intensively grow a substantial amount of food.

We have tomatoes, beans, squash, peppers and cucumbers in the tall one, and strawberries and greens in the short one. Some are already starting to fruit.

We also have squash, beans and okra planted beneath our current fruit trees.

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This is all what we do every year, and then plant the rest when the rains start and it gets cooler and wetter. However, something has changed this year – we have a bunch of water left. With the extra tank we built last summer (which never even filled all the way, as we didn’t finish until late in the rain season), we have a surplus. AND we plan to build another 7,000 gallon tank this year, purely for irrigation and fish purposes.

So, all of a sudden, after years of conserving water from a build-bit-by-bit catchment system, we can really do whatever we want. It’s going to be extremely hard to change old habits, as we are naturally very tight with water. But the wonderful thing is, we can now have the WHOLE garden area (which we will be converting mostly to wicking beds anyway) planted YEAR-ROUND, and we can support another 30 trees and their guilds (compatible shrubs and ground cover).

It is super exciting. This will help a bunch in our efforts to produce our own food. We already cover all our own meat, which is by far the easiest part. But now, we may be able to tackle the harder issue of fruits and veg. Awesome. Amazing what water can do!

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