Water Retentive Soil and other Water Saving Tips

Droughts can be devastating to a garden. When trying to conserve water you might have to get a little creative so your plants can survive the low water conditions. With water retentive soil and these other water tips, you can keep the water closer to the root system of your plants. It helps to amend your garden with rich compost material. Learn more gardening tips and tricks in 101 Organic Gardening Hacks.

plants
Water retentive plants

Homemade  Water-Retentive Soil Mix

1 part organic potting soil  with worm castings

1 part organic rotted  composted manure

1 part plain compost

 

Water Saving Tips

1.For container gardens, do not use the soil mixes that contain artificial water gels and chemical ingredients. Use a natural water-retentive soil mix instead (above).

2. Succulents and cactus are strongly drought tolerant but require excellent drainage and a soil made specifically for succulents or cactus.

3. Cover your garden with 1 to 3 inches of mulch.  Watering deeply once per week is much more effective than frequent shallow watering. Watering during the height of the day will result in much of the water being lost to evaporation; instead, water with drip systems after 8 p.m. or before 8 a.m. Instead of drip watering daily, experiment with watering for a longer time every four days to conserve water.

4. Include succulents, cacti, and drought-tolerant groundcovers in container plantings and ground plantings. They are much better choices than water-sucking plants like grass and delicate annuals. Plant appropriately—sun plants in sun areas and  shade plants in shade areas.

5. Plant vegetables and herbs with smaller leaves; generally speaking, small-leaved plants lose less moisture due to transpiration.

6. Vegetable gardening is possible in drought if you use a combination of retentive soil, mulch, organic fertilizers, and vegetables or herbs that require less water.

7. Planting vegetables closer together helps conserve water; each plant can shade and protect the other plants, and they share water this way.

8. Vegetables and herbs that tolerate drought include beans and peas bred for the Southwest such as tepary beans, black-eyed peas, pole beans, and lima beans. Other possible vegetables include broccoli, chard, Chinese cabbage, eggplant, lavender, Malabar spinach, okra, oregano, peppers, rosemary, sage, thyme, and winter savory.

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Organic gardening hacks coverCreate simple solutions for growing organic gardens!

The word “hack” has a multitude of meanings these days, but if you ask garden author Shawna Coronado what a hack is, she might just wave her hand toward her own back yard. She could be pointing at the garden bench she created from leftover wood posts and a few cinder blocks, or the rows of wine bottles buried soldier-style along a winding pathway, or even the garden soil itself, which is blended by hand from an organic soil recipe she devised. A hack is really just a great idea that’s come to life.

In 101 Organic Garden Hacks you’ll find the top tips, tricks, and solutions Shawna has dreamed up in her career as one of America’s most creative gardeners. Some are practical timesavers; others offer clever ways to “upcycle” everyday items in your garden. One characteristic every hack shares is that they are completely organic and unfailingly environmentally friendly. Divided into a dozen different categories for easy reference, each hack is accompanied by a clear photo that shows you exactly how to complete it. If you are looking for resourceful ways to improve your garden and promote green living values right at home, you’ll love paging through this fascinating, eye-catching book.