Saturday, April 18, 2015

Garden Folly: The Drought Version

Due to the drought, the CSD has put all of us Los Ososians on a water budget. So, here’s the experiment and the challenge:  Grow some green beans on a budget of 50 gallons of water per day per person per household, that includes indoor and outdoor water use.  Can it be done?  I have no idea.  But I will try. That’s the folly of it.


To prepare, there’s the water-thrifty dishpans at the ready.


And the rinse-water slop bucket standing by. (You would be amazed how quickly that rinse water adds up, no matter how quickly you turn the faucet off in between rinses.)


And, one of the biggest water wasters of all – a bathroom sink far away from the hot water heater.  At least a gallon down the drain before the water’s warm enough to splash on your face.


Last and by by no means least, the good old shower water capture buckets. (Well over a gallon there.)
Plus, of course, big garbage cans under the gutters to capture whatever bit of rain happens to arrive.

And now for the folly, sparked by a growing tip from Sunset Magazine: bury gallon plastic pots in the earth, fill with pebbles or wood chips.  Plant your green beans  (or squash or tomatoes) next to the buried pot.  Pour your saved household water into the pot.  The water will leak out of the bottom, a good 8-9” down in the soil, thereby avoiding topsoil evaporation.  It also creates  a deeper water source and thereby forces the green beans roots to go deeper for their moisture. 


At least that’s the theory.  And I’m going to see if it’ll work.  Last year, I inadvertently discovered that I could  pretty effectively “dry land” farm tomatoes by keeping them starved for water.  Instead of too many leaves from too much water, I ended up with bedraggled leaves and tons of very, very sweet little cherry tomatoes. We’ll see if that happy accident will work as well this year. I hope so since Zuri had so much fun last year waiting for her green beans.
Waiting for the Beans, 9-14-14  bean pole, zuri, 003

 Stay tuned. And, if you have any bright ideas you're using in your house to meet our community-wide 50-gallon challenge, do share your ideas here.


Sewertoons AKA Lynette Tornatzky said...

Thanks for posting! I have no ideas to share right now, but am really happy to learn about the Sunset Magazine tip with the buried pot of stones!

sewermouth said...

Crazy idea I know, but Al Barrow had perfected his setup four or more years ago for a very verdant productive garden.

Jill'sjots said...

Instead of running water until it's hot enough for a sink bath, or washing the dishes, I boil a kettle of water. Takes me back to Post WW11 Europe where we conserved power, water and wasted very little.

mom said...

water is life.

love this article.

i have had a life-long fear of having no water.

Churadogs said...

I remember Al's garden. Since starting this experiment, it's still amazing how much water gets wasted even when you're trying to be careful. Let's hope enough of it gets saved so I can manage a few green beans. Gonna be an interesting challenge.