Q: My kids want to plant a vegetable garden this summer. I’d like to get started on this project but gardens use a lot of water. Is there anything I can do to conserve water, hopefully not see an increase on my water bill and still enjoy fresh, healthy veggies from our own garden?
A: You bet! There are many ways to use water efficiently in your garden and significantly reduce your use. First, you'll want to consider what vegetables you want to grow. Peas and corn need more water, while vine plants and tomatoes require less.
Make sure to group water dependent plants together. This way, the majority of your water is directed to the areas that need it most, while keeping the rest dry. Your next step is to come up with strategies to use water more efficiently.
Drip lines and raised bed gardening are two excellent ways to conserve. Drip lines deliver water close to the base of the plant, which allows for deeper penetration and encourages the development of a strong and more extensive root system. They are easy to install and can reduce your gardening water needs up to 50 percent. Growing plants in raised beds will decrease the amount of weeds in the garden, which will draw water away from your vegetables.
Many cities offer rebates to residents and businesses taking part in water-wise landscape methods. Check out the Smart Landscape Rebate Program available in Santa Barbara County. Program requirements may vary slightly depending on your service area, so please click for water wise info for your area.
Soil amended with compost is a great way to manage soil moisture! Growing plants in garden beds containing soil that’s been enriched with compost is another way to increase efficiency. Soil that contains compost is able to hold significantly more water than the typical California soil.
STA Certified Harvest Blend Compost builds healthy soil; adding soil organic matter; improving soil structure, increasing water holding capacity. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.GotCompost.com