Want to make your vegetable garden more waterwise? Here are two suggestions:
- Switch to drip irrigation
Most vegetables dislike having wet leaves. In fact, wet leaves often become mildewed leaves. Drip irrigation is far more efficient than overhead spray and it keeps leaves dry and mildew free.
- Mulch with a three-inch thick layer of home-made compost. If you don’t have enough compost, use seedless straw.
Wood based mulches, stone and gravel mulches are fine for ornamental plants, but in the vegetable garden, home made compost and seedless straw are better choices. Both insulate the soil from water loss and both are light enough for seeds to push through.
If you opt for straw, be sure you don‘t get hay or alfalfa or anything that has lots of seeds. Why? Years ago, I mulched with straw and grew a lovely bed of wheat…. instead of tomatoes!
If you can get old straw, that’s even better. As straw ages, the fibers start breaking down and residual seeds begin to rot. That’s a good thing.
And, old straw can’t be sold for animal bedding, so feed stores (the best places to get straw) often regard them as waste. In fact, they may even give you the straw for free!
If you don’t have room to store an entire bale of straw, ask for a “flake.” A flakes is simply a section of a bale.