Photo by J&J Acres
With the summer heat in full force in our hemisphere, many of us are also turning up the water spigot. After all, plants need water, and the hot sun makes it evaporate! So the logic is to water, and water often.
That may help your plants make it through the heat, but it does not help your water bill. Maybe you saved a little time by buying a programmable watering timer, but many others also have to remember to turn the water on… and back off. Admit it; You have flooded your garden because you forgot the sprinkler was on.
So what are you going to do? Just suck up the extra money you have to so you can get those cucumbers? Set an egg timer so you do not forget the sprinkler is on? Give it up and just shop at the farmers market?!? There is a better solution.
Whether you call it the Back to Eden Method or just plain Mulching – the idea here is simple: Slow the evaporation, keep the water in the ground. Now this is something you will want to do in the garden you maintain by hand – not the huge corn field you have to plow.
That said, all you need to do is spread some wood chips on top of the soil, just an inch or so, shielding the soil from the sun. By doing this, more water is retained in the soil for the plant and less water is wasted. Here’s the kicker – that means you can water a lot less… or not at all. Yes, I just said you can have a garden and not have to water it. Of course that all depends on how much rain you get in your area – it does not apply to everyone. But for those who will still need to water, they will be able to water less.
We have been trying the Back to Eden Method and have only watered at the time of planting. After that, it has just been the rain. But then again, we have already had 40 inches of rain this year. Best that you will assume you will still need to water, but that you will get to water a lot less.
One more benefit worth mentioning about mulching. It helps repair the soil. It provides a more natural environment for beneficial bugs than just having bare ground. The soil will be airy and easier to plant in as well. If you don’t believe it, comes check out some of our videos about it on our Back to Eden playlist on YouTube.
So, get to work and use this as a way to save money, save time and save water. Add some mulch to your garden (just spread it around the plants you already have) and give it a good soak to start it off right. Check back in a few days and see how the soil is doing. Just push aside a little of the mulch and see how far down you have to go to find damp soil. Over time, it will do even better!
You can try to find mulch for free from tree service companies. You can also buy it or make your own!
Jared has a small family farm in Mississippi, USA, where he lives and learns with his wife, Jennifer, and their 5 children. They practice several homesteading techniques and methods and share their experiences with others so that not everybody has to start from scratch. You can find them at J&J Acres where they post updates nearly every day.
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Heather’s homesteading journey started in 2006, with baby steps: first, she got a few raised beds, some chickens, and rabbits. Over the years, she amassed a wealth of homesteading knowledge, knowledge that you can find in the articles of this blog.