1. Spring is a great time to get organized to make things easier for me and better for my vegetable garden through summer. The best way I know to make things easier on myself without letting all my veggies die during a hot spell is to install some irrigation.
It can be a really simple system to start with. I’ve just laid out a 10m (yard) rubber seepage hose, but I will need a lot more length. You can get really fancy with long rows of poly tubing, with drippers every 15cm (6inches) or so if you are inclined, but you can start out simple at first and build on it as you need. That’s the first job.
2. Then I’ll be buying some organic pea straw to go on top of the hose. Using an organic mulch will help retain moisture in the soil for longer as well as breaking down and providing additional organic matter to the soil, feeding future vegetables. Another benefit of mulching is that it helps prevent weeds, and even if they do poke through the mulch, they’ll be easy to remove.
You’ll also save quite a lot of water by adding mulch to your vegetable garden.
There are even more benefits to using organic muclches. In my case the seepage hose has holes on both sides; so without the mulch I have water spraying in the air, mostly evaporating. The mulch prevents the water spraying, so it all seeps into the soil.
Another great benefit is that it prevents soil from splashing up on to the food plants that produce close to the ground. For example; strawberries, lettuce , zucchinis etc.
I love using organic mulches in my garden. You don’t have to use pea straw; it’s just my personal favorite. But if you’re growing an organic garden, you need to make sure that whatever mulch you decide on has been grown organically. Yes it will cost more, but you and your family are worth it. After all the health of your family is probably why you chose to grow an organic food garden in the first place.
3. Once you’ve got your irrigation and mulching done, I’d highly recommend that you add an automatic timer to you water tap. That way you can just set and forget. Just decide how long you want to water your veggies and you’re free to do whatever else you want as you’ve just saved yourself a good deal of time.
Not only that, if you’re a little forgetful (like me) you won’t suddenly realize four hours later when you see a stream running down the path, that you forgot to turn off the water.
There are some plants in the organic garden that you just can’t afford to withhold watering if you want to enjoy eating them. The main two that spring to mind are lettuce and apple cucumbers. Without regular watering both of these vegetables will quickly go bitter and you won’t know it until you pick them and they are not pleasant in the mouth. The only way to avoid this is to make sure they are never water stressed. If you want them to be delicious it helps to grow both of these plants vigorously.
So get your 3 simple steps done and give these plants particular attention during hot spells. Fortunately they like to grow together as they like similar conditions – something to be aware of in the planning stage.