Maintaining your veggie patch can be quite a challenge during the hot summer season, especially in areas experiencing water stress. Here are some tips you can easily apply to your own veggie garden to conserve water and keep your crops looking healthy and lush!
Mulching is a must in the vegetable garden. Mulch helps to regulate soil temperature, increases soil moisture retention, keeps water-thirsty weeds down, and adds organic matter to the soil while breaking down. It also decreases the amount of water runoff and increases the amount of water that penetrates deep into the soil.
Improve the water-retention capacity of your soil by enriching it with organic compost.
Adjust the watering regime. Give less water as soon as the vegetables have established, increase watering again when the plants start to form flowers and fruits and decrease again after successful fruit formation.
Consider drip irrigation for areas where vegetables with similar watering needs grow together.
Opt for watering by hand rather than sprinklers, as a lot of water is wasted by water runoff.
Water the garden early morning or late afternoon, between 7 pm and 6 am.
Raised beds retain water more efficiently than normal beds. So you may have to get experimenting!
Invest in a grey-water system, fitted with filters, that will produce water of a good quality for your vegetables.
Cover your vegetables with a 30% to 60% shade cloth to relieve crops from heat stress, and allows for an extended productive period. The shade cloth will decrease the rate of evaporation, and thereby increase moisture retained in the soil. Crops that will benefit include aubergine, peppers, squash, tomatoes and spinach.
Opt for vegetables with short days to maturity, as they are often quite hardy and drought resistant.
Only plant what you need. Limiting your harvest saves water and compost, and nothing gets wasted.
Did you know?
Green beans are one of the most drought-tolerant summer vegetables. Vegetables with large root systems, like aubergine and tomatoes, also cope better under heat-stress because their roots can grow deeper into the soil to find water.