Food plants usually need quite a lot of water, they are generally shallow rooted and they need water to be productive. You can still have a water efficient garden using any of the following techniques.
Hand watering works well with a few simple rules, don’t use thick or heavy mulch, check soil moisture to see if you need to water and create a bowl or trench near the base of the plants to direct water to the root zone.
We recommend a dripper/weeping hose below mulch and above ground. This will deliver water where you want it and can easily be moved out of the way if you want to dig the bed over or do some maintenance.
You can also install a drip watering system below surface. This is highly efficient as evaporation is minimal and you are delivering water directly to the root zone. It is a bit difficult to tell how much water your plants are getting and unfortunately in a vegetable garden there is a high risk you will put a spade through the hose.
Some other things to consider:
Good quality soil and compost – plants in good soil need less water to thrive and compost also provides excellent drainage
Hay mulch – mulch reduces evaporation and pesky weeds from stealing your water. Straw mulch also breaks down quickly to feed your plants, but it will need to be topped up quarterly.
The finger test – stick your finger in the soil, if soil sticks to your finger the ground is damp and does not need watering. Don’t over water and check the forecast to see if rain will water for you.
Looking for something more technical? Raised wicking beds are very satisfying and productive. Check out what Costa has to say about Wicking Garden Beds.
Remember to take a look at our edible plants list for some ideas on great vegetable plants for your patch.
What’s been growing in your veggie patch lately?