Fresh From the Forge
Allison Carmody '17, Sustainability Intern for Food and Dining
The El Niño rains have turned our winter gardens into lush landscapes, all without the use of irrigation! The steady rains from November to January kept the plants happy and the soil moist, and now it is time to capitalize on the extra rains to keep the garden going through summertime.
Many cities in the Bay Area are offering rebates on rain barrels. Rain barrels are placed adjacent to a home and connected to the downspout, which allows the barrel to capture all the rain runoff from the roof. Many basic barrels have a spigot at the bottom that allows for easy access to the collected water. A 55 gallon drum can keep a garden happy for over two weeks!
At the Forge, we use a drip irrigation system to get water to our plants in the most efficient way possible. Traditional spray irrigation systems and hand watering lose a substantial amount of water to evaporation. Drip irrigation runs alongside plants, with emitters placed close to the stem; using a timed system, water is slowly delivered to each plant, preventing evaporation and allowing for deep watering. With a water savings of 20-50%, drip irrigation is a smart way to save water and money during the on-going California drought.
Another simple step to take is mulching. Mulching simultaneously traps moisture in the soil, decreasing evaporation, and prevents pesky weeds from popping up and stealing water from the more desirable plants. Check out this article for tips on the best way to mulch your garden.