Two Methods To Help You Have A Successful Garden
Although spring may seem a long way off, you can now begin to plan for your successful garden next year. A drip irrigation system and a layer of mulch over your garden can help you accomplish this. Here is information and tips to help you have a successful garden using these two methods.
Install a Drip Irrigation System
By watering your garden with a sprinkler, you are wasting your time and water. Water is wasted on areas of your garden that don't need to be watered, which allows more weeds to grow, creating more work for yourself. A drip irrigation system delivers water directly to the roots of each plant in your garden.
Drip irrigation uses 20 to 50 percent less water than sprinklers, and can save up to 30,000 gallons of water each year. With drip irrigation, water is not lost from evaporation and wind, and it is not sprayed where it is not needed. Then, once you have a drip irrigation system in place, you can set it on a timer to water at regular times throughout the week, while you are sleeping or away from home.
You can buy a drip irrigation starter kit at most home improvement stores, which will give you all the basic parts and tubing to get started. Then, you can build onto the system to fit your garden. Attach lines of tubing and sprinkler emitters where each of your plants are growing. You can also hire a professional drip irrigation service.
A 1/2-inch wide main irrigation hose distributes water throughout your garden. Then, smaller 1/4-inch tubing connects to the larger hose, delivering water to each plant via an emitter. For closely-spaced plants, you can run soaker tubing along the base of plants. Soaker tubing is made of a porous rubber, allowing the water to seep out of tiny holes along the length of the tubing.
Spread a Layer of Mulch
A layer of mulch over your garden soil is beneficial to your garden in several ways. An even layer of mulch keeps moisture in the soil, preventing the sun from drying it out. This helps your plants stay hydrated and lengthens the time between when you need to use your drip irrigation system. Mulch can also helps insulate the roots of your garden plants during the hotter times of the summer. Then, mulch can prevent sunshine, oxygen, and rain moisture from germinating any weed seeds in your soil. Last, you can use mulch in your garden to create pathways to keep the mud down after a rain storm.
Mulch for your garden does not need to cost you anything. If you have a lawn, you have access to free grass clippings. Each time you cut your lawn, collect the law clippings in the mower bag and spread them over your garden soil. Layer the clippings until you have a layer four inches thick. Make sure to leave a six-inch gap around any woody stems to keep the stem from rotting. Then, in the fall, you can till the grass clippings right into your soil. The grass will break down and compost in the soil over the winter to give needed nutrients back to your soil.
You can also collect and recycle old newspapers for mulch. First, soak the newspapers in a tub of water for several hours, then spread them over your garden soil. Make the layers two to three pages thick and overlap the pages. Leave openings around any already planted plants. Avoid using papers that are shiny, or paper containing colored inks as these can contain toxic chemicals you don't want in your garden. As the newspaper dries, it will create a hard crust that will remain in place. Then, when you are ready to plant any new baby plants in your garden, use a shovel to cut through the newspaper to reveal the moist soil underneath.
Use this information to help next year's garden be successful.