Super convenient, super efficient
Who wants to spend all summer standing on the end of a hose? Free yourself with low-tech, low-cost irrigation set-ups that see your garden through the dry times.
The trick to these watering hacks is delivering water slowly, so it sinks deeply into the soil instead of evaporating, crusting or running off. These systems can be used with a hose or watering can, or attached to a tap timer for full automation, or joined to a reservoir (such as a barrel, filled either with rainwater or tap water) that slowly empties over several days.
Spraying water around the leaves and topsoil encourages fungal diseases and creates shallow-rooted, needy plants. A deep weekly water, instead, encourages deep-rooted, resliient plants - better for your plants, your time and your water bill. It's also a more efficient use of water, putting less stress on infrastructure and on our local rivers and streams.
Buried clay pots/ollas
Buried clay pots slowly seep water through their porous walls. Plants suck up water as they need it. Best installed at time of planting, these are great for tomatoes, pupkins, cucumbers or zucchini. Fill them as needed by hose/watering can, or connect to a reservoir. An added bonus is fewer surface weeds!
1. Use an unglazed, unpainted terracotta pot - the bigger the better as it will hold more water. A few cracks or chips are ok.
2. Block the hole at the bottom of the pot with a cork, melted wax or a glued on pebble. Water seeps out through the pot walls, not the hole.
3. Loosen soil around the pot so water will seep further.
4. Plant your plants within 8cm of the pot
5. Fill with a hose or watering can, and cover with a lid or plate to reduce evaporation. You will find your plants can go several days or even a week between drinks, depending on the pot size and the weather.