Water conservation is a big issue these days. Climate change and increased domestic and industrial demand are just two factors that are stressing worldwide water supplies.
For years we’ve been hearing about drought along the west coast states of the US, but, having just returned from a trip through the centre and coastal areas of Oregon and California, I can say that seeing it first-hand made a real impact. Many rivers in these two states have very low water levels. Some are completely dry, and this is in the month of April, when rivers should be full and flowing. The land, too, is already very dry. Speaking to people along the route, I saw that they are very worried about the upcoming summer months and their dwindling water supply.
You might think, especially after such a cold, wet spring in Abbotsford, does this really apply to us? Do we really need to think about conserving water? While we have periods of excessive rainfall in Abbotsford, we can all remember the summer heat dome and the forest fires of last summer. It is important that we don’t wait until another hot, dry summer to worry about water availability and how to use it wisely.
In Highland Community Garden we are trying to encourage everyone to use less water. We can all do our part by using water carefully in a number of ways around the garden.
Using water from the water barrels is the best option whenever possible. The water from the hoses is kindly provided, currently without cost, by Highland Community Church. In the spirit of consideration, conservation and continued rain, we will wait until the first week in May to turn on the water supply.
There are lots of other ways to use less water and still have a successful garden. Brian Minter, of Minter Country Garden, has made this his topic in his weekly Vancouver Sun Article. He says that you can use less water and still have a great vegetable garden by starting with your soil. By adding lots of organic matter like composted manures and sea soil, and by using mulch, you will find that the roots of your plants will go deeper and require less water. This is also true for containers. Large, wide containers hold water better and allow roots to go deeper. Try not to add fillers like Styrofoam into your soil in your containers, which don’t break down and are bad for the ecosystem.
Water thoroughly and deeply, but less frequently. When you water, aim at the roots of the plant so water isn’t lost to evaporation. Check the soil to make sure the moisture is getting down to the roots.
These are just a few tips for the start of another great gardening season. Hopefully it will warm up soon!