Red Bucket Farm is an urban farm on a quarter acre property in an average residential neighborhood. We are located in Wisconsin, USDA Zone 5. We focus on chickens, bees, orchard fruit, and raised garden beds for fruits and veggies. We hope to reduce our footprint on the planet by growing some of our food, reducing our use of fossil fuels, and gardening with sustainable practices. Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Conserving Water

Parts of northern Wisconsin received so much rain last week that it has literally flooded, and we're sorry for their losses. But here in Dane County, we've received less than a half-inch of rain in the entire month of June. The ground is as hard as rock, and a recent attempt to dig a hole (for a hops structure) required the use of a pick ax. It's bad....so let's talk about proper watering techniques.

First of all, put away all those crazy sprinklers that throw water into the air, often resulting in water running down the driveway and sidewalk. This kind of watering is wasteful and we can't afford to waste a drop. Also, remember that the grass is not dead; it's merely dormant, and it will return whenever it rains. We don't water the lawn--we consider drought a hiatus from mowing.

I water my raised beds with a long rain wand either early in the morning or late at night. I hold the flowing water right to the ground, avoiding getting any water on foliage. Damp foliage leads to all kinds of diseases, and the roots need moisture, not the leaves. Soaker hoses would be very useful because they drip water slowly right at root level. It's better for root development to water deeply and less often, rather than spraying lightly and frequently.

Buy the best rain wand that you can afford. The cheap ones at the discount store will last you a season. Professional quality watering equipment will have brass fittings that can be replaced when worn.

We love our new rain barrel collection system, but without much rain, we still rely on hoses for much of our watering. We reserve the rain water and distilled water (collected from the basement dehumidifier) for use on the blueberry bushes. Rainwater is pH neutral, which is better for acid-loving blueberries.

It's far more time consuming to water by hand, but it conserves water while keeping you in touch with your gardens. Please water responsibly!

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