STEP 7 – MANAGE YOUR WATER
Water is essential to all of life. Plants release water through transpiration and it is re-circulated back through rain. It is essential to the microbes in your soil and to the life of the plants that are gown in it. Water is a precious commodity we must conserve as the demand for water continues to outpace supply. It is the lifeline of our existence. It is essential to a plant’s survival and our being. Its value is greater than oil or gold. Fresh water is a product that Mother Nature provides and we often take it for granted. As valuable a commodity it is, we follow gardening practices that cause runoff, leading to erosion and pollution. Using water wisely and managing the water from rainfalls are good gardening practices and essential in reducing global warming.
Filling our properties with organic soils and organically grown plants is a key procedure in the fight to reduce global warming. Rich porous organic soils covered with a 2 inch layer of mulch and filled with plants allows rains to penetrate the soils and grow strong and healthy. Healthy plants and healthy soils will sequester CO2 from our air. Preventing run off and re directing water to remain on your property is an environmentally sound practice that will help grow healthy organic plants.
Diverting runoff water is everyone’s responsibility. Water seeks the lowest level and when we allow too much to run off rather than be absorbed, we cause a cumulative effect which causes erosion damage. We make the mistake of filling our properties with impervious surfaces—–the roof of our houses, blacktop driveways and cement walks and terraces. This all leads to greater runoff.
There are, however, steps that we can take to reduce water runoff. We can have our walks and terraces built instead with hard materials set in sand or stone dust. This will allow water to penetrate into the soil. Driveways built with decorative blocks and set on gravel allows water to penetrate. They make beautiful driveways and reduce water runoff. We can make sure our rain drains are being funneled into dry wells and rain barrels. We can create rain gardens located in a position on the property to stop and absorb runoff.
Groundcovers and a property rich in vegetation prevent erosion and promote water penetration. Mulches are one of the best ways to trap the flow of water and allow time for water to soak into the ground. Good gardening practices allow you to grow strong healthy plants. If you grow them organically, you are helping in our battle to remove carbon from the air. Water is an important component of plant life and water is essential to the microbial life in your soil.
We are beginning to learn the importance of growing strong healthy organic plants. The stronger and healthier our plants are and the more vigorous they are the more CO2 they will withdraw from the air. Water is essential to all living things and plays an important role pulling greenhouse gases out of the air.
Too much water creates a waterlogged condition where oxygen is lacking in soils and can cause death. Too little water can cause wilting and extreme wilting can cause your plant to dry up and die. Managing water on your property can be the most crucial factor in growing good plants. Deep root systems allow plants to reach deeper in search of water. Extreme dry conditions require you to add water. Mulching can conserve moisture in the soil. However the ultimate responsibility lies in how you manage your water. Plants cannot exist without water and whenever plants wilt, they are weakened. In order for plants to pull CO2 out of the air they need to be strong and healthy.
In the structure that I invented “Krautter’s ‘Year Round Organic Vegetable Garden” I developed a system where I re-circulate the water. Within this greenhouse like structure, I have stretched a level clear sheet of plastic above the growing plants. As the plants transpire water and the soil evaporates water, it condenses on the plastic and evenly drips raindrops of water back onto the soil. We never allow the water to escape out into the clouds and we have created a self watering system. We never end up with too much water in our soil because we only put back what we take out. It is a truly remarkable system and I use about one 15 gallon bucket of water throughout the 5 month winter season. I think we can effectively employ the concept of this system to build structures in arid regions of the world or in drought situations where we need to grow food to eat. Once we understand nature we can replicate her but we should never try to alter her and come up with a different system. She has shown us the way and when we deal with nature, we have to not lead but learn to follow.
Water is essential to growing a healthy plant. Growing a healthy robust plant is essential to pulling CO2 from the atmosphere. You can grow a lot of plants but if you stress them out or dry them up, they are not going to be able to do their job. I have always found when growing plants in my greenhouses, the most important job was the person doing the watering. Too much or too little water would stress out plants. Proper watering is the key to growing beautiful plants.