Gardens Across America – Watering Edition

Checking in with the Gardeners Across America this time returns to a whole new scene. I am amazed at how quickly plants grow. Even the unattended weeds in my backyard (that I have no access to!) have completely taken over. Those weeds have grown without any water but rain. But how do people – in various parts of the country — water their garden these days with water conservation on their minds?

So – again, here are our gardeners – read on to find out how their gardens grow (and where the water comes from)!

Mike Lieberman – California – Balcony gardening
Mike prides himself in learning gardening the old fashion way, trial and error. He says, “I might have a vegetable garden, but I grow food.” Follow what Mike is growing on his blog, Urban Organic Gardener.

Simran Sethi – Kansas – Yardshare
The award-winning journalist and associate professor at the University of Kansas has decided to share her big backyard in Lawrence. Read “Sharing the Yard” on Oprah.com about the beginnings of her yard-share last year. Find out more of out what Simran is up to.

Tess and Jack Kenney – Wisconsin – Mushroom farmers and more
Tess, an active member of Victory Garden Initiative and the Kilbourn Gardens in Milwaukee, and her husband Jack are growing mushrooms, onions, asparagus, blueberries and more and are also composting in a newly built bin. Read Tess’ organic food posts on examiner.com.

Wendimere Reilley – Florida – Backyard aquaponics and more
The Health Chic, herbalist, author & TV host, growing lettuce and more in her backyard aquaponics systems. Check out what the Health Chic is creating.

Anne Dailey – Maine – Big garden (really big – though read Anne’s newest answer… not so big in Maine – just from my NYC perspective!)
Writer, activist and aspiring agrarian, gardening on a 30 x 40 plot with two fruit trees and some berries too! Keep up with Anne on her website.

Mike in California

How are you watering your plants? I know you have a balcony and self-watering containers… is the water coming from rain? The kitchen sink? Tell us how it’s working!

I change out the water in my containers about once a week or so. For the containers that I am starting seeds in, I water from the top on a daily basis. I also do my best to not waste water and reuse as much as I can. Since I make my own nut and seed milks, I’ll use the soak water in my garden to water it. When I was living in NYC, I used to shower with a 5-gallon container and use the shower to water my plants. Now that I’m in LA, I have carpeting and am a bit more hesitant to drag the water across the carpet.

Simran in Kansas

Your garden looks beautiful! How do you gauge how much water it will need… and where does the water come from? Is there a balance between rain water and supplemental watering?

Water is such a crucial issue and question. (There are some great resources on how and where we use water here: http://www.oprah.com/home/Stop-Wasting-Water-Simran-Sethi.)
Most of the water that’s used in my garden comes from the sky. In the future, all of it will. I am committed to growing drought-resistant crops whenever possible and I desperately need to build some rain barrels to capitalize on what nature gives us. And, I am ever-hopeful I can divert water from my home into my yard. (I took my class to Oakland to learn about greywater capture and am now determined to try it here in Kansas. http://www.metropolismag.com/pov/20110419/taking-action.) Sally just planted melons! I can’t wait for the harvest.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Gardens Across America

With gardening season under way in all but the coldest of zones, we have gathered a gaggle of gardeners from around the country and asked them to share some tips with us. The slide show is a peek into the beginnings of their space for this 2011 growing season.

(Go to Ecocentric to see a great slide show of everyone’s garden right now!)

Mike Lieberman – California – Balcony Gardening
Mike prides himself in learning gardening the old fashion way, trial and error. He says, “I might have a vegetable garden, but I grow food.” Follow what Mike is growing on his blog, Urban Organic Gardener.

Simran Sethi – Kansas – Yardshare
The award-winning journalist and associate professor at the University of Kansas has decided to share her big backyard in Lawrence.  Read “Sharing the Yard” on Oprah.com about the beginnings of her yard-share last year. Find out more of out what Simran is up to.

Tess and Jack Kenney – Wisconsin – Mushroom farmers and more
Tess, an active member of Victory Garden Initiative and the Kilbourn Gardens in Milwaukee, and her husband Jack are growing mushrooms, onions, asparagus, blueberries and more and are also composting in a newly built bin. Read Tess’ organic food posts on examiner.com.

Wendimere Reilley- Florida – Backyard Aquaponics
The Health Chic, herbalist, author & TV host, growing lettuce and more in her backyard aquaponics systems. Check out what the Health Chic is creating.

Anne Dailey – Maine – Big garden (really big)
Writer, activist and aspiring agrarian, gardening on a 30 x 40 plot with two fruit trees and some berries too! Keep up with Anne on her website.

Mike Lieberman, CA

What is your favorite part about this time of the year for gardening?
My favorite part about this time of the year for gardening is that nearly everyone around the country is starting to grow something. Whether it’s the experienced grower who’s been doing this for decades or the first-timer who is scared to kill all of their plants.

It’s exciting because it starts conversations and gets people talking about food, growing it and the importance of it. How it affects us on many levels and what we can do about it. I believe that it’s the best way to get more people interested or at least thinking differently about our current food system and what’s going on.

Are self-watering containers really better than planting in regular containers?
My only experience is with self-watering containers, so I’m a bit partial. Let me put it this way, I took a two week vacation and when I came home nearly all of the plants were still doing great. Not sure if they would have if I used regular containers.

Simran Sethi, KS

What is your favorite part about this time of the year for gardening?
Well, this is the time for birth and rebirth. The perennials start to bloom and the ground is ready for new veggies.

Yard sharing! What a great idea. Why did you do it and what benefits have you seen from sharing? And how can a person find a shared yard?
I did this because I have a big yard and very little experience in terms of what to do with it. I know a lot of people with incredible expertise here in Lawrence but not all of them have land. Sharing the yard made sense. I am sure there are yardshare websites. People can also just ask around. I asked friends which is how I ended up with my first share. (This is year two.) This year, I asked someone who works at our local food coop and completely lucked out. Her name is Lily and she also helps manage many of our school gardens. Lily and her friend Sally are putting in (all organic) beets, onions, yukon gold potatoes, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, carrots, heirloom tomatoes, bell peppers, winter squash, okra, peppers and herbs. I have another friend Daniel (co-founder of the Kansas City Center for Urban Agriculture) who is bringing me organic tomatoes, eggplant and herbs and another dear friend who just brought me red kale. All these people I love are in my yard, close to me, feeding me.

Continue reading