If you are facing drought or water shortages, Gardening with Less Water offers simple, inexpensive, low-tech techniques for watering your garden much more efficiently—using up to 90 percent less water for the same results. With illustrated step-by-step instructions, restoration ecologist David Bainbridge shows you how to install buried clay pots and pipes, wicking systems, and other porous containers that deliver water directly to a plant’s roots with little to no evaporation. Components for these systems are available at hardware stores and garden centers; are easy to set up and use; and work for garden beds, container gardens, and trees.
About the Author
David A. Bainbridge is professor emeritus of ecology and agroecology at Alliant International University in San Diego, California. He is the author or co-author of many books, including The Straw Bale House (Chelsea Green, 1994), A Guide for Desert and Dryland Restoration (Island Press, 2007), and Passive Solar Architecture (Chelsea Green, 2011). He lives in San Diego and has been researching dryland restoration and irrigation since 1981.
I give this book 10 out of 10 acorns. I don't remember how I found it; I think I was simply browsing the gardening shelves at the public library. As I flipped through the pages I thought, "wow, I gotta get this book!"
The subtitle says it all, "low-tech, low-cost techniques, use up to 90% less water in your garden." I live in an area where we have plenty of rainfall, but we also have long hot dry spells every summer lasting for weeks or sometimes months. I have 2100 gallons-worth of rain collection tanks, but sometimes even that isn't enough. I truly need inexpensive and uncomplicated ways to conserve water, and this book has all kinds of ideas.
The book is divided into two sections. Part 1 is entitled "Super-Efficient Irrigation Systems." The beauty of these systems is that they are all very low tech. That appeals to me because my experience is that the higher tech a system is, the more maintenance it requires, and possibilities of break-downs and repairs increase. The ideas in this book include things like: buried clay pots, double clay pots, self-filling pot systems, porous capsules, deep pipes, wicks, porous hose, buried clay pipe, and tree shelters (aka grow tubes). Materials for any of these are inexpensive and readily available.
Part 2 is entitled "Taking It to the Next Level." Chapters include Water-Wise Gardening Tips, Rainwater Harvesting, Landscaping for Water Catchment, and Developing a Plan for Your Patio, Garden, Home, or Farm. Lots of ideas in these chapters for analyzing, planning, and tying the various systems together. The last chapter, "Our Water Future," offers ideas for taking action on all levels: home, community, state, and worldwide.
Lots of excellent photos and pictures help explain the systems and how to assemble them. The Appendix gives a chart of stopper sizes for clay pot holes, plus conversion charts for metric and volume. A list of suppliers will aid those who have trouble sourcing some items locally.