In nature, there are no sprinklers or tilling of the soil each year, but forests and meadows grow an abundance of healthy and lush vegetation. You can try DIY irrigation projects to help your own garden flourish. With a no-watering, dry irrigation method, you can use the same natural principles to grow your vegetable garden and save on water, which can be especially helpful when your area is in a drought. Here are some steps to help you get started using this no-till, dry irrigation method for growing a garden.
Prepare Your Garden Plot
When you are ready to begin your garden area, you don't need to work the soil at all. In fact, you don't need to till the soil to combine any of the organic material that may be left over from last year. You do need a large supply of wood chips, leaves, or other organic material to layer onto your garden soil.
Apply a layer of wood chips several inches thick when first starting your garden, as this layer of wood chips will hold moisture into the soil and help your plants grow without regular watering from sprinklers or irrigation system. Overtime, the layer of organic material will decompose and break down, adding nutrients back into the soil.
When you are ready to plant seeds in your garden, move the layer of compost wood chips away from the soil where you plan to plant your seeds or seedlings. Place the seeds or seedlings at a soil depth as recommended for each plant or seed, then cover them with soil.
Replace the wood chips compost layer back around your planted seedlings after watering the soil. Leave the wood chip compost layer scraped away from the small section of soil until the seeds begin to sprout, watering them regularly until they sprout.
Once your plants are growing up through the layer of compost, you don't need to water them, as the soil will hold the moisture in beneath the compost layer. The sun won't dry out the soil, as it normally can with traditional gardening when the soil is exposed to the sun.
Another of the benefits with using this dry irrigation method, aside from not having to water regularly, is when weeds grow they are easy to pull from the layer of compost. Because the weeds only root themselves in the compost layer, they are not firmly planted within the soil.
As natural naturally adds another compost layer to its soil in the fall when the leaves of trees fall and grasses and other vegetation dies, plan to add more wood chips, leaves, and grass clippings onto your compost layer at this time.