Sprouting sustainability: Part 2. Cultivating a waterwise veggie paradise 

Sprouting Sustainability: Part 2. Cultivating a waterwise veggie paradise
Sprouting Sustainability: Part 2. Cultivating a waterwise veggie paradise

Sprouting sustainability: Part 2. Cultivating a waterwise veggie paradise 

Published 05-13-24

In Part 1 of the Sprouting Sustainability series, we discussed the beneficial role of a water-efficient veggie garden here in semi-arid Utah, along with the unique needs of our watersheds, attitudes about landscapes and incentives available for landscape conversions. Now we’re diving into the garden patch to give you actionable tips as you cultivate your waterwise veggie paradise.

So, if you’ve got a green thumb and a penchant for vegetables, but you’re also trying to be a water-saving superhero, this is the article for you. 

First, let’s talk waterwise veggies. Are they a thing? Yes and no. Veggies, by nature, tend to be a bit more demanding when it comes to water compared to your laid-back succulents or drought-tolerant shrubs. But there are ways to wrangle those thirsty tomatoes and cucumbers into shape without draining reservoirs.

Drip it like it’s hot

Veggie plant water uptake happens through the root system — not the leaves. So get up close and personal with the roots and hydrate straight to the source via drip irrigation. This is like the VIP treatment for your plants, and bonus: precious water will not be whisked away by wind and evaporation. Drip irrigation can also improve the health of your veggies. Because you’re applying water evenly, and not on the leaves, a drip will reduce the chance of tomato blossom end rot, mold, mildew and other damage to plants.

Zone defense

Just like in sports, strategic zoning is key. Your veggie garden shouldn’t have to compete with thirsty grass for hydration supremacy. Give your vegetables their own zone and their own customized watering schedules, tailored to their needs. Putting in a bit of extra planning upfront can lead to big rewards down the line.

Mulch magic

Think of mulch as the snuggly blanket for your soil. A thick layer of mulch (we recommend four inches) helps lock in moisture, keeping your veggies cozy and hydrated for longer. Plus, it’s like a barrier against the pesky weed invaders, ensuring your precious plants get all the attention they deserve.

Rain dance

Don’t rely solely on the tap when Mother Nature’s got your back! Collect rainwater in barrels (Utah residents can collect two 100-gallon covered storage containers of rainwater without registering with the state) or direct downspouts to your veggie garden for a sustainable hydration boost. It’s like hitting the refresh button on your garden’s water supply – eco-friendly and oh-so-efficient.

Whack the weeds

Don’t let unruly weeds crash the veggie party! Weeds compete for resources with the plants you want, including water. Allowing weeds to take over means your veggies aren’t getting first dibs on that H2O. Remove weeds before they flower and remove the entire root of the weed, not just the top.

Smart solutions

Make your garden tech-savvy. Soil moisture sensors and smart irrigation controllers are like your garden’s personal assistants, keeping tabs on hydration levels and adjusting watering schedules accordingly.  It’s hands-free gardening at its finest — sit back, relax and let the gadgets do the work! Bonus: you might qualify for a cash incentive if you replace your irrigation controller with a smart, water-efficient one. Learn more about that here.

With a little creativity and a lot of love, you can keep your garden flourishing while still saving water like a pro. Happy gardening! 🌱

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Sprouting Sustainability: Part 2. Cultivating a waterwise veggie paradise
Published May 13, 2024

In Part 1 of the Sprouting Sustainability series, we discussed the beneficial role of a water-efficient veggie garden here in semi-arid Utah, along with the unique needs of our watersheds, attitudes about landscapes and incentives available for landscape conversions. Now we’re diving into the garden patch to give you actionable tips as you cultivate your waterwise veggie paradise.

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Amidst Utah’s semi-arid landscape — where the intricate weave of watersheds demands intentional water stewardship — cultivating water-efficient veggie gardens is a wise, sustainable and beneficial use of the precious resource. Here, in part one of the two-part Sprouting Sustainability series, we’ll delve into the unique needs of our state’s watersheds, reveal Utahns’ attitudes about landscape choices and explore the enticing incentives available to those interested in converting their traditional lawn to a vibrant garden.

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