Garden, Plant, Cook!

Monday, September 14, 2015

El Nino and Water Harvesting.

Dear Folks,

Many of the predictions for this coming winter are that El Nino is expected to be one of the strongest on record.  That means the probability of more rain.  Which is great!  However, is your property set up to take full advantage of it?

Brad Lancaster is THE water harvesting guru and expert on water management in the Southwest.

Below is his wonderful short video on why it is important to manage your property for maximum rainfall retention benefit.

I want to stress the importance of the point he is making about HOW you set up your gardens.  In 4-season areas with high rainfall gardening tends to be done ON TOP of mounds or rows to maximize drainage.

Here in the desert with an average of 7 or inches of rain per year we need to:

1)  Maximize water retention in the root zone, and
2)  Make sure soil salts are washed AWAY from the root zone by flooding the beds.

Brad's muffin tin illustration is superb to illustrate all of this.  It is easy to understand that water runs off hills, but settles in depressions.

He further shows just how much water a non-hill garden captures.

Brad Lancaster water harvesting illustration.

Check out Brad's books at

I urge you to try to really understand just how much water runs off your property.

Deane bermed our entire property except for the driveway, so most of the water falling on our property stays on, soaking into the soil.  As a result we are able to forgo routine watering (a week's time or more) when we get a .5 inch of rain, depending on temperatures.

 -- Catherine, The Herb Lady

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