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    • With regard to sub-gardening in an arid climate and with, drier-than-normal, soil; would you dig out the area of the bed to depth and line it with something to prevent leeching of the water from the bed to the underlying ground?

      I'll agree about the weeding part, as I've been using Patio Planters on casters for years now to raise my annual hot peppers and they are perfect for adding a big dose of water to the reservoir under the soil bed after hardening the plants for a few weeks. I can roll them in/out of sun easily as the season progresses.

    • Im in an area that goes dry in the summer, so I built raised garden boxes out of old cedar fencing and used some sturdy metal hinges as braces to hold them all together. Then I simply lined them with landscaping fabric, stapled into the cedar. I then filled them with good garden soil and mulch mixed up together.
      This keeps weeds from growing and also helps keep ground critters from eating the harvest, but watch the birds. I water the boxes daily, it's in the high 90's here. The tomato's, Cucumbers, peppers and summer squash yield much higher results than when we were growing in the ground. Less water needed, no weeds.

    • It sounds like raised beds are the way to go. I was going to be cheap out and just till my existing dirt, but it makes a lot of sense isolate the garden soil from the dirt below. No need to let my irrigation water percolate back to my water company's well, just to be charged again.

      Has anyone experimented with gray water systems and/or rain storage?

    • Not sure about the water storage, but either way you go, this kind of drip system works really well for getting just the right amount water to your plants. I've got mine on a timer in Portland, OR (not very much rain in the summer growing season) and don't have to think about it much. Different plants require a different amount of water. Bigger the plant, the more water (trees are big!)

    • I think gray water systems require quite a lot of work and/or investment, unless you are doing a teardown and rebuild. You have to plumb the different fixtures differently (bathroom sink/shower/washing machine good; toilet bad), and there is a filtration system that goes underground. The irrigation from the gray water system cannot be used to irrigate edible plants, only ornamentals, etc. You can buy rain barrels from most garden supply catalogs, though. Most have a hose connector at the bottom, and you just put them under your downspout. Cheap and easy, and in a really rainy year. If you try and store it long term, though, you probably have to put water preserver drops in it so it doesn't get slimy and gross.

    • Look into permaculture and create a mini food forest. I mulch deeply-or I like to call it composting in place because my mulch is everthing I'd normally put in a compost bin, in layers, somewhat following a 2/1 ratio of browns to greens. This has so many benefits. It conserves moisture, builds organic matter which then feeds the soil life that is responsible for breaking things down that feed your plants. When I want to plant, I pray the mulch and sink the plant in or sow some seeds.

    • We just finished eating the last of our home grown tomatoes for 2018. We have tried with growing tomatoes in large pots year after year, but always end up disappointed - no where near what we get with tomatoes in the soil in our garden.. We must be doing something wrong, in the pots.

      We will mulch and till the fall leaves from our yard into the garden this winter and next spring. This has seemed to work well for us, here in humid central Indiana.