The idea of having a waterless garden has appealed to me for a long time. I have tried lots of different ways to grow my garden with little or almost no water and, more importantly for me, no watering. It’s getting away from being tethered to the end of the hose that I want.
Let’s forget for the moment about past experiments and look at what we are trying now. This weekend, the last weekend of March 2012, we started round two of the new waterless garden scheme.
Around Christmas time, I discovered a potentially new way of watering the garden. The product comes in a plastic sausage shape and comprises a jelly substance that is said to be 97% distilled water and 3% cellulose. The jelly is cut and placed raw surface down onto the soil, where a microbe action will begin and their activity causes the water to gradually be released from the jelly into the soil. When first setting up, the garden is watered for five days to make sure the soil is completely saturated. Then, if everything goes according to plan, you don’t have to water again for three months.
Since one watering sausage was recommended for a single tree, we figured we could use half a sausage for a single plant pot and decided to follow the instructions and enclose the jelly in a piece of polyurethane pipe topped off with a cap. Having seen the sausages just before New Year’s Day, when buying flowers for my Mum’s 91st Birthday, I brooded over the plan for a few weeks, before getting started.
Dad was in a wheelchair at the time and staff at Bunnings were lovely. We got him set up with a long piece of 90mm pipe, they cut the pipe for us into 17” lengths; we had nine of them and little bit left over. The length was selected by me, indicating like a fisherman about what size we wanted. Like a fisherman, there was some degree of over-sizing, it turned out.
When we got home and measured the pieces against the pots into which we wanted to plant, they were twice as long as the pots were deep. My spatial abilities are not profound.
About a week later, around Australia Day, I prevailed upon my son, Warren, to cut them all in half again, so they were between 7 and 8 inches long. Even then, in some cases, they still reached the bottom of the pot. Undeterred, we returned to Bunnings and “invested” in caps for each piece of pipe. That was an expensive exercise – about $100 for just the caps!
The pots were filled with potting mix, capped pipes with their half sausages installed complete with their plastic skins, cut side face down onto the soil and the seedlings were potted up.
The obligatory photos were taken to be posted on Facebook, the calendar marked for watering for the next five days and then we were into the experiment proper. No garden watering for three months. It was an exciting day! January 27, 2012.