Sunday, May 4, 2008

Water Conservation and Recycling

This spring/summer, I am growing beans!

Not only are they healthy and nutritious, beans also need little water and LOVE warm weather and heat.

So far, I just pushed some beans into my soil about an inch and covered them. That is how easy it is to grow them. Just water every now and then, just to keep the beans moisturized.

They grow really fast.

This is what they looked like about a week after planting.

I left for work, and when I came back only 5 hours later, they had actually grown 2 inches!

The great thing about beans is they are perfect for guerilla planting.
*(Tips: wear high heels to poke the hole into the ground. Carry a little water and sprinkle after planting. Make sure you plant next to some kind of fence. Those ugly chain link fences work magically.)

Q: Can you grow them next to your ugly bus stop?

A: Why yes! That would be perfect! Especially if you live in an apartment with no where to plant. While you wait for your bus stop, you can water it every morning if you want. Then you can come home and see how fast your beans have grown! Isn't that better than watching TV?

Right now, there are some beans growing in LA at the bus stop on the corner of Detroit and Wilshire. If you happen to be by there, Water the ground. :)

The reason why I bring up beans is because it is great when you can conserve what little water there is.

Other ways to conserve water is to reuse and recycle water in your own home. You can save the water you use when you wash your veggies and fruits. It is very easy. Just keep a big bucket/bowl in your sink to collect the water. I reclaim the water I use to wash my rice before cooking. This is especially great because the water has many valuable nutrients from the rice. My friend Maryanne reclaims the water she uses to clean out her french press. The coffee grinds add a magical compost flavor for the plant.

Another easy idea is to stack your plants. This is a no-brainer for everyone with little space. I have an old shelf I found on the street. I put the plants that need more sun on the higher rungs and those who prefer shade on the lower. When I water the ones on the top, they drip down to the bottom. (remember to let your pots drain properly) Not only am I saving water, I am also saving space.


I know some people like to put a bowl under their pots and let the water accumulate and bottom feed. This is ok for water plants or plants that need excessive water. But make sure you check your water. The water in Riverside has a lot of calcium and will leave calcium deposits in your soil.

The easiest way to find out if your water is "hard" is to look at your pots. Is there a whitish stain on your pots? If so, you have hard water. Here is an example:

See the white stains?


Look at the roots. The roots will usually give away the thirsty ones. Usually, the roots will have bulbous compartments for water storage. This will ensure the plants will survive if there is a dry spell.

Bulbous roots:

When the plant does not get enough water, the plant will dramatically slow down or even shut down growth. Though the plant will look like it is in bad shape, the roots will still be alive, waiting for water. I do not recommend shutting down a plant in this way, it stresses the plant tremendously. If you are a clumsy gardener and forget to water a plant like this for a while, at least read a bedtime story to it later.

From experience I have learned that if you have severely angered a plant, you will have to make voices for the different characters of the story.

1 comment:

lisa said...

Great ideas! I got an old baker's rack from my friend the other day, and I can stack my plants like you said, with water plants/marginals on the bottom...thanks!