Along with expanding the areas where I have vegetables in the garden, I am experimenting with a few different methods in the garden this year. Even though Texas officially ended its drought last year, water conservation is still on my mind. After ten years of drought, I think it wise to stay prepared for the next one.
I had read about a technique developed for residents in drought stricken parts of Africa. A growing medium, like our potting soil, is placed in a canvas bag. Holes are slit into the bag for plants to be inserted into the bag. The growing medium is moistened before planting, and it can be furthered watered by an opening. The moistened growing medium does not dry out to fast since the canvas bag holds the moisture in.
I made my own growing medium form perlite, vermiculite, peat moss, and compost, and I decide to try out two types of bags. One is a canvas bag, but the other is a plastic bag with a thick wall (so heavy plastic). I have five bags placed on a stand that I made from some spare lumber. I wanted the bags to be off of the ground for some protection from snails, but I am sure they will find their way up. I am thinking of taking the experiment a bit further by painting the bags. It has been shown that certain plants will respond to plastic mulches of different colors.
It is definitely a clean way to garden. The soil stays in one spot. No mulches blowing around the yard. I think that it will be interesting to see if this method does conserve water from other methods that I use, like heavy mulching.