Saving water in your vegetable garden

polymer crystals2Saving water is so important now in our high desert especially with the drought. Last year I read an article on a company who created oasis in the Saudi Arabia deserts where they get less water than us. I noticed the main ingredients used were polymer crystals and a volcangenic sedimentary mineral (volcanic ash) called Zeolite, both of which absorb water and hold it and nutrients close to the root systems where the plant can use both as needed. I didn’t buy any of the company’s product because they had chemical fertilizers in it but instead experimented on my own with those 2 ingredients and adding my own organic fertilizers/amendments. It doesn’t take a lot of these 2 ingredients.  The brand of  Zeolite I got is called Zeomax Garden Aidzeomax_gardenaidbag and both that and the polymer crystals came from Amazon.com. The results were amazing.

Some of you may know that I expanded my garden last year by 1000 square feet going from 2000 sq ft to 3000 sq ft in my main garden. I put about a tablespoon of both ingredients along with my usual yum-yum mix, compost and other stuff I put in the bottom of each hole for my tomatoes. Then I mixed it up well and planted the transplant on top of the amended soil in the bottom of the hole. All of my garden is on a drip system.

I expected my water bill to go up substantially. Amazingly there was no increase in my water bills from the previous year-a savings of about 33%  (since I had increased the garden by  1/3 its size or 1000 sq ft) and I only used them on 50 transplanted tomatoes in a brand new raw garden that hasn’t been that heavily amended yet (better amended soil =better water retention). This year I’m going to use them on everything I grow. For seeds I plant, I’m going to dig a trough and amend the soil with both of these items, sprinkling it in and plant the seeds on top of it in hopes of saving more water. You can get polymer crystals at Payne’s Nurseries here in town if in a pinch but they are expensive locally and I could not find Zeomax at all locally. Amazon cost less and if you plan ahead before planting this year, I believe you could save some substantial money in your water bill and cut down on your water usage. You can also dig holes around your new plant or an established plant and mix these two ingredients with some dirt and put it back in around the plant being careful around the roots if you already planted.

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2 comments on “Saving water in your vegetable garden

  1. gene solyntjes says:

    With the onset of such heat so early this year my water usage has already exceeded last year. Using water catchment and my trailer with a 600 gallon tank and a soon to be added grey water system its going to be all I can do to keep what is just planted growing to maturity. Thus, this news of Zeomax and Poly crystals is sorely needed, and I wish I knew of these products when amending my soils earlier this year. I will be ordering some of this material and use it around the plants already growing in the greenhouse and one raised bed.

    Thanks so much for the info on these materials which are so badly needed in this area.

    Gene So

  2. L Roberts says:

    This is a wonderful posting sharing some very useful and practical advice about how to save water in this difficult time of drought…and, your way substitutes organic fertilizers and amendments. Thank you, Jannine.

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