All posts by Growoya

The team at Growoya shares their favorite gardening stories, tips, and links on the blog.

Learn About The Details of Growoya on Go Green Radio

Brant chatted on air with Jill Buck this weekend. What exactly is an oya?! Here are the details, in audio!

“The clay of the oya is porous, so it slowly waters your plants over time. Plant roots grow towards the water source and take only what they need and only when they need it. This is extremely efficient way to garden.” – Brant Cheetham 

Here’s this link! The Growoya interview is the very first one on the episode, so just hit play:

Gardening In Heavy Rainfall AND Drought

What happened to the soil in your garden during the last heavy rain? Did mini gullies form? Did you notice topsoil thinned out? Were any of your garden beds washed out, or sprinkled with silt from a higher hill? Where did the water go from your land? Did it wash away to flood local roads or join larger rivers?

And now in the summer months, are you experiencing a drought?

If only all that water had remained in the soil, ready to be used in drier times! So often drought-challenged areas experience hard rain falls that wash away the moisture-saving topsoils that gardeners so depend on. A double-whammy!

Protect Your Soil

It’s impossible to make it rain more, but an attentive gardener can prevent a drought from causing too much damage. One of the biggest challenges is to keep excess water from flowing away when it does rain. Levelling the ground can help, as can building the soil to absorb and retain more water. Sometimes, reserving sections of the garden for grass or trees helps with this – they stabilize the soil. Other times, choosing varieties of vegetables that are more drought resistant may be necessary.

We find that better irrigating is consistently under-championed as a tried and true method to resist drought hazards. As well as levelling a garden bed, it helps to build water-spreading structures, contour furrows, or pits and mounds.

The Magic of Organic

New soils tend to contain much more organic matter. They are much more drought resistant than well-cultivated soils, because they absorb water so much faster and hold it for longer periods. When organic matter gets used up and washed away over time, a number of things happen: if it is a “tighter” soil, it loses its granular structure and starts together, making it harder to absorb water. If it is a sandy soil, it may become so loose that water runs right through it.

Increasing the amount of organic matter in any soil helps conserve against drought. Leaving behind stalks, straw, and stubble from harvest to till them back into the soil is helpful. Farmers often actively plow the residual parts of harvest back into their soil. (This is also why it’s good to leave grass clippings on the lawn when you mow.) Layering compost, seaweed, dry leaves, and cut grass in beds through the winter helps.

Every soil is different, and may require some experimenting to find what works best to capture and maintain moisture in dry periods. It is a sure bet that with the right attention to water conservation, irrigation, and garden maintenance, your crops will grow as big as ever, even in times of drought.

Wear Your Salad Around Your Neck

At the National Children and Youth Garden Symposium this week, avid gardeners gathered to show children just how easy it is to grow your own food.

Dr. Marturano started her lecture by giving out necklaces to grow sprouts in overnight. This is her way of showing how fun and easy gardening at home can be. She says

“We’ve made children aware of how healthy eating is important for them but we haven’t really reached the point of changing their behavior,” she said, “but if they grow it themselves, they want to eat it themselves.”

Rick Sherman, a school garden coordinator for the Oregon department of education, was involved in the symposium because he sees the importance of setting up the next generation for success in nutrition and access to vegetables. “It’s our duty as adults to share with kids where food comes from,” he says.

We couldn’t agree more!