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9 Tips For Keeping An Urban Garden Well-Watered Despite El Niño

SOMEONE who becomes an urban gardener will inevitably adopt sustainable practices, if it weren’t to those practices that drew them to gardening to begin with. In my case, I first wanted to grow a few herbs, until I wanted to grow my own food by planting leafy vegetables like pechay and lettuce, and fruiting vegetables like gourd, squash, tomato, and pepper.

Jane Villa

In the process of learning how to grow the said crops, I found that the key to growing healthy plants and in developing the so-called green thumb is maintaining a good ecosystem on my balcony garden, where beneficial insects eat harmful pests. I am learning to reuse a lot of available materials in my garden instead of buying them. For example, single use cups can be reused as seed starter, disposable spoon and fork and chopsticks as plant markers, empty wine bottles as water reservoir, spent coffee grounds and food scraps as compost, and the list goes on.

Gardening has made me more conscious about my consumption habits and somehow has led me to practice reducing, reusing, recycling, and conserving more consistently. What’s more, it’s not the reduction on the use of resources per se, but the efficient use of resources, like water, for instance.

As we feel the effects of El Niño and the occasional water interruptions around the metro, gardeners could be facing a moral dilemma – how can we continue to water our plants when it could come to a point where we wouldn’t have enough water to use for basic human consumption?

However, plants, like any living things, need water in order to survive. It is somewhat synonymous to the question whether I should give water to my pets. As someone who plants edibles in the hope of growing my own food, I know that water is indeed a necessity for my plants. That said, there are ways to increase efficiency in the use of water in the garden and avoid wastage.

Below are some of the practices I have adopted:

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July 2019