Thursday, May 16, 2019

Post drought analysis

Here in the Western Cape we are slowly recovering from the worst drought in, for many of us, living memory. We have had some rain and water tanks are refilling. Dams are slowly gaining water and reaching more acceptable levels.
Usually for me water saving is not too much of an issue - I've had water tanks for many years and have relied on them for much of the watering of the garden. But this drought, together with strong winds and scorching temperatures, really was a supreme challenge.

What was an issue was the heartbreak I was experiencing when walking around the garden, and seeing the "lifelessness" of everything - like starving children with dead eyes, all just hanging on. Despite using plenty of mulch, I also noticed a change in the soil as the "life" had to drive deeper down, and the topsoil became dirt. This worried me the most - the damage to the soil microbiome from lack of water. But then as the water restrictions were relaxed a bit, and we have been allowed to put a sprinkler on for an hour per week, combined with some rain, things sprang into life with joyful blooms and greenery. It was almost as if the plants and the soil were shouting, "thank you!"

Somebody wrote that they considered it to be a crime to use municipal water for the garden. I feel that our environment is vitally important. Studies have shown that trees are vital for rain production. We should all make an effort to use some water, even if it's grey water, to keep our surroundings, including our soils, healthy.
Suburban gardens form mini forests which are home to many birds and the few reptiles that have survived human and pet attacks. We need to nurture all the life that surrounds us. Our ecosystems are under so much threat, let's try and do our bit at home, on our balconies and in our gardens to keep things alive and healthy. We will be rewarded with the soothing colours of nature and plenty of birdsong.

So to keep water in the dams for future use, continue your water saving measures but remember to give some water to your garden. Collect rain water, cold shower water and vegetable washing water and give that to the plants. Even water that you've cooked veggies in, is really good for your garden. It's not just about human life, but all life.

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