Book review: Gardening with less water

Published by Storey Publishing in 2015, this book by David A. Bainbridge provides numerous low cost solutions to water efficiency in a garden. Although written from the perspective of a scientist who works in the Sonoran desert in the Arizona, there are many ideas that are adaptable to the home garden.  Given that water is one of our most precious resources, it is vital for all of us to be more conscious of water usage in our gardens.

The author begins with the premise that water should be applied to the plant when it is needed, with little or no evaporation or run-off.  He provides many historical examples of how people across time and civilizations tackled the problem of watering crops and gardens.  A thorough discussion of using clay pots as water reservoirs is particularly interesting.  These were used in various forms by the Chinese several thousand years ago.  Detailed instructions for making your own watering systems using clay pots with readily available materials are provided and are definitely something I will try this year.   The author includes a summary of deep pipes, wicks, porous hose and rainwater catchment.  The final chapters include a brief review of different landscape designs that can be used to minimize watering needs, as well as various plans for installing watering systems based on your needs (patio, garden, home or farm).  While  the level of detail is not sufficient to enable someone to install a comprehensive irrigation system, there are enough tips in the book, along with detailed instructions, to make a read worthwhile.  A relatively short book that can be read in a few hours and may well inspire some changes in the ways we water! 

Submitted by Sabine Behnk