Sunday, March 7, 2010

Greening the Desert - Simple Gardening - Conserving Water

Here are two different concepts related to gardening in Montello that have blown my mind (admittedly, it doesn't take much). First, the bucket gardening system conserves water to such a degree that I think I can grow the majority of my food in Montello without a well. Before I came across this idea, I thought water hauling for gardening purposes would be impractical. This system is not new and many different videos can be found on youtube with greater details relating to the construction process. However, this website is done by a couple of kids and I'm very impressed with their setup...especially the irrigation system that manages most of the watering aspects of gardening with a huge hands off labor saving application. All of their videos are worth the watch if you're into growing anything!

Next, how about growing food year round in Montello....even when it's zero degrees outside?! Can you say Walipini? Yeah, me neither...lets stick to reading it. A walipini is an underground greenhouse that taps into the earths stable year round temperature of 50 to 60 degrees just a few feet down below the surface. This idea is very earthship'esk and feels very intuitive. That said, I have no personal experience with it, but look forward to building one in the future. This link will allow you to download a very descriptive document detailing every question I had and more.

I'll definitely be toying with the bucket gardening system this year. Special thanks to "Back Hoe Dude" for the Walipini exposure and the bucket gardening system reminder!

Enjoy. And, I'll see you in Montello.


  1. Outstanding!!! I think you can do almost every thing you need to do with a bucket in montello.

  2. Bill, sounds like you're speaking from personal experience...hahahaha. And, I think you're right. One bucket (maybe two) in Montello and you may as well be Macgyver!

  3. Hey, Maybe i can open a bucket store!

  4. Wow I really like the Walipini idea. I've seen similar for small garden rows but not an entire green house as shown above.

    Also funniest thing ever the buckets. I've been using "Earth boxes" and "Garden boxes" for growing for a while and was thinking there must be a cheaper solution. Apparently the "Kids" figured it out right off. This method works well for preserving water without using fancy irrigation techniques but it does have one small issue. If you use grey water then you could end up with a fungus and algae farm. Since the water level is normally maintained you biologically active grey water will bloom. But for most table veggies you may not want to use grey water although it can be done. You can keep your rich grey water for fruit shrubs and use fresh water for the buckets. Anyhow worth experimenting with. Great info.

  5. good point on the algae Richard. i'm guessing a course of grey water followed by a course of city water (chlorinated) would work to keep the algae down and water hauling to a minimum? yeah, experience will tell all! Thanks for the comments.

  6. WOW! You're the man. This is the best find since my solar panel/wind panel info. I am gonna make some this weekend and let everyone know how it works. Thanks!
    Stay tuned to my blog for the breakdown. Also, I am building a solar panel very soon so be looking for that as well.

  7. scratch wind panel (meant wind turbine) :)

    Hey Bill, don't forget duct tape! Buckets and duct tape...