Grow Your Own-March 2015: Water, Water, NOT Everywhere

Recently my Inner English teacher reread a statement three times because she thought it contained a misspelling. It said, “As adults there’s a real danger in becoming competent. “  Shouldn’t that be incompetent?   But that was not the case. At least that’s the opinion of Mike Becktle, a nationally published creativity consultant. According to Becktle becoming excellent in an area squelches the production of new ideas. Competence can kill creativity.  Could this be true?

In gardening, I can’t claim too much competence. One area in which I felt I deserved at least a B- was in  garden watering . Having lived on Ft.George Island where all water came from a well, I learned about  careful watering early. As a certified Squarefoot Gardener , trained by founder  Mel Bartholomew himself, I hand water my 3X3 raised beds just the way Bartholomew decrees. I  ladle out sun warmed water  scoop by scoop to each plant individually. Most of the time this approach  works  just fine. And,  I confess, I feel  righteous about my low tech ladling especially  when I read  information that tells me  World Water Day  is observed on March 22. N  And  the world’s fresh water supply is rapidly dwindling.

But, sometimes real life intrudes. I have to leave the garden plot and tend to progeny who are geographically undesirable. How do I water then? On occasion I ask my spouse to check his weather app and see if Mother Nature will send the required moisture during my absence. If rain seems unlikely and I can’t trade watering services with a fellow gardener, I resort to several other devices.

aqua conesFor an absence of just a few days, I stick Aqua Cones by the thirstiest plants. These cones found at www.   are attached to one or  two  liter plastic bottles. The user simply punctures the cone to put water in the garden according to the type of soil.  There is a choice of holes for sand or clay or other. As a side benefit to watering using this method, plant leaves stay dry and this helps reduce blight and other diseases engendered by our Florida humidity. And what could be more righteous than re-using plastic bottles?

For gardeners whose taste in beverages runs more to Malbec than Mellow Yellow, there are Plant Nanny stakes which can be purchased in many garden stores or on Amazon.  The stakes are terracotta and a wine bottle is emptied, ( by gardener or colleagues)  inverted , filled with water and then attached to the Nanny.  The right amount of water then weeps through the terracotta into the soil. As a side benefit, the wine bottle strewn  landscape achieves a level of sophistication impossible to attain with  rotating Rainbirds or plastic bottles.

If I am on  assignment in progeny land  for a week or more, I rig up  a Snip-n-Drip system or convince a cash strapped teen to  use a handheld delivery system  which was the term legendary Ft.George gardener Dr. Ashbel  Williams taught me as a synonym for garden hose .  If I have managed to connect the hose to a rain barrel, all the better.

There are make and take rain barrel workshops offered frequently at the IFAS center on McDuff Ave.  Some folks create artistic landscapes on their barrels and I am in awe of these folks.  Reflecting on Becktle’s theory, I must have immense potential for creativity in the art arena, because I have zero competency.


About Victoria Freeman