ALCC’s Tip of the Week has me wondering – what is a WAFFLE GARDEN?
Warm days, and especially warming soil conditions, make this a prime weekend for planting those seasonal vegetables we all love.
Yet the drought still looms. And this year, in particular, we need to find ways to be even more water wise with the most sustainable of all gardening ventures – the edibles.
Have you heard about “waffle gardens?”
No, it’s not a group of grains for growing your own waffle ingredients. It’s a technique first developed by Native American Zuni in New Mexico and used off and on by many gardeners ever since.
The “waffle” is a pattern of squares much like the waffle you eat. In the ground variety, the depressions hold water like the waffle holds syrup. Here’s how it works: Instead of planting veggies in long rows, plant seeds and starter plants of the same kind within 1 ft. or larger squares that are dug out to be slightly lower than the rest of the garden.
Within each square, lower the soil about 1-2 inches and then rim the edge of the square with a mound of soil about 3-4 inches high. This technique creates a square saucer that holds water and prevents run-off after watering. Visualize syrup in the waffle.
Waffle gardening also makes plants slightly denser than row planting. This tighter form of planting shades the soil which helps hold in moisture. The shade also helps deter weeds.
Other tips for a water-wise edible garden:
- After plants are established, apply mulch around the bases of plants. Wood mulch or excess grass clippings from mowing the lawn are good mulches.
- Use drip irrigation. It is the most efficient method of watering all plants other than lawns. It is also gardener friendly because you can simply schedule automatic watering via the sprinkler system’s timer.
- If you grow some edibles in containers, look for seeds that are developed especially for container gardening.
What to plant
This year, de-emphasize the more ornamental plants, like pumpkins, and plant more serious edibles such as:
- Squash varieties
- Brussels sprouts
- Beans and peas
- Berries, such as raspberries and strawberries
There’s nothing more local than the produce you serve just minutes from being picked in your own back yard. Growing edibles is a sustainable use of resources when we use water wisely.
If you’d like help with your Waffle Garden or anything else in your garden, please contact us firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-721-9003.