The idea that you can you can provide a plant with all the water it needs and cut down the amount of water you use by 90% sounds too good to be true. In fact this is just what David Bainbridge has achieved with his porous capsule irrigation method. I came across a review of his book “Gardening With Less Water” which I found on the Permaculture website. The review gives you an overview of David’s ideas and I have also included a link to an extract from his book which shows a simple DIY system.
Climate change and increased variability of severe droughts worsens our problems of landscape, orchard and crop production. Droughts are becoming more common and severe. We are running short of water in many parts of the world and the cost of water and food are going up, as is our consumption of water in most urban areas.
Gardening with Less Water is on the cutting edge of a two thousand year old technology that uses 90% less water in your garden. David has researched and monitored low cost, super-efficient irrigation methods and these are simply and well presented in the book and the supporting website. David?s insights give hope to drought resiliency for all of us.
Bainbridge?s super-efficient watering systems go directly to the roots of plants and minimize above ground evaporation and runoff. This also dramatically reduces weed growth. The auto-regulative properties and minimal waste reduce watering and spread out watering intervals.
David describes many traditional irrigation systems including both wick and buried clay pot irrigation that he first studied at the Dry Land Research Institute at the University of California, Riverside in the 1980s. His buried clay pot irrigation instructions first came from the ancient Chinese agronomist, Fan Sheng-chih from about 10BC. Fan increased crop yields of resource-limited farmers with too little land and too little water. This proved well suited for desert restoration work and encouraged Bainbridge to research this and other little known methods of dry land irrigation.
After 30 years of promoting these super-efficient ceramic systems, David?s research has cut water use by 50-90%, virtually eliminating weeding, improving plant health and crop yield. Learning from the past is critical to improving performance, reducing water use and evolving climate sensitive land management strategies.