Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Jerry's SIP Report from Central Texas

Hello again after too long. We've been drying our potting mix--more on those autumnal duties soon. But today, meet GRG reader Jerry from Central Texas...
We love when readers write to tell us how SIPs work where they live, and this report beautifully illustrates the water-sparing action of sub irrigation.
I became interested in SIPs because the idea of using less water appealed to me.  With traditional container gardening it would be necessary to water a couple of times a day in a climate such as the one I live in.  This year we have had 80 days of over 100 degrees and because of that very frequent watering would be necessary with other types of vegetable gardens.  
Pity the peppers up front...weak, yellowing, and probably thirsty.
The ones in the foreground, in the raised beds, were planted the same day in early Sept. as the ones in the SIPs behind them.  The 2 plants in the SIPs were about 3 times as large and had more peppers per plant.  Also, I watered the plants in the raised bed at least twice as frequently.  Here in central Texas we have had only one measurable rain since I planted the peppers.
Another aspect that I like about SIPs is that weeding is not necessary.  Even though I mulch my raised beds I sometimes have very severe weeding problems.  With the SIPs I only had to pull one blade of grass.

...or this?
After this initial try with the SIPs I can see that they are the way to go in a climate such as we have here.
Jerry notes he's raising worms and wonders if he can use the vermicompost in SIPs. The answer is yes, if in limited fashion. Both Bruce and I have added a couple cups of worm castings to our SIPs with good results, so go for it. And thanks, Jerry, for checking in.

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