Gravel Gardening:Exploring Benefits of Geological Agriculture
Gravel gardens reduce the need for fertilizers, soil, weeding products and water in the gardening process. Researchers at To Soil Less may have found that gravel gardening enables vegetables and other plants to grow in drought-like conditions. To Soil Less will showcase these drought resistant properties at the 2013 Home and Garden Show in Washington, DC, held at the Walter Washington Convention Center from March 22 to 24.
Last summer at the start of drought period in early July, To Soil Less founder, Richard Campbell established a large gravel garden in the middle of open land. He planted a row of bean and corn seeds but did not water or fertilize. He wanted to figure out what would happen if you did nothing; no watering, no fertilizer, just open 100+ degree sun. By mid-August, both the corn and beans had grown about 6 to 10 inches and by mid-October, Campbell returned to find a small crop of beans .
Campbell explains that, “This builds on prior observations between the sun and gravel that we have noticed. We have known for some time that with the proper depth, gravel gardens retain water for extended periods of time; but we always watered first. What is new here is that we did not water the gravel garden at all. It seems that moisture was created by what could be referred to as a ‘condensation effect,’ between the rock cooking at 100+ degrees on the outside and the Earth cooling the base of the enclosed gravel structure a few inches below on the inside, creating moisture enough to sustain the bean growth cycle.” An experiment of this effect will be on display at the HG show in Washington.
Gravel gardening is a new phenomenon in agriculture, where gravel and sand are used as the primary ingredients in the cultivation of crops. Drought-resistant properties are some of the many benefits to gravel gardens. Gardeners, scientists and students can learn how by downloading the Gravel Gardening How To Guide at www.tosoilless.com.
About To Soil Less(TM) – A Washington, DC family owned business created in 2011 for the purpose of sharing the gravel gardening methods with communities interested in sustainable gardening. At www.tosoilless.com, gardeners can learn how to adapt gravel gardening methods in their homes and community gardens. View a variety of crops growing in gravel on Twitter at www.twitter.com/tosoilless. You will see cucumbers, lettuce, corn, onions, spinach, marigolds, and more. To Soil Less invites all academics, developers and researchers to explore the benefits of geological agriculture.
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