Grow deep roots, reduce salt, and reduce watering
Ibuzzell posted excellent info. that's at the bottom of another long thread, so I'll repost it again here.
Posted by lbuzzell z10 CA (My Page) on Sat, Dec 8, 12 at 18:09 Jeri and Kim - we put in a graywater system this year and are very pleased with it! It's very simple and a handyman did it. The water from our laundry sink goes into a pipe outside that then goes into a hose that we move around the yard. There's a handle that can shut off the graywater and send it into the sewer as usual, too. And of course we now use special laundry soap (Oasis is a good brand)- and much less of it - for the clothes, which seem to get just as clean as ever. We have lots of fruit trees plus roses so the graywater is a necessity. And we grow everything with "toughlove" witholding water in the spring after the rain to force roots to follow the water downwards. Linda"
**** I love what Linda wrote, and she's in hot zone 10 California! When I was in Michigan, a mechanical engineer routed his laundry water plus dishwasher's into his veges and roses garden. He grew the yummiest veges, and the best hybrid teas, loaded with blooms. That was before 16 states banned phosphate-laden dishwasher soap (they clean dishes best!).
I have regrets using Lily Miller Acid fertilizer 10-5-4 with both chemical nitrogen and chicken manure. I did some research as to how long chicken manure lasts? It's up to one year, so it should be used only once, but I used it 3 times. I had not watered my rhododrendrons and azaleas for 12 years until I used Lily Miller . I am annoyed that I had to water my acid-plants many times this year since they get droopy in hot summer.
I don't like sulfur from my experiments ... iron is what turns plants green, not sulfur. Sulfur killed earthworms. Alfalfa hay has more nitrogen than alfalfa meal, and grass clippings highest in nitrogen. No aphids here with organic slow-released nitrogen compared with chemical nitrogen 15 years ago.
My goal is reduced watering through low-salt organic sources. I'll limit horse manure to once a year, I'm cautious about salt-build-up. One site stated that too much nitrogen discourages root growth and plants need water more. For salt content in chemical fertilizer, it's highest with nitrogen, next is potassium, and last is phosphorus.
I'll experiment with low-salt phosphorus and potassium SOLUBLE fertilizer to see if I can grow bigger roots for winter survival and drought-resistance. I figured out why alfalfa meal made glue with my clay: alfalfa is high in calcium, and calcium binds with phosphorus to form apatite, a crystal rock.
For organic sources with no salt: grass clippings releases nitrogen within 1 month, NPK 4/0.5/2 Alfalfa hay NPK 2.4/0.5/2 with 40% release of nitrogen in 1 month and Alfalfa meal NPK 2/1/2 with instant release. Leaves vary with fruit trees higher in nitrogen, and oak leaves NPK 0.8/0.3/0.2 That's better than horse manure NPK of 0.4/0.3/0.3
My Mom in Michigan had slightly acidic soil high in phosphorus (needed for blooms and root growth). Her plants were short but deep rooted. She never watered her garden, but had tons of blooms. She applied cow manure once a year in spring time ... grew the sweetest veges ... they tasted better than store-bought.