waffle gardening

pawsitive_gwMay 18, 2008

Spent the day at the Iron Mission State Park in Cedar City today and learned about waffle gardening. It is based on the ancient gardens of the Anasazi. The ones we made were hilled up with dirt while the ancient gardens were mounded with rocks. The idea is to make a depression that can be filled with water and plant in the depression. It acts as a solar collector for heat and a wind break. They also put in a Piute garden where they did rows that they flooded. It will be a lot of fun going by the park and checking on the progress of "our" gardens this summer. We will get a call back in the fall to harvest and have a cookout and then they'll have a workshop on preserving what we grew.

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Do you have any links with more information on this technique? I found some articles about it, but none that really told me how I could do it.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2008 at 12:10AM
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What Todd did was till the area and add compost. We then shoveled paths and put the extra dirt on the mound. He divided the mound into sections and we hoed a depression (some square, some rectangular) and lightly tamped the dirt. The sections were divided according to what was going in them-larger for melons and corn and smaller for carrots, radishes and leafy greens. The depressions were about 6-8" deep. We then planted the seeds and starts. After it was planted, the depressions were flooded and he said, even in our southwest desert, he only had to water 2 times a week, maybe 3 if the weather was really hot. He said he had been doing this for 15 years and wouldn't do it any other way. It would work great if you had to water with a hose, but if you had irrigation water (in ditches) it probably wouldn't. The areal slides he showed at the beginning of the presentation showed ancient gardens. They were outlined in rocks, and it looked like a giant had pressed the earth with a huge waffle maker!! I haven't looked on the internet, but try Utah State Parks, and then Iron Mission State Park and see if they have anything about it.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2008 at 10:25AM
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Thanks for the response. If this approach requires me to water 3 times a week, it's going the wrong direction. I travel a lot and my garden is not hit by the sprinklers. It only gets watered when I water it and I haven't watered my garden more often than once a week in years.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 1:32AM
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there is a technique called no-till gardening among other things that is pretty cool and similar to ancient techniques.

basically you do the same as descibed above but add you junk mail and cardboard. dig a trench and line it with several layers of cardboard and newspaper. the more the merrier. then pile you dirt and compost into a mound and then cover with another layer of cardboard then mulch heavily with straw or something fluffy. you will never dig, till or step on the bed again. never add fertilizer or export plant material either. chop and drop and return the unused portion of the plant to the mulch layer. planting is done by moving the mulch and poking a hole through the cardboard. the worms and roots keep the soil loose (don't pull out the roots, leave them to rot in the soil). you can make the mound in a ring with a central depression for watering. the carboard layers slow water evaporation and from seeping to deep too quickly. you will find it widley used in permaculture, but is based on ancient practicesÂsubstitude cardboard for leaves ans thatch.

other variations are german mounds, banana rings and gardening by very lazy people who want to work less and get more.

plenty of info wherever you find people talking about permaculture. some good videos on youtube.

i am doing my garden this way for the first time, but the dog is not respecting the no till and no step policy. the garden and soil gets better with time and the labor diminishes greatly after the initial prep which you do every year anyway.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2008 at 10:22PM
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I checked out the waffle garden this week and it looked like it was doing well. It looks like they may have lost some tomatoes. Me too! We lost four of our seven plants! We have some sweet millions, but all our big ones died. The melons at the waffle garden looked like they were doing great. It looks like a fun method to try.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2008 at 6:41PM
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