Are You Familiar With the Water Footprint of Your Garden Crops?



Growing our own crops is one of the best things that we can do to promote self-sufficiency, and it can be an invaluable source of nutrients during a prolonged crisis.  While it’s important to have a plan when it comes to how much space to dedicate to particular crops, along with choosing the best crops to grow in your area based on your needs and preferences, it’s also important to think about water consumption as well.


Remember that good water management is essential for any survival plan, and this is particularly true if you plan on riding out a long-term crisis on a homestead or piece of land that you’ve managed to acquire.  Being able to estimate how much water you will need to grow certain crops will go a long way with helping you to allocate enough resources to keep them nourished until harvest time, and each crop has their own general water footprint.


Here are a few examples of how much water popular crops will generally require from the time they’re planted to harvest.  All of them are in liters per kilogram or 2.2 lbs of food:


Lettuce: 130-150

Potatoes: 250

Cucumbers: 240

Cabbage: 200

Tomatoes: 180

Oranges :460

Peaches: 1200

Apples: 820

Nuts: 2800

Corn: 1200


Keep in mind that these are just general averages, and your water consumption will depend on a number of factors such as temperature, humidity, growing season and soil quality.  However, it’s easy to see how things add up, and it’s also surprising that some crops that I thought would be water intensive actually don’t require that much in the big scheme of things.


Water Conservation

Aside from estimating how much water different crops will consume, we can also take steps to reduce the amount of water that is wasted during irrigation.  This alone can account for up to half of our overall water consumption.  One of the best things to do when possible is to mix mulch with topsoil.  This will help to slow runoff and regulate how much water gets absorbed by the soil at any given point in time.  This helps to keep the soil moist while also ensuring that plants have more time to soak up water as well.


Another excellent way to save water is to use drip irrigation instead of sprinkling or using a hose.  This will virtually eliminate runoff while also allowing plants to drink from the ground throughout the day, and this can improve plant health and overall yields as well.  Setting up a drip system is easy.  All you need to do is poke holes every inch or so throughout the length of garden hoses, or you can lay some PVC along your crops as well.  Regulate the flow of water so that it is just enough to push through the holes, and you’re good to go.


Take some time to find out what the water footprint of your crops are, and choose crops that will produce the highest yields using the least amount of water.  Between selecting the most-efficient crops and tailoring your garden to be as water-conservation friendly as possible, you can save thousands of gallons of water per year, and these can be life-saving amounts during a prolonged crisis.

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