Gardening with Food-Producing Plants May Help Conserve Water

December 5, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings(5 minutes)
Let your student read the items below. Confirm that he/she understood each word. Use additional info/definition/question only when necessary.

1. drought-resistant (adj.) [drout-ri-zis-tuh nt] – something that is capable of surviving during a drought
ExampleDrought-resistant plants thrive in deserts.

2. edible (adj.) [ed-uh-buh l] – something that can be eaten, eatable
Example: Tomatoes, lettuce, and cabbage are edible plants.

3. permaculture (n.) [pur-muh-kuhl-cher] – a cultivation process that is used to develop self-maintained agriculture
ExamplePermaculture depends on renewable resources to make it self-sustaining.

4. compost (n.) [kom-pohst] – a mixture of decaying materials that can make the soil rich.
Example: The farmer added compost to the dry soil so he could plant in it. 

5. irrigation (n.) [ir-i-gey-shuh n] – a man-made system that distributes water to different plants or parts of a field
Example: The engineer laid out several canals for the field's irrigation.

Article(10 minutes)
Let the student read the article aloud. For the Comprehension Questions, you may:
     (a) Ask the questions in between. Tell the student ahead of time when to pause from reading.
     (b) Ask the questions after he or she finishes reading everything. 
For words difficult to pronounce, pronunciation guides are provided beside the word.

Xeriscaping is a type of gardening that involves the use of edible plants or drought-resistant plants instead of grass and other plants that need a lot of water. Some people who try xeriscaping say they still use plenty of water. But Rosenbloom family in Nevada, USA is proving that xeriscaping can save water effectively.

Five years ago, engineer Gary Rosenbloom discovered they were consuming over 1 million gallons (3,785,412 liters) of water yearly on their 1.2-acre (4,856 square meters) property.

Gary, with the help of his son, Nate, and other permaculture experts, started a xeriscaping experiment by converting 12,000 square feet (1,115 square meters) of grass to plants and trees that produce fruit.

They first added manure and compost to make the soil richer. They then replaced their sprinkler system with drip irrigation, wherein water slowly drips onto plants. After, the family built garden beds near the kitchen, and added chickens and a greenhouse to their property.

Around 500 kinds of plants were planted for specific purposes: some provide nitrogen to the soil and food for trees and chickens, others attract more bees.

After making the changes, the Rosenblooms reduced their water usage to just 525,000 gallons in 2010. They not only reduced water usage, they also collected 56 kg of chicken meat, 2,181 organic eggs and 272 kg of organic produce.

The Rosenbloom family felt happy about the results of their garden project, which Nate called the “Loping Coyote Farms.” Their water usage continues to decrease each year, and they hope to expand into businesses such as farming and food production.

Viewpoint Discussion(7-8 minutes)
Lead the discussion using the questions below.

Discussion A

·         Do you think that xeriscaping is a good alternative method to normal gardening? Why or why not?
·         What are the advantages and disadvantages of growing your own food?

Discussion B

·         Is it important to conserve water if more than half of the earth is made of it? Why or why not?
·         In what ways can we conserve water?


December 5, 2012