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Aqua Cones Saved This Garden

Jo Rush
Ann Smith grows a wide variety of vegetables in a community garden in St. Paul, Minn.
For Ann Smith, water is a problem. Her community garden has no hose or running water. Water barrels hold the garden's supply, but they are a long way from Ann's garden plot.

Last year, however, she discovered a solution: Aqua Cones. With them she created an efficient irrigation system that requires less water and less work than traditional watering. Aqua Cones are plastic devices that stick into the soil with an empty soda bottle as a water reservoir. The water drips out the tip of the cone and is delivered directly to plant roots.

"Pails of water are very heavy and are about as good as nothing if you are just pouring it on the ground," Ann said. "With the cones, not a drop goes astray and the trips are fewer."

Not only did Aqua Cones make gardening easier, they also saved Ann's garden from drought. "This past summer was so hot that I just gave up on any part of the garden that didn't have cones," she said. "As a result I had wonderful tomatoes when many didn't and the tough things like squash and Brussels sprouts made it on their own with a cone here and there among them."

Ann, of St. Paul, Minn., grows a wide variety of vegetables, including cucumbers, squash, tomatoes, kale and lettuce, in intensive beds in her garden plot.

Besides water, her next biggest challenge is supporting her plants well. She uses Tomato Spirals to support her tomato plants. "We're on the Mississippi River and it's really windy here, but the spirals are strong enough not to blow over," she said.

Click here to read more profiles of great home gardeners.

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