Is anyone using waffle gardening techniques? In my Montana garden, soil biology and organic matter improve every year, but it seems like each year there's less rainfall for gardening. Groundwater isn't suitable for irrigation here. I have a rainwater capture system and some permaculture earthworks, but still need to make the most of every drop of water available.

This article on waffle gardening has me rethinking gardening plans for 2023. Anyone out there with experience or ideas to share on waffle gardening or other drought-adapted techniques? Thanks in advance for your input!

Adaptable Across Arid Landscapes​

Gary Nabhan, an agrarian activist and ethnobotanist based in Arizona, has observed waffle gardens in Egypt and the Canary Islands with trees that offer shade to underlying vegetables and vines extending beyond the beds. He sees the broader “very sound ecological principles” of the gardens as widely effective in arid landscapes, though cautions against replicating a specific tradition outside its original climate.
“People have already independently invented this in multiple places, so you really have to localize its size, the water source and type of soil. That’s already happened all over arid lands around the world,” said Nabhan.
That includes the area directly east of the Zuni Pueblo. In the el Valle region of New Mexico, Yvonne Sandoval, who describes herself as “mixed-race Indigenous,” tends to a 20-square-foot square waffle garden. It’s part of the Bueno Para Todos Cooperative, a small farm predominately led by queer farmers of color, as a way to reconnect with Indigenous methods for farming on dry, arid land and feed the surrounding community.
“In this region, we have really high winds and the air can be really dry, so waffle bed gardens are ideal,” said Sandoval. “I want it to be an example that shows pre-colonial farming methods can still be an answer to climate change.”
This summer, the waffle garden brimmed with corn, squash, amaranth, chilies, several varieties of peas, carrots, tomatoes, and herbs, which was fed entirely by rainwater captured in cisterns and the waffle garden’s sunken beds. This catchment system has enabled Sandoval to reduce her dependence on the acequia, the centuries-old irrigation canals that are at risk of running dry.

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