When Frances Greene checks whether she needs to water — the dill, collards and other vegetables — at a local garden, she looks a bit like an auto mechanic.
“Just as you can check the oil in your car, you can check the water level in the reservoir,” says Greene, 70, who volunteers with the nonprofit Urban Patchwork. She inserts a long bamboo pole into a PVC pipe that sticks out of the dirt, then pulls it out. Moisture is visible for about 10 inches up the bamboo — showing that the plants in this raised bed, with a reservoir under the soil, still have water.
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