Drought is widely spoken subject, and it is usually perceived as a threat among, gardeners. It calls for every gardener to look for innovative means to keep the ground green. Since water is the pillar in which these crops are anchored for growth, it is essential to use it wisely. Of importance, also, is to keep in mind that drought is not predictable. Growing vegetables during a drought take skill however it is very possible.
Growing Vegetables During a Drought
For this reason, you must be armed with means for growing vegetables during a drought. Some gardeners will look for vegetables that are drought resistant. Others will look for means of conserving water.
Still, another group will look into best planting means. The common goal is to have the vegetables during the dry season. It is integral to go with the following tips to achieve the goal:
The Western Cape is in one of the worst droughts recorded in the history of the Western Cape. With Water shortages, farmers and gardeners have had to find ways to Grow Vegetables During a Drought.
Proper timing for planting
Planting earlier, especially during spring, makes plants to lessen exposure to high mid-summer temperatures. Plants also take advantage of the warm weather during the period. When one plants later in the fall, there is minimized the use of supplemental water.
Plants take advantage of seasonal rains for the establishment. It should be noted that nightshade crops such as peppers and tomatoes should only be planted after the soil attains a 55 degrees temperature.
Efficiency in using the water
There is two aspect to consider when you think of water during gardening; how to water, and when. To answer the “how” question means using the best irrigation method. Drip irrigation system is known to conserve water dramatically.
Here, the water used is even fewer if you categorize plants with parallel water requirements together in one drip irrigation line. The drip system is relatively easy to install; especially for home gardeners growing vegetables during a drought.
The “when” aspect can be answered well if one considers the peak watering times. Always water your garden early in the morning hours, or late in the evening. In these two times, the rates of evaporation and transpiration are highly minimized. Therefore, the water used is equally lower.
Vegetables and fruits have periods that calls for increased water demand. For most crops, water is needed before establishment after which the rate of watering is gradually reduced. It is advisable to reintroduce watering, only after fruit setting process begins (during the flowering period).
Use of mulch When Growing Vegetables During a Drought
There is an average rate of about 50% reduction in water when you use a mulching material of 3-4 inch thick. Mulch reduces the rate of evaporation from the soil surface. It also keeps the temperature cool during a hot summer.
It is also a good means to adapt while growing vegetables during drought. Materials used for mulching include dried leaves, straw, grass clippings, pine needles, hay, among others. However, hay is not encouraged as it contains seeds that bear weeds which become problematic.
Agronomists recommend that gardens be planted in an enclosed space. By doing so, gardens retain water for a more extended period. When planted in the open soil, the water is liable to higher loss to the environment. An enclosed space is usually raised in a bed where there is ease of access to the crops. It is thus easy to carry out management practices. The enclosed spacing can be used in the growing of vegetables during a drought because it maximizes production.
Choice of crops
Growing vegetables during a drought can be daunting if you don’t have the right crop variety. For this reason, one is advised to purchase varieties that are adapted to the hot and dry climate. Many heirloom varieties from the Mediterranean region are the best choice during drought.
They are tolerant to the hot and dry climate. Often, smaller varieties bred for containers yield bountifully than standard varieties. Keep off from water hogs. Crops like asparagus, chard, eggplant, peppers form the best choice to pick from.
Weeds are known to compete with crops for nutrients, sunshine, and most importantly, water. Retaining weeds in your garden may make growing vegetables during a drought hectic.
It is therefore vital to get rid of the weeds, especially before they flower. This practice will prevent the weeds from stealing water meant for the crops.
Having known the various tips as explained above makes growing vegetables during a drought less hectic. One can approach any drought season with confidence. Hitherto, conserving water is the basic underlying truth any gardener cannot ignore.
Choosing the right variety that suits the dry season also serves as tip against the hit by the heat. Of importance to embrace, too, is the adoption of best management practices. A combination of all the tips will always leave behind the best results to any gardener, irrespective of the season.