Gardening During a Drought

Gardening During a Drought

With much of the country having experienced a drier winter than normal we will look at how we can garden during a drought.

With knowledge and good planning, we can have garden success even during the driest periods.

Planning for Garden Success When Gardening During a Drought

Many factors go into the planning for a successful garden. Garden placement, watering practices, vegetable choices and smart gardening stewardship all contribute to how your garden thrives during the growing season.

Extra considerations and thoughtful techniques are important when we are experiencing drought conditions.

Smart Gardening Practices

There are many smart gardening practices that assure you give the garden the best chance of success. We will look at the choices we have when planning for the season.

Being thoughtful about the choices we make will give us the best opportunity for a bountiful harvest.

Garden Placement

Selecting where you plant the garden determines how much maintenance will be required. Placing a garden in shady areas will help in dry hot periods.

Many people have in ground gardens that are not located in shady areas. When dealing with a full sun garden we will look at creating shade within the garden using plants. Traditionally we will plant in ground gardens with the shortest plants in the front and the tallest plants in the back. To create shade you might consider planting the taller plants in the front of the garden to create shade.

Plant shorter vegetables behind taller plants with broad leaves like squash and zucchini.

Sunflowers are a great option to create shade. If you are considering planting sunflowers you can take it one step further and utilize the methods used in a Three Sisters Garden to maximize production.

Container Gardening

Container gardens can be incredibly challenging when the weather is dry and hot. During the hottest periods containers often require being watered twice daily. If you decide to go with planting in containers, it is important to grow heat tolerant plants and utilize shady areas.

If you can plant a bit earlier in the season it gives the plants ample time to develop a strong root system before the high temperatures of mid-summer.

Terra cotta containers dry out very quickly and are not the best choice to grow in during hot periods or when you cannot water consistently.

outdoor container garden


Drought Resistant Vegetables

It is important to consider growing drought resistant vegetables during dry seasons. Below is a collection of drought hardy vegetables.


Mulching in The Garden

Mulching your garden is one of the best things you can do in every season. It helps retain moisture it also works very well at reducing weeds. The grass smothers the weeds and prevents them from growing. The weeds that do manage to grow have very weak root systems and are easily removed. At the end of the season the grass can be tilled in adding nutrients to the soil.

Fresh cut grass is a great option for mulching the garden. It is readily available and will add nitrogen to the soil.  Grass mulched gardens make for a nice clean garden.

Straw is also an option through when selecting straw be sure to use straw that looks free of weeds.

For a deep dive into Mulching be sure to check out this earlier discussion on Mulching, Weeding & Saving Seeds.

Watering In the Garden

It is always important to utilize smart watering practices in the garden no matter what the season temps are. Hand watering is always preferable no matter the weather. It assures you get water exactly where you want it.

Using a soaker hose is a great way to water. It is placed on the soil right up near the roots of the plants. The water comes through the hose and drips into the soil. This places the water right at the roots and avoids evaporation.

Rain barrels are a handy way to collect any rain that falls during the season. They can be placed at the bottom of an eavestroughs as well as in the garden.

It is best to water in the morning or at the end of the day. Morning watering is preferable as it gives the leaves time to dry which helps avoid mildew.

We have a handy Gudie to Irrigation that discussed all of the best practices for water in the garden for all of the option available.

Fertilizer and Compost

Using Fertilizer and Compost in your garden is beneficial during every growing season.

Most soils do not have enough nutrients to grow and maintain healthy plants. And as your garden grows the plants absorb the existing nutrients from the soil. Well-fed plants are healthier, stronger and more resistant to bugs. They also have maximum growth and produce more flowers. That means bumper crops!

We have extensively looked at fertilizer and composting in the garden in this earlier post that goes into find details about what fertilizer and compost is and how to use it in the garden.

For a deep dive into all things compost be sure to check out Composting Methods in the Garden.

Utilizing some of the above-mentioned practices will give you the best chance at a successful garden season when the temperatures and conditions are not favourable.

Published by Redawna

Garden & Food Writer/Educator/Photographer. NFT artist. Management Professional. Community Builder. Entrepreneurial spirit.

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