There are many parts of the world where drought is a constant climate, especially during the summer or harsh winters with no rains. Droughts are not exactly a happy time for gardeners because there is so little they can do. With the heat looming, there are several vegetables that you can plant in your vegetable garden without a problem. Choose the right combination of vegetables by paying attention to planting dates, adjusting your irrigation approach, and planning to grow food despite the conditions. Although there are several drought-tolerant vegetable varieties available, extreme drought and heat will kill even the hardiest without some planning. Planting at the right time is critical. Sow seeds earlier in the spring to take advantage of the warm weather and get the growing season off to a flying start, or plant later in the fall to minimize the use of irrigation and use the seasonal rains to your advantage.
Drought-tolerant vegetables add unique colors and textures to your garden, and you can eat them too. So no sacrifices!
Like all plants, vegetables need water to emerge and grow. But once they are established, species that require little water need only minimal extra help from you. The exceptions are when they begin to bear fruit or when we enter another arid period. Cover the soil with mulch to keep the roots cool and retain moisture in the soil. Here are some vegetables that are perfect for drought-tolerant landscapes:
Both bush and climbing beans thrive in drought as long as temperatures don’t rise too high. Snap beans, garbanzo beans, and moth beans are good examples. Children love to grow tri-colored “green” beans.
Several tomato varieties do exceptionally well in drier climates. Early Girl and Roma or cherry varieties are just some of the most popular.
Onions and garlic
Onions and garlic like soft soil because they do most of their work underground. But once you start planting your onion or garlic seeds, a little water is all it takes to keep them thriving.
Both sweet and hot peppers are excellent choices for gardeners who pay attention to their water. After all, where do those famous Hatch green peppers come from? Southern New Mexico. Bell pepper varieties with smaller fruits, such as Baby Belle, require less water. Another member of the bell pepper family that does a beautiful job – and looks great in your garden – is eggplant. Choose one of the mini varieties.
Yes, indeed. Juicy watermelon, honeydew, and cantaloupe melons are easy to grow when rainfall is low. Melons grow on tendrils and are close to the ground. Of all drought-tolerant vegetables, melons contain the most moisture without needing frequent watering.
Summer and winter squash are all excellent choices for your drought-tolerant garden. Italian zucchini varieties, patty pans, cucumbers, spaghetti squash, and decorative gourds are just a few options. And which pumpkin do kids love the most? Pumpkins! Grow vines on a trellis or plant compact bush varieties, which also do well in containers. (As do many other smaller vegetables.)
But that’s not all
Why not grow rhubarb, artichokes, asparagus, chard, or corn? Those are all drought-tolerant, too. So are kitchen herbs like oregano, thyme, rosemary, and sage. Even in dry conditions, your garden can be wonderfully productive if you choose the right vegetables. With the right planning, dry gardens can yield just as much as gardens in areas with lots of water.
All plants need water from time to time. But if you love vegetables, rejoice that you can have the water-conscious garden you need to stay under the limit of your water use and still grow a wide variety of tasty vegetables.