If your summer water bills – or your local government’s water use restrictions – have you doubting your future as a vegetable gardener, take hope. Farmers in dry climates have developed a suite of strategies to grow crops with little to no irrigation. Called dry farming, or dryland farming, these strategies can be adapted to your home garden. So even in the middle of a drought, you can grow your vegetables and shrink your water bill, too. Dryland Farming Dry farming is more closely associated with agriculture than home gardening, it is not a yield maximization strategy, so it is not widespread or even well studied. As a result, you will find several different definitions for dry farming. Technical sources define dry farming as “crop production during a dry season, usually in a region that receives at least 20 inches of annual rainfall.” They tend to distinguish it from unirrigated or rainfed (growing during the rainy season) agriculture. Even if your garden doesn’t meet the definition, dry farming strategies can be effectively applied to your vegetable garden. Four overarching principles of dry farming are: Store rainfall in the soil. Choose drought-tolerant crops. Space plants far apart. Prevent evaporation of […]

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