Written by Anika Marino, Content Management Intern

As summer approaches, it is becoming more important than ever to maintain some drought-friendly gardening practices. Maintaining gardens that provide food while still being kind to the Earth is especially important in California, where it seems we are in an almost-constant state of drought. Gardening practices as well as the types of produce are key to maintaining a healthy and happy garden in the dry California heat. 

Here are some practices for maintaining the moisture in soil for as long as possible:

  1. Mulching: mulch helps with the temperature, moisture content, and weed control in soil (weeds take water that your plants need to grow, so make sure to get rid of them!), meaning less water is needed to maintain crops.
  2. Try to maintain as much shade as possible. Shade, whether through artificial means or through the plants themselves, provides cover from the sun for your soil, and helps to prevent some evaporation. 
  3. Water carefully — avoid over-watering. If you pick up some soil and squeeze it and it sticks together, then there is no need to water again. If it crumbles apart, then it might be time to water again.

(Click here for more information on drought-friendly gardening practices.)

In addition to certain ways of gardening being good for the drought, there are also some crops that are better for low water environments than others. For example, fruits generally take more water to grow than vegetables.

Some crops that take lower amounts of water are:

  • Okra
  • Beans
  • Summer squashes
  • Herbs

(Click here for more information on plants with low water requirements.)

Stay cool this summer, and happy gardening!


Gilmour – Vibrant Gardens Using Drought Tolerant Vegetables

UC Master Gardener Program of Sonoma County – Food Gardening in a Drought


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