Dry gardening on a grander scale it is also called dry farming. It is a strategy that is used for gardening where irrigation water and rainfall supplies are shortened. The definition of the dry farming is none irrigated agriculture where in a climate only 20 inches of rain fell or less than a year.
We all know that a vegetable requires water to germinate the fruits to grow and plant cells are also made of water. A vegetable needs nutrients and takes them by using soil water, under in this condition where plants get matured because of the lacking of enough water in them.
But the shortage of water and dry conditions are two separate things. If you are living in a dry region where rain falls very little every year and the irrigation is very hard or get rationed, but still you can have a productive vegetable garden of your own.
For those people who don’t know that dry vegetable gardening is a gardening where you use limited water and makes the most of it.
- Some dry farming goals:
There are four goals that you need to set for yourself, if you want vegetables to grow in a dry climate such as,
a) Store the rainfall in the soil to use it for later
b) Choose the right and suitable crops that can grow under the dry and arid conditions
c) Plant and sow the crops where you know there is a limited amount of water
d) In growing season prevent the direct evaporation of the soil moisture.
- Best dry farming techniques:
With these simple practices you can accomplish the goals and will be succeeded as the dry vegetable gardener.
1) Add some organic matter in your garden:
Try to add aged manure and compost. Add at least 1 to 2 inch compost in your garden and twice a year in spring and autumn. This organic matter will help to improve the soils and retain water soils as well.
2) Add decaying leaves around the plants to retain its moisture, block the weeds, and give a steady temperature soil:
Use the aged leaves, straw, grass clippings, compost, newspaper, and pine needles. Try to be careful not to apply the direct compost to the next plants. It can cause the stems to rot. Perhaps mulch will help to protect soils from the sun and drying winds.
3) Never let weeds to grow in your own garden:
Weeds are completed with plants and vegetables using the light, water and nutrients. Always pick 2 to 3 inch weeds that are tall or light. And expose their roots to for drying winds. Never let a single weed to seed in the garden to get multiply.
4) Prepare your garden to capture the rainwater:
Doing cultivation will help to break up the soil and crush it that is caused by irrigation and let new rainfall to seep in soil. Dig the surface from 2 to 3 inch deep that will help you capture the 70 percent of the rainfall. However doing it lightly will crush the soil and dust will get in the rainfall.
5) Dig twice your garden for the soil to get loosen:
Double digging can turn the soil to turn into the sponge. It involves the soil’s length deeper about 12 inches and loose the other 12 inch in the spading fork. Loosen soil will allow the water to seep deeper in the garden and remain plants are needed. It will also allow plant roots to grow stronger and deep. Just remember one thing never digs the soil in the rainfall or it is too much dry. Wait till it is moist. The good time digging the double is in fall.
6) Reduce some number of plants in the garden and make space for them further apart:
The basic dry vegetable gardening concept is that to set plants 1 and half times and it is recommended to seed them in the packets. For example, tomatoes which normally are planted in the 3 feet should be planted a little deeper from 4 or 6 feet. It is very important that the seeds germinate in the normal conditions. So they can receive normal moisture to start a life and grow until they are fully established.
7) Planting earlier can help mature the cultivars:
Many vegetables have cultivars or have quick maturing varieties in them, it has been seen that cultivars plants reach to maturity and harvest sooner than expected. It is simple to use soil moisture in the early season. Growing plants require water in the seasons that allow vegetables to grow in early in the dry time.
8) Plant mini and dwarf cultivars:
Small cultivars have less leaf surfaces which their moisture is called transpiration. Mini and dwarf cultivar produces leaves and fruits of the smaller size and they absorb less water and are called meal size.
9) Seed and Place thinner plants in time:
Seeding thinner plants not more than 1 to 2 inch tall. Leave the big seedling in the place and trim them with scissors to equal their soil level. Weeding is akin to thinning. Select the valuable plants and give them nutrients for growth. If the water is wasted then the plants won’t be succeed.
10) Try to harvest the crops in time:
Take out the crops from their peak and don’t leave them in the garden for long. Their flavor will be enhanced and the crops will deteriorate immediately.
11) If you decide to irrigate then use drip irrigation or soaker hose:
Set in the base of the drip irrigation of the plants where can go quickly in the roots. Try to cover the drip irrigation with straw with some black plastic and place them with a time to see their growth.
12) Infrequently water the plants deeply:
Follow the plants roots moisture. Watering them deeply will allow the water to seep deep down in soil. Try not to get in rush, you can water them in the morning and leave it until leaves dries in the night.
13) Try to capture the rain water using rain gutters:
You can use large garbage can that is placed in the rainspouts. It is used to make compost tea. Combined with water parts It is rich in nutrients that deliver the directly in the plant roots with soluble formation.
14) Use Windbreaks:
You need to protect your garden plants and soil from the drying winds. Using windbreaks, Locate from where winds will come from behind the fence or in hedge. But sunflowers and Jerusalem can grow in the most windbreaks.
15) The basic dry farming method (dust mulching):
Using dirt or dust mulching can dry the soil process that is essential for separating the upper layer of the garden. It is a continuous film of water surrounding the particles. It is in the form of the column moisture in the deepest point where water travels when the weather is warm. It soils becomes more thin and plants may die eventually if the moisture is not sent to them.
The soil cultivation if 2 to 3 inches deep. It disturbs the soil and interrupts its moisture. Which becomes a sort of mulch that protects the below moisture surface and lost some evaporation.
It is the most effective way to do after irrigation. It needs to be done when the soil is interrupting the captivity of the water. Using dirt mulching can also keeps the soil loose and receptive for new irrigation.
16) use stubble mulching:
It protects the soil surface from drying process of the sun and winds. This is an organic method that remains for harvesting the crop in the live green moisture. Not all the previous crops will remove but the planted place will be in the right place. Using stubble mulch is no danger to the crops. It can prevent any hosting insects and disease that can prove threat to the plant family as the crops grow.
17) Full Clear fallow place:
It is used by farmers in the dry region that captures and stores rainwater. The soil is cleared all the time. It seems that the soil is well worked from 18 foot deep. With full clear fallow it can retain 70 percent of the precipitations and sometimes in summer it is done in one year time. Source.