The efficient use of water marks summer gardening tips in drought areas. You do not have to give up your summer vegetable gardening just because there are watering restrictions in effect. Five gardening secrets spell out just how you might accomplish this feat.
Reconsider Your Flowerbeds
Do you still plant your veggies in rows? In drought areas this practice no longer works. The Colorado State University Extension recommends that you forgo this practice in favor of planting in blocks. The experts explain that block plantings create automatic shade for shallow roots while cutting down on evaporation.
Mulch around Plants with Shallow Roots
Most vegetable plants and ornamentals have shallow roots. The same is true for trees and shrubs that you planted in the last 24 months. Ground bark, shredded leaves and other organic mulches prevent the soil from drying out quickly after a good watering. Since most vegetables need full sun to grow and produce, this is particularly crucial.
Snake the Soaking Hose
Summer vegetable gardening and the installation of a soaking hose underneath the mulch should go hand in hand. Rather than creating a run-off, you are sending the water where it is needed: to the roots. When you employ this method, set your alarm clock – or your automatic watering station – for an early morning wake up. Watering just before sunrise is an ideal time since it allows surface water to dry off before the sun has fully risen, which prevents burns.
Quit Watering the Kentucky Bluegrass Lawn
A little bit of water is worse than no water. Commit to watering deeply when permitted. If you live in one of the drought areas where only brief intervals of watering can be done once or twice a week, let the Kentucky bluegrass go dormant. Avoid mowing the lawn and cut down on using it. Yes, it will go brown.
Yet, if you have true Kentucky bluegrass, it should come back when the watering restrictions are lifted and you are once again permitted to water. The trick here is to prevent the formation of a shallow root system, which is often the case with frequent short-term watering. A lawn with a deep root system can withstand the occasional drought.
Protect Against Wind and Weeds
Nothing dries soil out more quickly than summer wind and growing weeds. The former takes the moisture right out of the ground while the latter will compete with your desired plants for the available moisture. Maximize your plants’ survival potential by weeding frequently.
By the way, choosing the right vegetables to grow in drought areas is just as important as protecting their roots. Tree Hugger experts suggest the planting of okra, peppers, Swiss chard and Armenian cucumbers.