Growing vegetables in dry conditions
It's been insanely hot this summer and my vegetables are starting to suffer. But don't get too discouraged yet. There are plenty of things you can do to be successful even if you're growing vegetables in dry conditions.
This summer has proven to be very challenging. It's so hot and dry here in Sweden that even bushes and trees seem to suffer from heat stroke. Looking out the window at the brown, dry mess outside is really disheartening. Many of the best spots outside are so dry that the vegetables simply can't survive. Do you have the same problem in your garden too?
I have a few tips for those of you who want to do something about the drought and hopefully get a good harvest despite the weather. These are my six best tips for growing vegetables in dry conditions:
This might just be the most important thing you can do when you're growing vegetables in dry conditions. Put the mulch on top of the soil between the plants, make sure the layer is around four inches thick. You can use old grass clippings, leaves or any plant parts you might have around. The mulch prevents the moist from evaporating and it will also break down into nutritious soil right there where the vegetables grow. This will help the vegetables survive those horrible dry spells.
2. Grow in the shade
You can grow plenty of leafy greens in shady spots. The soil stays nice and moist here and you can start sowing lettuce, parsley and beets here in summer to get a nice harvest of little leaves. Dill, some cabbages and mangold can thrive in shady spots too.
3. Be smart about watering
Make sure that the soil really absorbs the water. You can use pots and buckets to water your plants if you don't have any other irrigation system in place.
More about watering:
- Drip irrigation is a great tool that you can use in your greenhouse and your beds outside.
- Water your beds with a watering can rather than a sprinkler.
- Water at night to prevent the water from evaporating (especially on sunny days.)
- Use a LOT of water in your regular beds, raised pallet collar beds and pots. Wait a few minutes after adding the water and then put one finger in the soil to make sure that the soil absorbed the water properly. Add more if needed.
4. Grow in the "trenches"
Sow and plant between the ridges in your beds. These little trenches are very easy to water with a watering can and the soil here will stay moist.
5. Protect your vegetables!
Make sure to protect the vegetables growing in sunny spots in your garden by adding a row cover or some thin fabric on top. This will help the soil stay moist and protects the plants from the strong sun.
We can't grow everything we want when it's really hot and dry outside. So, try to think about which vegetables you want to go for. It's really difficult to succeed with thirsty vegetables like lettuce, turnip, corn and broccoli if the soil is too dry. The vegetables will grow slowly and the drought can affect the taste too. This is especially true for lettuce and turnip. So, try to find a few favorites and let go of your expectations for the rest. Prioritizing is everything when you're growing vegetables in dry conditions!
More about growing vegetables in summer:
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