It is common knowledge that one of the essential elements necessary for plant growth is water. Thus, one major determinant considered when setting up your farmland or garden is the availability of water.
However, as important as water is, some vegetables are actually better grown with less need for irrigation. Now, this is excellent news if you happen to live in an area where water is scarce.
Why Practise no Water Vegetable Gardening?
There are many reasons you should practice no-water vegetable gardening, also known as Xeriscape gardening.
Firstly, some crops grow better and turn out sweeter with minimal or no irrigation instead of constant watering.
You may also want a conserving water system due to its scarcity, even if it’s just a temporary change, to adjust to climatic and seasonal changes.
Also, it’s worthy of note that a large percentage of the ecosystem’s water is lost to the atmosphere by agricultural practices like irrigation, primarily through evaporation after watering. So, you would be preserving the ecosystem by being eco-friendly with no water gardening.
Why Do Plants Need Water?
Plants, just like humans, need water to survive. They manufacture their food through photosynthesis, where water absorbed from the plant’s root moves to the chloroplast contained in the leaves exposed to sunlight.
Water also helps to prevent plants from wilting. Nevertheless, too much water in a plant can cause it to rot.
How Much Water Do Plants Need?
The amount of water a plant needs depends very much on the type of plant. While some are very susceptible to excess water, some strive in water-logged areas.
Plants are generally grouped into three based on their resistance to drought, namely:
10 Examples of Vegetable Plants That Thrive With Little or no Water
Quite a number of vegetables, legumes, and herbs grow better and healthier with less water, and if you’re going to have a no-water veggie garden, it’s essential to know which ones.
Typical examples include:
How to Grow No-Water Vegetables
To successfully grow a no water vegetable garden, here are a few tips to know and apply;
Choose The Right Drought Tolerant Vegetable or Crop
As implied earlier, not all plants will grow without enough water. In fact, the majority of crops will wilt and die. So, you have to carefully choose what to grow in that garden of yours with less water.
Most drought-resistant plants are deep-rooted, which helps them retain enough water from the soil. They also have short growth spans.
When planning to purchase your young plant or seeds for planting, be sure to ascertain that the plant is non-resistant to hot or temperate regions.
Other things you’d like to consider before choosing what to plant are;
Having the best possible crops as suits your purpose for gardening is essential to give you maximum output for your efforts at the end of the planting season.
Prepping and Improving Your Soil Type
Another vital thing to put in place is your garden soil. The best soil type for this type of gardening is a mixture of loam and clay (with a slightly higher percentage of clay).
Sandy soil will only allow water to be drained further downwards and losing it to evaporation. You may have to carry out a simple soil test to determine the soil type.
After that, it’s advisable to carry out simple soil procedures like tilling or light harrowing. Tilled soil has a lower tendency to allow leaching of water than ordinary soil.
A great way to further improve the soil to suit your gardening is by using compost to increase moisture-retaining capacity and nutrient composition.
Landscape, Garden Layout, Planting Patterns
Being intentional about the landscape or layout you employ in planting is essential too. It is more efficient to group plants with similar water requirements, so the gardening is less complicated.
Also, using block-style planting instead of the regular rows helps reduce evaporation and creates extra shade. You could as well use terraces to prevent runoff that causes erosion and leaching.
A deep irrigation system layout equally helps train the plants to grow deeper roots and, as a result, make them more drought-resistant.
Target The Right Time to Plant
If you plant at the right time, your crops have higher chances of success, especially if you are planting from the seed stage.
The seeds need enough water to take root, so it is best to plant when rainfall is still considerably frequent. That is, plant in the autumn, and then your vegetables would have gotten deep enough roots to thrive in the summer.
If you cultivate when there’s too little water, they won’t germinate. If you cultivate during the rainy season, then the plants can save up enough water in their roots to see them through the dry summer.
Get Rid of Those Weeds
Weeds are a big nuisance in agriculture and an even bigger problem in your no water vegetable garden. You have to avoid as much competition as possible for your crops to grow well.
You may have to inspect the garden quite regularly, say many times a week, to make sure you get any creeping weeds right out, especially the soil- dehydrating grasses. Else, they take up essential water and nutrients meant solely for your crops.
The most effective way of weeding is by handpicking to pull up the roots and avoid damaging other crops.
Watering your veggies has to be a very well-planned operation in no water gardening. You have to make the most use of natural rainfall and constructed irrigation systems or manual methods.
Make sure to water only when the soil efficiently retains moisture, such as in the mornings. A deep irrigation system also helps keep water in the soil for more extended periods than watering from above the soil.
With good watering techniques employed with limited water volumes, a bountiful harvest is still very much possible even in dry, hot seasons.
Very few agricultural practices have more benefits than mulching your soil surface regularly. Mulching might just be the only differentiating factor between a successful garden harvest and a meager one.
A mulching process involves spreading biodegradable (or sometimes non-biodegradable) material matter like leaves, straw, wood clippings, etc., over the soil’s surface. The biodegradable matter in mulch adds nutrients to soil on decomposition.
It is done necessarily to provide a form of covering, like a blanket, thereby preventing moisture loss via evaporation. Mulching also suppresses weed growth by preventing sunlight, and it has a way of regulating the temperature of your soil.
Mulching is a great way to conserve soil water because it prevents runoff of water and increases soil tilth for more in-depth, healthier root growth.
When applying your mulch to soil, make sure to make it about 3 or 4 inches thick for best results. Also, keep on replacing the mulch material so your garden can look great.
Employing Professional Services
Sometimes you may need an extra hand to make sure you’re doing it right. Or some professional services to help with some expert advice when it comes to your garden specifically.
The point is to try to employ some gardening professionals’ services once a while, and you are good to go.
Using Helpful Technological Equipment
Tech makes almost everything faster, easier, and more efficient. You may want to try installing some upgraded irrigation systems for xeriscape gardening, such as the drip watering system. Or sprinkler timers for scheduling.
Some of this equipment even have rainfall detectors to avoid unnecessary watering when on schedule. It’s always worth the extra cost.
Maximize Morning Sun and Avoid Hot Afternoon Sun
Yes, plants need sunlight to grow. Well, they need water, too, no matter how little. So considering your no-water gardening, you will need to conserve as much water in the plant as you can.
Therefore it is advisable to utilize the morning sun for your gardening as the hot afternoon sun could dry away any little water left in the soil. This would mean using a garden shade to prevent too much sun from entering your garden.
Monitor Soil Dehydration
Make sure to avoid excessive dehydration of plants- these plants can still wilt!. Take note of the plants that need a moderate supply of water and water them. They might be drought-resistant, but they still need a little bit of water to survive. Do not starve them too much.
Also, remember the selected crops are not suitable for excess water. Be careful with how you tilt the watering can; little water saves the day!
Frequently Asked Questions
There are quite a handy number of reasons to go into no water vegetable gardening, and we’ve sure discussed some. It’s all worth it as it prepares the agricultural world ahead for possible challenges man might encounter in the future.
Now you have all you need and more to grow splendid and sumptuous vegetables with little or no watering.
Are you motivated to go into this type of gardening now you have the know-how? Are you already a no-water veggie farmer and have something you’d like to tell or ask us? Feel free to hit the comment section below.