Tips to help your garden get through drought

Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 08/09, 2016 at 08:51 AM

Tips to help your garden get through drought

With a little effort, you can help plants thrive during a drought.

As a glance at most lawns will tell you, we’re currently in a drought. The data backs that up. State College is currently experiencing its third-driest summer, second-driest year, and is in a moderate drought area as per the United States Drought Monitor.

A drought is about the biggest challenge a gardener can face, with few exceptions. Drought-stressed plants are not healthy plants, so along with the real danger of them dying, they also have reduced yields and are susceptible to disease. Water is vital, and if your garden isn’t getting it naturally, you need to take steps to make sure it gets what it needs. Here’s some tips to help your garden quench its thirst on dry days…

- Remember that deep watering is best: You know those smiling people in the big box store commercials waving the hose sprayer around their garden? They’re doing it wrong. If you water this way, what you’re actually doing is settling the dust…and introducing the possibility of fungal disease and weak, shallow roots. It is much better to water deeply once a week than it is to wet the ground on a daily basis. Do research into furrow and/or drip irrigation; you’ll have healthier plants.

- Mulch!: Mulching your garden will help it retain moisture, and keep the soil cooler. As far as what to use, leaves, grass, or commercial mulch works fine. An added benefit is it adds nutrients to the soil as the mulch material breaks down. Use 2-3 inches of mulch around your vegetable plants.

- Save the rain: Saving what rain falls is vital during a drought. A rain barrel is a good investment, which uses the downspouts of your house to gather the rain that falls and store it for later use.

- Get creative: Save the water that you run from the tap while you’re waiting for it to heat up or cool down. During water restrictions, if you have a stream paralleling your property you can pump water from it into your garden. You can use what’s known as a “trash pump” to pump the water, and use either the drip irrigation or furrow irrigation method. You really only need a 1/2 horsepower pump to get enough water for a garden.

Tags: gardening | drought |

{name} Author: Jamie Oberdick

Bio: Editor, Local Food Journey | Passionate about supporting local food in Central PA

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