10 Tips for Gardening in Dry Weather

Here in the foothills of western NC, we have been blessed with evening showers
that have helped to make this August much more bearable than the usual
Sahara-like conditions we are subject to this time of year.
Dry, hot, sticky weather is the norm….
July and August are bad words in my house.

There’s nothing more disappointing than laying out a beautiful garden,
only to watch it wither and dry in the summer heat. 
Here are some ways that we nurture our garden during dry weather.

10 Tips for Gardening in Dry Weather:

 1. Water early or late 
Morning time is best because moisture doesn’t sit on the leaves & encourage disease.

Water on kale

2.  Mulch
Helps to hold moisture, shade roots, promote a steady soil temperature and block weeds.  Used leaves, straw, or pine needles make wonderful mulch.  In the fall we gather fallen leaves to add to our compost and to mulch our beds. 

  pine needles2

3. Healthy soil
Speaking of organic matter, your soil needs a lot of it.  Add leaves, aged manure, aged compost, whatever you choose for your garden.  We add ours in the spring and fall.  This will improve the nutrient quality of your soil and aid in water retention.

  working garden beds

4.  Use a drip hose (get yours here)
By watering at the base of the plant, you are getting more water to the roots, reducing water loss thru evaporation, and reducing the amount of moisture left on the leaves, which can encourage disease.

5.  Water deeply
Strong, deep roots are vital to healthy plants.  Watering deeply encourages roots to follow the moisture further into the earth, rather than remain at the surface of the soil where they are more susceptible to heat and drought. 

deep roots

6.  Water as needed, not on a set schedule
This kind of goes hand-in-hand with watering deeply.  By watering a few times each week, you encourage deeper root growth.  Plants in containers will require more frequent watering.  Reduce your watering when rainfall is abundant (obviously).  Too much water can be as detrimental to plants as too little.

7.  Watch an “indicator plant”
Certain plants, such as cucumbers and squash, lose moisture more quickly through their larger leaves.  Watching these plants for signs of thirst is a great way to prevent your soil from becoming too dry.  This melon is saying “Good gosh woman, put down the camera and grab the hose!”

wilted melon leaf

8.  Water for your garden type-raised beds and containers
Raised beds and container gardens heat up and dry out more quickly and require more frequent watering.

container garden

  Raised bed garlic

9.  Keep well weeded
Because weeds compete with other plants for nutrients and water, it’s important to keep them at a minimum so that your crops can thrive.  It’s a struggle to keep grass in the pastures, but lordy how it thrives in my garden!

Weeds

10.  Use a rain barrel (get yours here)
Why run up you water bill, or put stress on your well, if you have natural resources available to you?  Place a rain barrel (or trash can with mesh screen on top to filter out debris) under your gutter to collect rain and water your garden naturally , for FREE-my favorite price 🙂

Usually, if you pay close attention, your garden will tell you what it needs.
What are some ways that you have maintained your gardens during dry spells?
Share in the comments section below!

Tips for gardening in dry weather

Caitlin (1)

DISCLOSURE-

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