Too Dry for a Garden

Dry. Warm. Too warm. Too dry. It's not just where I live, but much of the United States is warm and dry. That may be great if you want to play outside in the sun every day, but it's not so good if you want to grow food or flowers, or buy food or flowers that someone else grew.

I've been saving water from rinsing dishes and this and that to water the few things that are popping up. I put it into a bucket just out side the kitchen door and when it gets full I take it out to the garlic or the horseradish, the chives or rhubarb.

It looks like we're having an early spring and the ground is warm enough for them to grow, but it's so dry... but I said that. Keeping things watered may take a lot of creativity this year!

I could grow yucca or cacti, I guess, but that doesn't appeal as a major garden crop.

Other than saving rinse water from the dishes, leftover water and ice cubes from glasses, keeping a bowl under the faucet to catch everything else and praying for rain, what can be done?

If any of you are in a drought condition, give us your tips on survival, please? I don't want to give up the garden, but if it keeps this up, it's going to be very hard to keep it alive.


  1. Worm castings can hold 9 times their weight in moisture. This water capacity is similar to peat moss, mulch, and coconut fiber. You can't use too much, and they won't burn your plants. As well as mixing the castings in when rototilling, I have successfully used castings as mulch and left my garden unwatered for 2 weeks in July and it not only survived but was none the worse for wear. Granted, southwest WA state is not as dry as Colorado but that should give some idea as to how well castings will help hold moisture.

  2. Yep, I agree, worm castings are great and I could use quite a bit, but still, you gotta have water in the first place! At this moment, we're looking at a serious drought here.

  3. Anonymous2:56:00 AM

    I live in East Anglia, in the UK. We are about to start a hosepipe ban because of drought.
    I have a small garden without space for maincrops such as potatoes. However,I do manage to grow most of the rest of my vegetables.
    I try to ensure that as little as possible of any water I put on the plants is lost. I use empty bottles or short lenghts of plastic drain pipe, which I bury in the soil next to the plants. I pour the water into these bottles/pipes so that the water is directed to the roots and none is lost to evaporation.
    While this is not a solution for rows of salad crops etc,it works beautifully for individual plants, such as courgettes,or small groups such as beans that are growing up canes.

  4. If it keeps it up here, I won't use the hose at all, even if they don't ban it altogether (people worship their lawns so I can imagine what an uproar that would cause).

    Thanks for reminding me about using bottles. I've never done it but have read about it. I think this may be the year to try it. My gardens aren't very big, either.

  5. Anonymous7:03:00 AM

    If we settle in this house long term, we hope to invest in a few rain barrels. Of course, the way our luck has been going lately, we don't have any rain gutters at all in the first place. So we'll have more of a financial outlay getting them installed. But it's my understanding they're really quite easy to put in. (aka: easy enough for me, a gal with NO mechanical know-how!)

  6. Rain barrels would work great for my back yard. It's on a slight slope from the house all the way to the back fence, so I could run a hose from near the bottom of them and gravity would do the rest. Unfortunately, unless you don't have a water tap on your property, it's still illegal here to capture rain water. Archaic water laws and illogical "reasoning" have kept that on the books.

  7. plug your bathtub when showering, drain with hose. use a rain barrel. first pee in the morning, have everyone in household pee in a bucket. Fill with 10 times as much water. dump on plants. if say 3 people do that, you have saved on 3 flushes which gives you a little more water for your garden.water in the morning when still cool or the evening after sun has gone down. Have plenty of nutrients in your soil so that you can grow plants more densely. This keeps ground from drying up.