Growing Food Without Water

August 10, 2016

in Food

When we plant vegetables in a small home garden, we often take for granted that there will be an unlimited supply of water available and we can water the plants whenever they need it. In many emergency scenarios, the public water supply will not be available. There are two obvious remedies for this:

  • Plant drought resistant vegetables – this is variable according to location and weather, but there are some good reference lists available to pick from:

    Drought Tolerant Vegetable Varieties

    12 Common Drought Tolerant Vegetables

    5 Tips For a Bountiful, Water-Saving Vegetable Garden in a Time of Drought

    Drought Tolerant Vegetables

    What to Grow through Very Hot Summers

    Common elements in these lists are: most varieties of peas and beans, peppers, okra, eggplant, cucumber, some melons, some forms of squash, swiss chard and some varieties of other greens, and some varieties of tomato.

    Depending upon your environment, plants like purslane and amaranth that are normally considered targets for foraging may also be good choices for cultivating.

    Most “Aggie” type universities have excellent agricultural reference sites with local oriented information.

  • Use rain collection for garden watering – this usually means collecting rain from the roof in gutters and then in rain barrels. Using a drip irrigation system fed from the rain barrels is the simplest means of distribution but it requires an elevation drop from the barrel to the drip hose. It’s also important to include the water use from the barrels in emergency planning for drinking water. Any water used in the garden is not available for drinking.

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