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Dry farming is an ancient technique that is derived from the Mediterranean region of Europe and involves deep rooted food crops that are trained to grow on retained subsurface water without regular supplemental irrigation. The technique requires an annual rainfall of 10-12 inches, soil with good water holding capacity, mulching, and specialized digging methods to create a soil bed depth of 12-24 inches, depending on the crop.
Dry farming is an alternative gardening method for the home gardener who is concerned about water usage. Although it results in a lower crop yield and smaller fruit size, vegetables that are sown are sweeter tasting. Vegetables that have been planted include: tomato (paste or potato leaf varieties work best), watermelons (small, short season varieties), cantaloupe, winter squash (Acorn, Kabocha, Spaghetti, Butternut, Hubbard), and pumpkins (smaller to medium varieties)
. An added benefit is that gardens that are dry-farmed require minimal weeding and maintenance.
The dry farming plot is watered once a week until June and then no further irrigation is provided.