Get #watersmart with your vegetable garden! Urban Roots believes gardens are a tool to not only engage students in science and get them excited to learn, but also encourages healthy eating. In a place like Reno, with a short growing season and a dry climate, growing food can be a particular challenge. But with a little research and planning, you can still grow your own food and limit your water use!
1. Soil. Well-amended soil with lots of organic compost will trap moisture and encourage deep roots. Mulch keeps down weeds and retains moisture in the soil.
2. Choose your plants carefully. Some common garden plants require more water than others. Do a little research and use drought-tolerant plants. Jerusalem artichoke, Swiss chard, and peppers all need low amounts of water. Herbs like oregano, thyme, and sage, and rosemary grow well in our high desert climate and can usually come back year after year. Other crops, like corn, may not seem water-wise but there are drought-tolerant varieties that are a good choice this year. Consider ‘Hopi Pink’ corn, ‘Green Striped Cushaw’ squash, and ‘Iroquois’ cantaloupe.
3. Planting. Different veggies have different water requirements. Plan your garden out to group your vegetables that require similar water needs.
4. Watering. Plant now so your plants can establish their roots before the heat of summer truly arrives. Drip irrigation and deep watering ensures that water gets where it needs to be and limits water waste through evaporation. With careful planting and smart watering, you can enjoy a home garden and reduce your water use!