27 Drought Tolerant Vegetables (And How to Grow)

We cannot underestimate the effects of climate change. Drought, specifically, has drastically reduced food sources.

Many vegetables that we depend on can’t survive the extended dry seasons. Fortunately, there are still drought-tolerant vegetables you can rely on.

These drought-tolerant vegetables are adapted to survive long periods of no rain in different ways.

However, you still need to support them for better yields. In this post, we will list such vegetables and tips on how to grow them. Read on!

27 Drought Tolerant Vegetables

27 Drought Tolerant Vegetables

Drought tolerant vegetables are known for their resilience in springing long periods of no rains.

There are different varieties you can consider. They have specialized features to withstand the scorching suns and low soil moisture.

Some drought-tolerant vegetables for hot and dry climates include the following:

  • Beans (all varieties, pole and dry beans)
  • Cantaloupe
  • Okra
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Melon
  • Pepper (all varieties)
  • Sweet Potato
  • Tomatillo
  • Jicama
  • Corn
  • Squash (Winter and Summer)
  • Watermelon
  • Heatwave II tomatoes
  • Rhubarb
  • Arugula
  • Chard
  • Turnips
  • Endive
  • Garlic
  • Leeks
  • Cabbage
  • Onions
  • Spinach
  • Asparagus
  • Woody Herbs (Rosemary, Thyme, Sage, Oregano)
  • Beets

Characteristics of Drought Tolerant Veggies

Characteristics of Drought Tolerant Veggies

Why are some vegetables more adapted to drought than others?

It’s all about the features of the plants that make them minimize transpiration while taking as much moisture from the soil as possible. They are characterized by the following:

  • Some plants, such as wheat and oats, close their stomata in the morning to conserve moisture. With that, less water is lost through transpiration. Their stomata remain closed throughout the day.
  • Soybeans, for example, deposit lipids on the leaf surface during the dry season to reduce water losses through transpiration.
  • Some vegetables have reduced leaf area exposed to sunlight, allowing them to conserve water.
  • Drought tolerant vegetables have an efficient root system to maximize water uptake. Their roots can go deeper, form an extensive network, penetrate the soil, and grow towards water sources.
  • Some veggies for hot and dry areas have a high root to foliage ratio that reduces the rate of transpiration. The plants can also initiate a low osmotic potential to increase water uptake.

6 Tips To Grow Drought Tolerant Vegetables

6 Tips To Grow Drought Tolerant Vegetables

Growing vegetables in hot and dry areas are not the same as in places with adequate rainfall.

When living in a location with scarce rainfall, you have to up your game in growing vegetables for you to survive. There are 6 tips you can use to have a good harvest, which includes the following:

Paying Attention To Planting Times

The time you plant your vegetables will make all the difference. Most vegetables, such as tomatoes, require a lot of water during the early stages before maturity.

When they mature, they can survive the water scarcity and scorching sun.

Also, young vegetables or seedlings are less resilient to the scorching sun. So, consider planting just before the summer starts.

Many homesteaders living in the hot and dry areas start their planting in late spring. That’s the time you should also plant your lettuce, peas, radishes, beets, onions, garlic, broccoli, spinach, and some other plants in the brassica family.

Mature vegetables are more likely to survive the summer heat, unlike young ones that can wilt and die.  

Plan On Amending Your Soil  

Soil amending is crucial if you want to increase their survival chances during the dry season.

It involves improving the soil’s physical properties such as water retention, permeability, drainage, texture, etc. How do you do it? There are two ways you can amend your soil, which include:

Incorporate High-Quality Organic Material

Adding organic matter such as compost manure to your seedbed will significantly improve its water retention ability.

You only need about 2% of compost mixed with your garden soil to achieve that. Such organic matter also improves the soil texture, making it ideal for growing different vegetables.

Thick Layer Of Organic Mulch

Mulching will help in conserving soil moisture. With the ground covered, there will be minimal evaporation.

That means the soil will have enough water to support the growth of vegetables for longer.

Add about a 3-4-inch layer of organic mulch to your garden beds. You can use grass clippings, straw, or any other dry matter as mulch.

Mulching also helps to smother weeds and release nutrients in the soil once they decompose. That means you will not need to add fertilizer for the subsequent plantings.

Buy Young Plants Instead of Starting Your Garden from Seeds

Frequent watering is required for young plants. It may also take time to wait for the seeds to germinate and grow into mature vegetables.

You can save yourself from the water problems or long wait by starting your garden with seedlings.

Seedlings that have been hardened off will adapt better to the harsh conditions in your garden bed and take a shorter time to maturity.

If you start your garden with seeds, you can consider vegetable varieties that don’t take much time to mature.

Planting In Rows, Raised Beds in Enclosed Areas

Creating raised beds is the simplest method of conserving soil moisture. You may combine it with double or triple digging your beds.

That simply entails digging about two to three shovels deep. The soil will be more aerated and contain more moisture for a long time.

The plants will penetrate through the loose soil particles easily to reach.

Also, think of providing shades to your vegetables. You can do that by planting trees around your garden bed or simply enclosing the areas around the plant clusters.

Growing your vegetables closely together will also help create shady conditions that limit water evaporation from the soil.

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Grouping Vegetables According To Their Watering Requirements

If you want to water your vegetables, it’s better to group them according to their water requirements. It will help you to use the water efficiently and get a good harvest.

Different vegetable varieties have varying water requirements. Some don’t need as much water as others to grow and produce the fruits or foliage.

When growing vegetables, whether on a large scale or small scale, do your research.

Group vegetables that need more water together. Similarly, those that need moderate and low water should be grouped separately.

By doing so, you will not overwater or underwater any of your veggies, leading to efficient water utilization.

Plan A Drip System

Plan A Drip System

Installing a drip irrigation system on the seedbeds should be the last option. That’s because it’s the most expensive method and requires maintenance.

But if you can afford it, drip irrigation is the best method for growing all types of vegetables all year round.  

Irrigation should be done early in the morning or late in the evening. Little evaporation occurs, and much of the water is used by the plants.

You also need to water more when the plants are still young and gradually reduce as they near the maturity stage.

A drip system is also recommended over other irrigation systems because it saves water and reduces the chances of fungal diseases. Water is supplied only to the root zones of the crops.

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Growing vegetables is advisable as a means of survival when living off the grid. Knowing the variety to grow is also crucial to ensure the best yields.

Choose drought-tolerant vegetables if you live in hot and dry areas. And using tips discussed in this article, you can have food for yourself and your family.

We thank you for your time at the Em Offgrid. Kindly share this article to help other off grinders in dry areas grow vegetables.