Drought conditions aren’t exactly what most people are looking for if they are trying to grow food to survive. The thing is, you never know when you’re going to have to deal with drought conditions, and, so, if one occurs while you’re in a long-term survival situation (or you’re trying to farm at your bug out location in the desert areas of the southwestern United States), then it’s useful to know what plants can grow during these dry conditions.
The first thing to know is that corn is not the choice that you want to make. Corn uses a lot of water for it’s quick growth cycle and doesn’t handle dehydration well. You may be able to grow crops that prefer cooler weather during the early spring or early fall such as leafy greens, carrots, peas, or cabbage.
Also, certain varieties of tomatoes can handle prolonged higher temperatures and lack of water relatively well. If you plant during the early part of the season, you can plant tomato varieties that produce fruit early, and you may still have good results.
Ideally, though, look for plants that are native to drier climates. Jacki Andre gives these recommendations:
Tepary beans, black-eyed peas, and lima beans all perform well in drought conditions. Tomatillos and jicamas, both native to Mexico, are other star performers during droughts.
Other vegetables that can perform well in a hot, dry garden include:
- Okra, especially Gold Coast, Stewart Zeebest and Beck’s Big Buck varieties.
- Eggplant, especially Listada de Fandia, Black Beauty and Ping Tung Long varieties.
- Peppers, especially Carolina Wonder, Charleston Belle and Aji Dulce varieties.
- Cucumbers, especially Little Leaf H-19, Ashley and Suyou Long varieties.
- Both winter and summer squash, especially Moschata, Tromboncino, Waltham Butternut and Dark Star varieties.
- Melons of all types, including cantaloupe and watermelon.
- Asparagus and rhubarb, which are both perennials that can handle drought once established.
Larry Cipolla also recommends broccoli, garlic, leeks, onions, squash, and sweet potatoes.
With that kind of variety available to you, with just a little planning, you can certainly find a variety of crops to grow to satisfy the widest palette.
What plants do you plan to grow during dry seasons? Tell us below.