Choosing veggies that don't need as much water in summer

Hi All,

so i am so late to all this for 2020 but I have been wondering if you guys have suggestions for what i can grow if I won't have much time to water in the high season, or may be away for longer stretches. I may be trying to help my mom out and won't be here as much this summer to water our rented plot, and I don't think tomatoes are a great idea for that. There is one gardener in the community I could ask to help water (and eat the tomatoes) while I'm away but not sure about doing that yet. I was also thinking in general maybe to do do less tomatoes and cucumbers that need daily watering in the summer bc the plot is like a 24 minute round trip drive and it cost me a lot of energy to run up there every day...also to check for the worms and bugs etc.

Thanks os much in advance!


  • Sandy, thanks so much!! That is awesome. I will have to see about all this. The book sounds like a dream!! I'll have to ask permission with the museum that rents the plots. It's one plot - 4 by 8 sq feet - and I don't know if they will allow anything.

    At this point I don't even know how much we'll be able to access the plot at all - it's open now but many places have closed around here, but for now the access road is open, praise God.....who knows what will happen.

  • edited March 2020

    Growing with less water is my specialty here in the Arizona desert. :smile:
    Ollas are great for slow watering over time. This book has lots of ideas for watering: (Gardening With Less Water by David A Bainbridge) and if you duckduckgo(I don't like google) "how to make an olla" you will find lots of diy options. I'm developing a drip olla system so I only have to fill a large bucket with water (or hook it to a gutter in my case) and then be watered for weeks.
    That being said, native americans were gardening with just rain for a long time before we came up with our fancy irrigation systems. I created a rain garden last summer and grew a Hopi Casaba melon purchased from They have lots of amazing drought tolerant seeds, including melons, tomatoes and more. I don't know about your region, but with enough mulch a lot of things can thrive without additional water for a long time.
    Tepary beans get stressed with too much water, so they like dry spells.
    a good ground cover plant like cowpeas or sweet potatoes can help shade the ground and limit evaporation (again, I don't know what area you are in, but those do well here). Plants with a deep tap root (mesquite trees are an example here) will actually help draw the water up from deeper in the ground and help the other plants.
    The Ted talk by Brad Lancaster as well as the rest of this site: are a great resource for saving water (some more applicable than others in a rented plot).

    That's a start with some of the things I've learned. If it were me, I'd start with the book I mentioned at the top and get some low tech irrigation in place so you don't have to go up so often, or find out how much rain you can anticipate and just get plants that are content with that(here we have a dry summer and wet summer so we plant different things for each).

    Hope that's helpful. Let me know if you have more questions or details!

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