Magazine article Sunset

In the Sunset Garden

Magazine article Sunset

In the Sunset Garden

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

KNOW-HOW

Veggies in dry times

Can you still grow summer edibles, even during a drought? Yes--just plan carefully. Here's how we do it in our Test Garden.

KEEP BEDS SMALL Plant only as many crops as you'll eat. Our curved raised bed, measuring 16 feet long and barely 4 feet wide, contains eggplant, peppers, pole beans, basil, sage, one zucchini, and an artichoke.

AMEND THE SOIL To improve its water retention, we mixed a 6-inch layer of compost into the soil before planting.

MULCH Organic mulch (leaves, straw, or bark) can cut water use in half by reducing evaporation. We covered the soil with a 3-inch layer of bark chips.

TARGET WATERING Drip irrigation is far more efficient than sprinklers at getting moisture to plant roots. We used '/4-inch tubing with emitters predrilled every 6 inches, and watered our plants deeply twice a week for 45 minutes. Soaker hoses work well too. …

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