We know already that it’s gonna be a long hot summer. And (despite LA Times misleading headlines) Southern California is STILL in extreme drought conditions. That means we’ve got to adapt our gardens.
Here’s what I’m doing at mine:
Ollas. Burried unglazed clay pots that you fill with water and they slowly ooze moisture into the root zone where your plants really need it. Here’s how to build my cheap homemade flowerpot ollas.
Pit gardening. For some years now, I’ve been gardening in sunken beds. That means everything is planted in a water-catching basin. Now I’m going even more extreme with pit gardening. I’ll post greater detail about that soon.
Plant selection. Here in SoCal we have soooo many plant choices. I don’t try to “push” seasons to gain “the earliest tomato” or whatever. I go with the flow. And the flow right now means planting things that can take the extreme heat that’s coming. For a plant list, see my “What to Plant When in Southern California” which is available as a pdf download, or is the core of my Android app VegGarden365.
Planned shade. I’ve been planting trees and large shrubs in strategic locations to create shady spots on my property. I also use shade devices like trellising vining beans and planting behind them, or installing temporary shadecloth and shade netting overhead.
Garden sink. My greywater systems are an important part of reusing water on my property. One of the best water reusing features I have is our garden sink. You can read about the “generation one” garden sink here. Garden sink “generation two” is shown in photo to right.
Preparing for summer heat. I’ve made new curtains with a mylar liner for one of the biggest windows in my home. Here’s my post on what else I do to prepare for summer heat.