A reader wanted to know about gardening in the dry Southwest. Watering a garden in the desert isn’t something we hear much about. The best help I could give her was to suggest that she contact her local county ag extension office, since they’d know about gardening practices in her area.
Then I saw an article in the May/June, 2014, “Backwoods Home Magazine” (Issue #147) on using rain water for gardening in the desert, and I thought I should pass it along. Below you’ll find an excerpt and a link where you can see the whole thing. I trust this will be helpful if you live under similar conditions.
Gardening in the desert
using only rainwater
By Joe Mooney
I’ve always found the use of seasonal rains by native peoples very fascinating. From the diversion of floodwaters in earthen berms to irrigation via “aquaduct,” it seemed incredible that people were able to irrigate their crops in the deserts without the use of electricity. Here in southern Arizona, the indigenous peoples used flood waters directed by earthworks to irrigate their seasonal crops, immensely contributing to their production of food beyond the other farming methods that included limited springs and a very few seasonal and year-round streams.
When we first built our house in the rural high desert of southern Arizona, I knew gardening would be a challenge. Not only is water scarce down here, but the prospects of drilling a well in certain areas are grim. Due to the “layered” nature of the subsurface rock in our area, well drilling can be spotty at best. This is not a great thing when you desire to grow some of your own food. And while our small garden did produce food, we didn’t have the water abundance to grow a large patch of corn like I had wanted.
Read the whole article here:
Excerpt used with permission of Backwoods Home Magazine.