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California Drought 2014: Organic gardening and the impact of the coming drought

When most people consider drought, they think of the impact upon nature. Forest fires tend to run rampant in the dry, summer months, and the California drought 2014 is set to be one of the worst droughts in the state's 163-year history. However, we also worry about the health of our plants as gardeners during dry times like these. However, dry weather doesn't mean you should give up on your garden. In fact, you might discover some new foods as you get acquainted with drought hardy plants.

Despite the recent rains, California is headed into a drought for 2014. Population growth, expanding cities, and global warming are all beginning to take their toll. Has California reached the limits of what it is capable of sustaining?
David Stillwell
Summer 2013
David Stillwell

Drought Hardy Plants to Fill your Garden

Sacramento sits in a Mediterranean Climate Zone. This means that native plants here are used to not having much rain from March through October. Fall of 2013 stretched those tolerances thin as the lack of rain pushed past 2013 and into 2014. As you plan your garden this spring, think about the choices of plants, and opt for plants that require less water, can do well with increased heat, and are still great to eat. While melons provide plenty of moisture as a snack, they'll also do well in the California drought 2014. Tomatoes of all varieties and herbs with woody stems are especially hardy so you can rest assured when planting them in your garden this year. You can also spice up your dinners with garlic, which should survive the drought.

Asparagus is one of those drought hardy plants that requires minimal effort. Plant it one one area that you tend on a yearly basis, and it can last up to two decades. Rhubarb is similar to asparagus in that it pays off well in the long run.

Here are some other vegetables to consider for your garden:

  • Sweet corn
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Sweet or hot peppers
  • New Zealand spinach
  • Pumpkins and squash
  • Okra
  • Leeks
  • Onions
  • Cucumbers
  • Cabbages
  • Sun King Hybrid broccoli
  • Bush and pole beans

Some plants aren't going to stand up to drought all season long, but you can still salvage them if you harvest early. For example, leafy lettuce varieties are good if you catch your crop early.

Sacramento Organic Gardening Tips

It may be smarter to pay more attention to your garden so that you can feed yourself and family from your organic garden without paying the high prices grocery stores will charge for produce during a drought.

Mulching helps to keep plants cool and drying while compost is also beneficial during a drought. You can collect used water from pasta in your home to water your garden. Cut back on weeding your garden because this causes soil to dry more quickly.

Drought Changes Watering Methods

Limits for Sacramento organic gardening during drought have recently been announced by the city. The city is in what it calls its "Stage 2" water-usage plan. The plan hopes to curb usage of water by 20 to 30 percent. There are now limitations posed on washing your car as well as an increase in fines for wasting water.

A drought also changes watering methods of gardeners. In Sacramento, you can only water your garden one day per week until March 9th. The city will allow two watering days per week after March 9th and until the end of daylight sayings. Watering days are determined by your address. If you have an odd address, you may water your plants on Saturday. Homeowners with even addresses are required to only water their plants and yards on Sunday. Additionally, you will only be able to water your garden before 10 a.m. or after 7 p.m.

Sacramento organic gardening rules do take into consideration new potter plants or landscaping, which you can water 21 days after planting to ensure the health of the plants. In addition to these requirements, the city offers suggestions to save water, including adjust sprinkler levels to prevent over spraying, which also helps your garden. Sprinklers are especially wasteful of water during a drought because water evaporates while in the air. Hoses and watering cans are better

Avoid Fines During the California Drought 2014

Don't be one of the building owners who tries to ignore limitations. The city of Sacramento has serious penalties for water usage violations.

Your first offense results in a written notice.
Second offenses result in $25 fines.
Third offenses result in $100 fines.
Fourth violations result in $500 fines.
Change your watering methods to save water and money.

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