© Dusan Kostic,
In drought-stricken areas like California you have to wonder how can you grow backyard veggies if there are water restrictions.

The answer is simple. Just don't shower, if you do, or take shorter showers. Most of us might have to think about that but Mark Van Horn, director of the Student Farm at UC-Davis says he would rather skimp on a shower then not water his tomato plants.

He says the key is to water your backyard plots as carefully as possible. Water-smart gardens are well planned out. Before you start digging, remember that deep-rooted plants tend to need less water so try things like native beans, tomatoes, melons, squash and asparagus over things like cabbage.

Also, think about how many you will really eat. If you plant excess, you're a water waster.

Compost & mulch

You will want to add compost to your soil as well as mulch. Having your garden beds be composed of at least 2% of compost will help your soil retain a great deal more water. Mulch greatly reduces water loss from evaporation, cutting your irrigation needs by as much as 50%, so smother that soil with a layer of grass clippings, leaves, shredded bark, newspaper or straw.

Remember how your kids used to get growing pains at night? Thats where the big sprouts happen -- at night, so water in the evening. If you water in the morning or midday it will just evaporate.

Squeeze your plants as close together as possible. If you plant them closer you won't need as much water. It also creates a shade over the soil which will help prevent evaporation.

If you really are resourceful you can save the water from that shower you take once a week, or whatever, and reuse it to water your garden. It's called grey water, for obvious reasons. Also rainwater -- if it does ever rain place a few buckets outside and save it.

One type of water you should not save is roof water. It's supposedly not fit for watering edibles.

There are many more ideas on how to grow in a drought a great place for help would be your local cooperative extension to learn more.

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