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Farming Without Water? It’s Possible and Tasty

Farming Without Water? It’s Possible and Tasty

Everyone knows water and sunlight are essential to gardening, but what’s a farmer in a drought-struck area to do? Amazingly, some farmers have found a way to grow crops without the H2O and the results are remarkably tasty.

As NPR reports, the technique is known as dry farming. Dry farmers intentionally limit the amount of water they provide to their crops. Though some water is needed in the first few weeks to get the plants going, after that, the farmers cut the supply off entirely.

Surprisingly, withholding the water doesn’t kill the produce. Instead, it forces the baby plants to grow vines that go incredibly deep into the soil. These vines are searching for a water source, and soil tends to retain moisture throughout the year.

Consumers in the know have been flocking to dry farmed products and not just because they enjoy the conservation aspect. They find the food grown in this manner to be sweeter and have more flavor than their traditionally watered counterparts.

In California, farmers in rain-free areas dry farm products like tomatoes, potatoes, grapes, apples and melons. The harvest does well not only at local supermarkets, but also in distant places where shoppers have acquired the taste for dry farmed goods but cannot find it grown locally due to rainfall. As a result, dry farmers admit they have trouble producing a supply to meet the current demand.

One downside to dry farming is the crops’ limited harvest. Though the un-watered plants may prove more flavorful, their production is drastically reduced. Farmers estimate that, per acre, they grow anywhere between 3 to 10 times less food than they would if they watered their crops instead.

Moreover, dry farming also requires a lot of upkeep. While farmers may save time by not watering, they generally till the top of the soil throughout the year until it reaches a dusty consistency. In doing so, the farmers prevent the moisture from escaping through the surface.

For these reasons, dry farming is currently more of a labor of love than a road to profits. Nonetheless, it shows that even places with limited water resources can grow crops. Perhaps with more experimentation, dry farmers can find ways to yield more of their sweet-tasting produce, while simultaneously tackling the problem of many across the world going without food and water.

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145 comments

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12:50AM PDT on Oct 9, 2013

thanks

2:17AM PDT on Sep 28, 2013

Wow great article! I think this is best way to do farming. Also to my opinion, whatever may be the business, it is only successful if it is done intelligently and with full handwork.

Suraj Components Pvt. Ltd.

4:37AM PDT on Sep 23, 2013

Cool :)

3:55PM PDT on Sep 19, 2013

thanks!

11:57AM PDT on Sep 15, 2013

Awesome! Thanks for sharing!!

7:38AM PDT on Sep 15, 2013

that's evolution through survival. seeing how fast humans are destroying the earth, its perhaps the better way to go.

5:53AM PDT on Sep 15, 2013

cool technique

4:19AM PDT on Sep 13, 2013

Awesome.

10:00PM PDT on Sep 12, 2013

thanks

8:54PM PDT on Sep 11, 2013

I would be interested to know what are good plants to grow with limited water. It would seem some plants would do better than others.

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