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4 Drought-Tolerant Varieties to Plant Amid Water Scarcity

Water scarcity is becoming a growing issue. Long, recurring droughts are increasingly prevailing in the food and agriculture world. It has increased the cost of groceries and reduced farmer yields.

Kritika Madhukar
Persimmons can grow in a variety of soil types
Persimmons can grow in a variety of soil types

NASA scientists claim that the last two decades have seen some of the driest conditions on record. Furthermore, recent federal data show that more than half of all states are experiencing moderate or severe drought.

The ongoing water crisis is a good time for avid gardeners, to reconsider which crops to plant. Some plants, such as rice, almonds, and citrus, require an abundance of water to thrive. Others, known as drought-tolerant crops, require very little water. So, if you're running low on water, don't let it stop you from growing. 

There are a variety of crops that require little to no water. Delve deeply into our guide, which outlines various planting options.

Grapes

Grapevines can survive for extended periods without water, once they have established long, deep root systems. They must be planted in an area that receives seven to eight hours of direct sunlight per day. 

Grapes tend to favor well-draining, sandy, loamy soil. Avoid planting near areas that collect water after it rains, as these plants do not tolerate wet conditions well.

Mustard Greens

Mustard greens, also recognized as curly or curled mustard, mustard spinach, Indian mustard, or leaf mustard, are known for their peppery flavor that bites like a radish. 

Plant your mustard greens in rich, loamy soil that drains well and has a pH of 6.5 to 6.8. They also thrive in areas with full sun or partial shade. Each week, mustard greens will require one to two inches of water.

Okra

As a staple in many southern dishes, it should be unsurprising that okra can withstand high temperatures and can survive without a lot of water. Hill Country Heirloom Red, Gold Coast, and Jing Orange are examples of some drought-tolerant varieties of okra.

Okra grows best in full sunlight. Plant it in sandy, well-draining, organic-rich soil. Add one inch of water per square foot, once a week. 

Persimmon

A persimmon may appear to be an orange tomato at first glance, but this fruit is treasured for its smooth texture and sweet, tangy flavor. Persimmons can grow in a variety of soil types, but the best is well-draining loamy soil that is neutral or slightly acidic with a pH of 6.0 to 7.5. We recommend planting a tree over seedlings or seeds for the best results and to reduce immediate water needs.

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