The Gift of Drought Tolerant Plants

Drought tolerant plants
I have had an interest since visiting Africa last year in plants that are hearty in really difficult climates. Mauritania where I visited grew a few things that I found interesting. They grow in a dessert like environment over most of the country. I have never seen miles upon miles of sand dunes before. There are thousands of square miles of the country that look like rolling dunes with little villages tucked into them. Then there are parts with spectacular palm tree oasis-es. Tunga is one of those places and I was amazed at the tree’s, thrilled with the dates, and quite taken with the children. This is a place that people come and live in the summer and move back to other places the rest of the year.
I was inspired by the work of many of my frineds at ADRA (Adventist Development and Relief Agency) who are trying to help people stay alive in a world that is fraught with drought, disaster, and struggle. The projects I like the most for Africa are the one’s that help people with best grow practices. So even in the United State we struggle with water as an issue that limits growing.
If you can grow with the least amount of water for the highest nutrient dense foods you can feed people well, cut back on hunger, and enjoy better yields. To do this selecting seeds that will grow and be fairly drought tolerant is a good place to start.
I am making an alphabetical list of them here.

Aloe Vera is a succulent that grows well in hot tempuratures and takes drought fairly well
Avocado trees will take some low water times survive in Arizona(native type) and Africa
Beans depending on the variety can be grown with very little water. These are listed as drought tolerent as well Garbonzo, Black-eyed peas, Lima beans, Arikara, and Fava can be grown as a fall come through winter crop where it is not to cold.

Goumi is a berry from Asia that will grow with low amounts of water
Mulberries can tolerate a fair amount of heat and lack of water.
Strawberries of some varieties will grow in the sand dunes but will not produce if they lack water. The leaves are still edible and can be used.
Raspberries such as the black cap variety will hang on wild in the harshest of places
Gooseberries grow wild in many places with low moisture

Chard can survive and thrive even in the middle of summer. I know I harvested some this morning and others report it does well in low moisture as well as heat.

Eggplant grow well in the desert

Figs There are at least 750 varieties of these though most of the one’s I have seen in Oregon and Washington are very similar.

Blueberry grapes are a drought tolerant variety, many grapes grow in lands such as the middle east and survive well.

Grapefruit and other citrus can be grown in Arizona and other dessert like places.

Jujubes date like when dried is reported to do well even in low moisture.

Kale may survive some water lows, mine does better with plenty of water though.

Lavender needs water to get started but somewhat talent after established.

Moringa (the salvation of Africa) is nutrient dense and reported to survive drought. Great flowers, leaves, and seeds. The seeds can be used for water purification.

Mimosa trees in Africa are used to treat parasites.

Oregon grape grows with a love for moisture but also will grow in many places that lack it.

Passion Fruit grows well in South Africa and other parts of Africa.

Persimmons will grow as far north as WA state and take the frost. We have some really old trees here in Milton Freewater. Cold tolerant varieties are important if you wish to grow them in the north.

Pistachio’s grow in desserts and thrive on little water

Plumbs for stone fruit are able to use the water they have and continue though rough drought seasons.

Pomegranate is pretty hearty to low moisture and there is a Russian type that is cold tolerant.

Potatoes some are drought tolerant but they need a fair amount of water to get started. High Mowing Organic seeds has a variety Seed potatoes drought tolerant

Purslane is a garden vegetable and weed that is nutrient dense and needs very little water. It also forms a great tap root.

Squash a number of varieties can survive high temperatures and drought to some degree.

Sweet Potatoes are only semi drought tolerant. Thought there is a fair amount of research into them.

Tomatoes Cherry and some of the small varieties will grow on very little water.

Yellowhorn nut trees are said to be quite drought tolerant

There are ways to help plants do retain moisture. Mulch is one of the best ways I know of and there are a number of things that can be used as mulch. Compost works really well both to feed the plant and keep the moisture in during the hot season. Wood chips make great mulch especially for alkaline soils. Grass cutting, straw, or even those pesky weeds can make good mulch. Leaves make great mulch if you let them compost through the winter and use them in spring.

For more information you can check out these links
Back to Eden Preview
Swedish Homestead Strawberries
Modern Farmer article
Giving Plants article
yellowhorn trees article
Growing Your Greens dessert plants Dessert Trees Growing your greens
Been Seeds for sale
Drought Resistant vegetables article
Memosa Tree

Created by Judy Woodworth 2018 all rights reserved