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In the sunset garden.


Veggies in dry times

Can you still grow summer edibles, even during a drought? Yes--just plan carefully. Here's how we do it in our Test Garden.

KEEP BEDS SMALL Plant only as many crops as you'll eat. Our curved raised bed, measuring 16 feet long and barely 4 feet wide, contains eggplant, peppers, pole beans, basil, sage, one zucchini, and an artichoke.

AMEND THE SOIL To improve its water retention, we mixed a 6-inch layer of compost into the soil before planting.

MULCH Organic mulch (leaves, straw, or bark) can cut water use in half by reducing evaporation. We covered the soil with a 3-inch layer of bark chips.

TARGET WATERING Drip irrigation is far more efficient than sprinklers at getting moisture to plant roots. We used '/4-inch tubing with emitters predrilled every 6 inches, and watered our plants deeply twice a week for 45 minutes. Soaker hoses work well too.


Plant by Number

A new collection of plant kits from New Mexico-based High Country Gardens takes the guesswork out of garden design. Each of the 10 kits includes a selection of potted plants (anywhere from 4 to 27 of them), care directions, and a plan for beds and borders. All are water-wise; our favorite is August Afternoons, a mix of ornamental grasses and perennials. It's also favored by butterflies and hummingbirds. From $31; highcountry



Roses are nice ... but euphorbia lasts (almost) forever. That's the big takeaway from The Plant Recipe Book (Artisan, 2014; $25) by San Francisco garden designer Baylor Chapman. In it, she provides 100 easy-to-follow recipes for arrangements of living plants. First on our to-make list: a mini Zen garden of baby cactus and euphorbia resting in a wooden box, topped with black sand.

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Title Annotation:TIPS FROM OUR TEAM
Author:Silver, Johanna
Date:May 1, 2014
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