The following message arrived via my Facebook Page from a gardener in Israel who is fervently searching for new edible plants to raise in the veggie garden. The difficulty revolves around a very limited water supply and tough growing conditions that can quickly turn a productive garden into a barren plot.
Here is Trish’s account along with a special request for crop recommendations from any experienced gardeners out there; particularly if you have grown vegetables in an arid climate:
Vegetable Gardening Successes and Challenges in the Mediterranean
As a fledgling veggie gardener, I love your gardening secrets newletters! They’re great and give me a host of information. Our Mediterranean climate is perfect for growing almost everything but I’ve not been able to grow anything for years – a total failure.
Now, with your help, I have tomatoes and eggplants in raised beds and I’m planning asparagus and blackberries although I have to take sun and heat and very limited water into consideration.
Our latest challenge is the newly issued water limitation for every household to 2.5 cubic meters of water per person per month. And that includes showers, toilets, gardens, washing machines – the lot! SO I have to find edible, drought resistant – nay drought loving plants. Now there’s a challenge!
Do you know anyone who might be able to help? I do use mulch and drip irrigation. However, winter is on its way (lowest temperatures 8 degrees centigrade) and hopefully, rain. So the pressure will only be on next summer and until then I might be able to prepare myself. Thank you and shalom.
Embracing Wild Edibles to Tame Unfriendly Climates and Conditions
Shalom to you Trish! Have you considered introducing some edible weeds and native plants into your landscape? I would bet there are edible plants that grow wild in your climate and that they are capable of producing routine harvests with no assistance from any gardener.
Here in the Northeastern U.S. there are fruits like blueberries and blackberries that grow wild but can also be cultivated in the backyard garden. Likewise for edible weeds like lambsquarters, purslane, and dandelion; each of which is available in cultivated varieties that are even better served and enjoyed at the dining table.
If a plant grows wild in a particular region, it’s guaranteed to have the growth characteristics, hardiness, and some natural resistance to the localized pests and weather conditions. Those features would make it even easier for these wild edibles to flourish in the comfort of a garden in spite of a harsh growing environment.
Recommendations for Cooperative Veggies that will Grow Well in Israel
Are you aware of any wild edible plants in your region that could also be raised as garden crops? If so, you could include them in the veggie garden to supplement your other crops and to provide some insurance anytime the less hardy cultivated plantings fail.
Trish just followed up with me to add the following… “I do have rosemary, lavender, shiba (artemisia) and sweet geranium (we put in tea) none of which require a lot of water and when pruned during the summer spring back in the winter like crazy. But there must be other plants and I’ll ask around.”
Can anyone recommend drought loving edible plants that would be suitable for growing in a Mediterranean climate? If you have any suggestions or ideas that may be useful to Trish please leave them in the comment section located below. Thanks!
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