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Farming when there is drought — The Grow Network Community
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Farming when there is drought

Hi guys

I hope everyone is doing okay. I have a question.. I am planning to move to another country and buy some land there. But the problem is that it does not rain much there and it seems like the water sources are getting scarse.

How could I solve this problem on my future property? By creating something to have enough water for my family, future animals, plants etc.

I am interested in permaculture but did not have the time to dive deep into it.

All thoughts and experiences are welcome and highly appreciated.


  • Lisa KLisa K Posts: 407 ✭✭✭✭✭

    There are a couple of articles on TGN if you search "drought" there are two that are called "Vegetable Gardening in Drought (Part 1) has different techniques and (Part 2) has drought tolerate herbs & vegetables.

  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 3,383 admin

    I don't know your situation, but am curious to know why you want to move to & invest in a country that is getting so dry. I personally would not consider something of that nature and so am curious what might draw you there.

    If you still move there, you might want to study up on huglecultur beds before your move.

  • ltwickeyltwickey Posts: 239 ✭✭✭

    I am also wondering why someone would want to move to an area where resources are scarce and getting worse. If it is cost of living, I am sure there are plenty of affordable countries out there where the resources are not literally drying up.

    We had thought about leaving the US when we retired and researched several countries. Costa Rica was at the top of the list.

    Not sure how much room you are going to have, but hydroponics might be a partial solution for you.

  • Megan VenturellaMegan Venturella Posts: 312 ✭✭✭

    I would set EVERYTHING up for water collection. Your roof, your barns, etc. You can even set up tarps that will collect water and drain into barrels. It isn't perfect, but it's better than nothing. There are also huge (expensive) machines you can buy that are essentially dehumidifiers. I think if you google "atmospheric water generator" it should come up. Maybe you could also dig and line ponds? Best of luck to you.

  • VermontCathyVermontCathy Posts: 377 ✭✭✭

    There are books available, some of them free downloads, on "dry land farming". This is a technique that was common in the American West during the 19th century.

    The idea is that you carefully capture all of the limited rainfall in the soil, grow plants far apart so that each has access to enough water, select crops with limited water needs, minimize evaporation losses, use appropriate plowing techniques, etc.

    Here's a place to start:


  • judsoncarroll4judsoncarroll4 Posts: 2,974 admin

    The books, Rainwater Harvesting for Dry Lands are very good and should be quite useful.

  • toreytorey Posts: 2,328 admin

    I, too, am curious as to the reason for a move to a less than hospitable climate.

    Lots of questions to answer about your prospective location.

    How self-sufficient do you plan to be? Will you be on the grid? How does everyone else in the area get water?

    What is the rest of the climate like? Cold and dry? Hot and dry? Windy?

    Have you checked into the annual rainfall data so you know how much rainfall to expect and be prepared to store that amount? Is it seasonal, as in, is there a rainy season?

    A lot will depend on the soil type where you purchase your property. If it is sand or gravelly soil, its not going to hold what limited rain you do have. If it is hard packed clay, the water will just run off when it does rain.

    Gardening is one thing but you also have to consider your livestock. Plants may survive an extended drought period but livestock will not. They must have a regular clean water source.

    Is it possible to drill for water in the area you have chosen and what is the cost for doing that?

  • TaveTave Posts: 359 ✭✭✭

    Geoff Lawson has done some excellent work were rain is scarce. I think he helped with the Al Baydha project that was a huge success. His website has very good information if you'd like to check it out. https://www.geofflawtononline.com/videos/

  • NarjissMomOf3NarjissMomOf3 Posts: 113 ✭✭✭

    Thanks everyone for your comments. We have family and friends living in that country, and there are several other reasons.

    It is not like it is a desert but there can be months without rain. I am just trying to learn now and then try to put it into practice later.

    People that live far from a major city usually depend on a water source where they go an fill jugs and drink from that water. My family members also have a well which gets filled from time to time. This water is used for the kitchen, showering etc..

  • NarjissMomOf3NarjissMomOf3 Posts: 113 ✭✭✭

    Thank you Laurie for your comment. I have come across the term 'huglecultur', it is on my list to check it out ; )

    Well, we have friends and family living there. It is for us easier to live there. It is also the country where my husband was born. I think farming there can certainly be possible with the right knowledge, tools and of course the advice from native old timers who are doing the same : )

  • NarjissMomOf3NarjissMomOf3 Posts: 113 ✭✭✭

    If we buy land, it will be land where there is a water source.

  • NarjissMomOf3NarjissMomOf3 Posts: 113 ✭✭✭

    Thank you. I have also come across  Masanobu Fukuoka . Maybe interesting to read his books.

  • NarjissMomOf3NarjissMomOf3 Posts: 113 ✭✭✭

    Excellent questions Torey! Many of them I cannot answer yet. We are planning in getting to know the other areas in that country much better in the future, so based upon our experience etc we will decide.

  • judsoncarroll4judsoncarroll4 Posts: 2,974 admin

    One Straw Revolution is classic and truly excellent. Fukuoka and Sepp Holzer were pre-Permaculture guys, brilliant... very unique. Both influenced me, greatly.

  • NarjissMomOf3NarjissMomOf3 Posts: 113 ✭✭✭

    Awesome. Will buy the book soon!

  • judsoncarroll4judsoncarroll4 Posts: 2,974 admin

    Check out Ruth Stout, too. She is another pre-Permaculture luminary. Her deep mulch method of "no-work" gardening may be the most effective thing you can try. Just remember that now, most hay and straw has herbicides in it. You'll need to either grow cover and "chop and drop" it - Matt Powers has some great videos on that on youtube, or bring in leaves and such.

  • NarjissMomOf3NarjissMomOf3 Posts: 113 ✭✭✭

    Okay will do. Thank you for your advice. Lots of learning to do!

  • beel.sarabeel.sara Posts: 15 ✭✭✭

    Make sure you research whether you can do what you want on the land. Are you allowed to catch rainwater? In my state, I can only catch rainwater from my house and not from my outbuildings. Are you able to use your well water for farm animals? My well is for domestic use only so I would have to haul water in for a milk cow or goats or whatever. Do your research before you invest money into land!

  • NarjissMomOf3NarjissMomOf3 Posts: 113 ✭✭✭
    edited October 2020

    Excellent points. Thank you very much. Will have to find out the regulations there.

  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 3,383 admin
    edited October 2020

    @sdfl10ns I need to say that I spelled hugelkultur incorrectly.

    I also want to tell you about this free webinar that came to my email today that will teach you about the practice.

    Hmm...the link automatically signs me up. I will have to see if I can access it for you otherwise.

    Here is a link:

  • AcequiamadreAcequiamadre Posts: 247 ✭✭✭

    I live in a high desert (New Mexico) and we have generations of knowledge.

    Building soils and creating structures to maintain soil are key in dry lands.

    Check out Zuni waffle bed gardening that are designed to both capture water when in happens (often in downpours in dry lands--then nada for long spells) and create microclimates.

    The book Growing Food in a Hotter, Dryer Land by Gary Paul Nabhan has examples of practices from many different cultures and places--including a list of vplant arieties that are better adapted to dry climates. Planting perennials early to create your own microclimate is also key--we have a small oasis due to planting of many trees, vines, and other perennials that now can endure our droughts and dry times. Water harvesting and thoughtful planning for water absorption and runoff is also key in dry climates.

  • spanthegulfspanthegulf Posts: 81 ✭✭✭
    edited October 2020

    You might look at some of David the Good's videos... especially his earlier 2020 ones. David is a gardening expert and frequent partner with TGN. He also left the US several years ago. He shares freely his successes and challenges in that situation. Now, granted, he was in a tropical area vs. your more arid climate, but I think you may still find some of his insights helpful. Google him on YouTube, or go to his website at TheSurvivalGardener.com All the best to you!

  • VermontCathyVermontCathy Posts: 377 ✭✭✭

    David the Good recently moved back to the US and is now living and gardening in southeastern Alabama. He has good Internet access again, so he's posting frequently.

    Be sure you are looking at thesurvivalgardener.com (David's site) and not survivalgardener.com (a completely unrelated site with a different emphasis).

  • NarjissMomOf3NarjissMomOf3 Posts: 113 ✭✭✭


  • NarjissMomOf3NarjissMomOf3 Posts: 113 ✭✭✭

    Okay so I tried several times posting a comment but it didn't work. Now it does. Thank you to everyone who has contributed and shared advice and precious knowledge!! I better take notes : )

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