Ros frequently receives emails from her readers. In the new Edible Gardening Questions posts, she will publish some of her answers so that we can all benefit from her experience!
Hi, I live in San Diego where water is in limited supply. My hubby and I took out our front lawn and planted low- water, drought tolerant plants. I would like to add some edibles to my front yard. I have rosemary, lavender and artichoke. Can you recommend some other low-water edibles suitable to coastal San Diego? -Loc
I’m so glad you want to grow a few more edibles! As far as drought tolerant edibles are concerned, there are a number of aspects to be considered. The fact is, every time you grow an edible plant and harvest from it, you are saving water. The home gardener uses far less water than the farmer does. It’s not obvious to the average gardener, but I actually occasionally lecture for the Denver Water Company and the State of New Mexico concerning ways to save water in the global sense, not just at the end of your own hose. When you harvest lettuce from your garden you save 3 or 4 times the amount of water that the farmer and the grocery store would use to grow, water, harvest, wash, and keep fresh that head of lettuce.
You stated that you grow rosemary, lavender, and artichokes, which is great, the rosemary and lavender are drought tolerant, but to grow tender artichokes it actually takes a fair amount of water. You didn’t state how close you are to the ocean, but as you are in USDA Zone 10, if you are more than 10 miles away and not in a cool fog pocket, you could grow the drought tolerant plants: figs; pomegranates; pineapple guava; and the Mediterranean herbs, oregano, fennel, sage, sweet bay, and thyme. Another way to save water is to grow super productive edibles like: lemons, strawberries, tomatoes, summer squash/zucchini, chard, peppers, collards, lettuce, and kale, and basil in the summer and cilantro in the winter. Just think of all the trips to the grocery store those would eliminate. These plants give you a large harvest for the water used.
*posted by Jean Ann Van Krevelen