Vegetable plants generally require evenly moist soil at all times in order to thrive. This is rarely a concern until summer temperatures begin to soar and there are no rain clouds in sight. During a drought such as this, there may also be water restrictions put in place that limit your watering to specific times. Maintaining moisture for vegetables is vital if they are to survive this dry period and continue producing for the remainder of the season.
Lay a 3- to 4-inch layer of mulch over the garden bed and between the plants. Use an organic mulch such as bark chips or straw. Mulch preserves soil moisture and helps prevent evaporation.
Water vegetable plants in the morning so that the water has time to be absorbed by the soil instead of evaporating as it does in the heat of the day. Water at the base of the plants so that the water is immediately absorbed into the soil.
Check soil moisture prior to watering. Stick a trowel into the soil and only water when the top 6 inches are beginning to dry. Water just enough to moisten the soil to this same depth.
Water vegetables with gray water, or whatever water is left over after other uses. Place a bucket under faucets when waiting for kitchen or bath water to heat up and use this water in the garden. Use the waste water from air conditioners and dehumidifiers in the same manner.
Avoid fertilizing and limit the use of pesticides during drought periods. Vegetables suffering from drought are more likely to be damaged by chemical treatments at this time.