Don’t be a water hog: 7 ways to grow a vegetable garden with less H2O

In Utah, the second driest state in the nation, it's possible to grow a successful vegetable garden and avoid being called a water hog.

From installing more efficient irrigation systems to applying mulch or even just watering at the right time of day, it's possible to garden with less H2O, said Katie Wagner, a member of Utah State University Extension's horticulture faculty.

"Sometimes we think plants need more water than they really do," said Wagner, one of several Salt Lake City experts we contacted in advance of Earth Day on Friday, April 22. They offered these seven tips to grow a vegetable garden with less water...

Plant fruits and vegetables that grow well together in the same small plot of soil, says Ashley Patterson, executive director of Wasatch Community Gardens. The method, called companion planting, has been around for more than 2,000 years, "long before irrigation systems," she said.

The most popular companion trio is the three sisters: corn, beans and squash. Tall cornstalks provide a structural support for the climbing beans, the beans return nitrogen back into the soil, and the squash spreads across the soil, acting as a mulch and keeping the soil cool. Other good garden companions include basil and tomatoes; and strawberries with onions, spinach and thyme.

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