Some climatologists are calling for a hotter and drier year than average in this part of the Midwest. Iowa State University Horticulturist Richard Jauron says homeowners looking for ways to cope shouldn’t try replanting everything with desert plants or hot-climate grasses.
Actually in a vegetable garden, he says most crops require an inch or more of water a week during the growing season. "There aren’t too many crops that are extremely drought-tolerant," Jauron says. He says regular watering will be even more important than usual.
If it is a dry summer, you can take some measures that will help your plants do well despite the weather. One example is mulching, taking shredded leaves or grass clippings and spreading it between rows and between plants in your garden. That’ll conserve moisture in soil that otherwise dry out faster, and will help your plants tolerate dry conditions. Jauron says, "You still may have to water, but you won’t have to water as much."
Jauron says, the main thing to remember is when you do water, it shouldn’t be done often — instead, do it once a week or so but water thoroughly so the water sinks down several inches into the soil. If you do that, he says your plants should get along fine for the next week or so. The forecast through June for most of Iowa shows a likelihood for above-normal temperatures. To look at more data, surf to the NOAA website and put in your zip code to get local forecasts and more from the National Weather service.