Dry Farming Resources

Resources

 

Extension Publications

Intro to Dry Farming Organic Vegetables (EM 9229) - This publication provides an overview of dry farming, describes some of the management practices that support growing organic vegetable crops without supplemental irrigation in this region, and offers some additional resources. 

Dryland Farming in the Northwestern United States: A Non-technical Overview - This publication discusses and describes the process of dryland grain farming, specifically in the Pacific Northwest. 

Advances in Dryland Farming in the Inland Pacific Northwest - Farmers make tough decisions all the time—it comes with the territory. When that territory includes the dryland region of the inland Pacific Northwest, decisions can be even more challenging. Fluctuating weather, varying soils, and changing pest pressures are just a few of the ongoing challenges that farmers in this region face. However, university-driven research in these production areas can provide guidance. Packed with tools, resources, and the most current research, this book supports farmers as they make decisions relating to productivity, resilience, and their bottom lines. 

Organic Dry-Farmed Tomato Production on California's Central Coast - A Guide for Beginning Specialty Crop Growers - This guide describes the steps involved in growing dry-farmed tomatoes organically on the Central Coast of California, with a focus on proper soil preparation, planting, and weed control. 

 

RESEARCH PROJECT REPORTS

2021 Growing Season Research Projects

Potato Variety Trial (handout, protocol)

Winter Storage Tomato Variety Trial (handout, protocol

Corn Breeding Project (handout)

 

2020 Growing Season Research Projects Presenter(s)
Site Suitability (handout) (Recorded Presentation)

Alex Stone & Matt Davis

Soil Management Study (Recorded Presentation)

Tomato Variety Trials (Report) (Recorded Presentation)

Potato Variety Trials (handout) (Recorded Presentation)

Chris Homanics & Amy Garrett

Squash Variety Trials (handout) (Recorded Presentation)

Amy Garrett & Lucas Nebert

Bean Variety Trials (handout) (Recorded Presentation)

Lucas Nebert

Corn Breeding Project (handout) (Recorded Presentation)

Lucas Nebert

 

2019 Variety Trials – handouts highlighting results and observations from Dry Farming Project variety trials in 2019 

Soil Survey Resources for Small Farms - Learning about the different types of soils on a farm is invaluable. Oregon alone has nearly 1,000 different kinds of soil, ranging from deep to shallow, clayey to sandy, nearly level to steeply sloping. These differences are important because different soils require different kinds of management practices.  

2016 - 2018 Dry Farming Collaborative Variety Trial Report (Draft) - See variety trial results compiled from more than 20 DFC sites. Multiple varieties of dry beans, flour corn, winter squash, tomato, melon, and zucchini were included.

2017 Dry Farming Collaborative Trial Reports

  • Oak Creek Center for Urban Horticulture Trial Report - Includes methods and results for a tomato trial that included both grafted and ungrafted tomatoes in irrigated and dry farmed treatments. Also, the beginnings of effort to do participatory plant breeding for dry farmed systems is documented with a dry bean variety called 'Beefy Resilient Grex' from plant breeder Carol Deppe of Fertile Seeds.
  • Lewis Brown Farm Trial Report  - The OSU Lewis Brown dry farm trial site is .69 acres and has multiple varieties of tomatoes, squash, melon, zucchini, dry beans, and flour corn. This is the first year this field has been dry farmed and intended to be the ‘mother trial’ for the 2017 replicated variety trials with the Dry Farming Collaborative (DFC). Thirty DFC farms throughout Western Oregon and Washington are growing some of the same crop varietals. Note: This site had major issues with symphylans and cucumber beetles, so data in this reports reflects our results given those issues.

2016 Dry Farming Trial Report - This report details the methods and results for the 2016 dry farming demonstration which included two irrigated plots and two dry farmed plots (tomatoes, potatoes, squash and melon). One of the dry farmed plots was amended with a bokashi biochar compost. 

2015 Dry Farming Demonstration Report - This report highlights what was done and the results for the first demonstration of dry farming vegetables in Corvallis at the OSU Oak Creek Center for Urban Horticulture. 

 

Websites

California Ag Water Stewardship Initiative - The California Agricultural Water Stewardship Initiative (CAWSI) aims to raise awareness about approaches to agricultural water management that support the viability of agriculture, conserve water, and protect ecological integrity in California.

Dry Farming Institute - The Dry Farming Institute is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that engages growers and communities in collectively adapting to less water. 

 

Articles

Dry Farming Project Update: Field days, flavor, and grower success create buzz in the media - Fall 2019 – Get caught up with the Dry Farming Project’s outreach efforts and research in 2019.  

Dry Farming Project Continues to Expand - Oregon Small Farm News article highlights the multiple research projects engaging with the Dry Farming Collaborative in 2018. 

Dry Farming Collaborative: Innovating and adapting to a changing climate - Spring 2017 - This article explores the way that a group of farmers, extension educators, plant breeders, and agricultural professionals have partnered to respond to the demands of limited water availability and hotter, drier summers.   

The Dry Farming Collaborative: Co-creating the future of how we manage water on our farms - This article in the Rural Connections Magazine aims to raise awareness about the Dry Farming Collaborative (DFC) and its importance to sustainable agriculture in the Maritime Pacific Northwest by providing a brief overview of dry farming, a timeline of the OSU Dry Farming Project, its evolution into the DFC, and potentials for the future. 

Innovations in Dryland Farming - This article by Kym Pykorny in Oregon's Agricultural Progress highlights examples of how we are growing food with far less water in Eastern and Western Oregon. 

Dry Farming Oregon - Fall 2016 – Chloe Shaughnessy in partnership with Celebrate Oregon Agriculture interviewed Amy Garrett about the basics of dry farming in the Willamette Valley and her collaborations with farmers engaged in participatory research through the Dry Farming Collaborative.  

Common Misconceptions and Key Points About Dry Farming - Case Study of Dry Farmer with More than 40 Years of Experience - A 2014 case study of a grower who farmed in CA without any form of irrigation for 40 years before retiring to 9.6 acres in Veneta, OR in 2007 where he now farms with no water rights. 

Dry Farming Vegetables: One Farmer's Approach to Building Soil, Conserving Water, and Producing Great Tasting Tomatoes - A 2013 case study of Jeannie Berg, a fruit and vegetable grower in Monmouth, OR. 

 

Videos and Presentations

Virtual Adaptive Ag Water Symposium: Three presentations recorded on November 6th, 2020 - As Oregon and other western states deal with drier growing seasons and higher wildfire risks, it is critical to increase our knowledge of how to grow more food with less water, design for enhanced water retention and infiltration, understand the future of water law in Oregon, as well as how to protect farms and crops using green fire breaks. 

2020 Virtual Dry Farm Field Day Tours - The 2020 Dry Farm Project field tours were held on Wednesday mornings in August and September of 2020 There were nine field tours featuring different elements of the five core projects; Tomatoes, Corn Breeding, Soil Management, Solar Co-location with Dry-Farmed Vegetables, and Variety Trials.  

Growing Resilience: Water Management Workshop Series - This workshop series, funded by an Oregon SARE Mini-Grant, focused on drought mitigation tools and management practices for farming with little or no irrigation. Videos and course materials from this series are available free online. 

Video - Adapting to a Changing Climate: Conserving Water with Dry Farming Management Practices - Amy Garrett with OSU Extension Service is profiled along with small vegetable farmers that practice dry farming in Oregon. 

Dry Farming Collaborative: Initial Findings from Qualitative Interviews - Benton County Extension, September 5th, 2018. 

Dry Farmed Orchard Systems: Production, Practices, and the Story of Knowledge Transfer - 2018 Oregon Small Farms Conference 

Participatory Plant Breeding for Dry Farmed Systems - February 2016 Oregon Small Farms Conference 

 

Books

  • Gardening When it Counts - Steve Solomon helps readers rediscover traditional low-input gardening methods to produce healthy food. 
  • Gardening Without Irrigation: or Without Much Anyway - Gardening expert Steve Solomon has written extensively on gardening techniques for the home gardener. Water conservation is the focus of this work, along with more information on how to have the healthiest plants in your garden through "fertigation", appropriate plant rotation, and soil preparation. (Summary by Brenda Price)
  • Water-Wise Vegetables - This book shows how to grow a lush, productive vegetable garden with minimal watering. Author Steve Solomon includes information on irrigation, mulching, site and seed selection, and explanations of how plants use water and how to prepare soil for efficient water use.
  • Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades - Evolved from a self-published pamphlet to the master guide to organic vegetable gardening, this book by Steve Solomon includes updates on the latest findings on seed sources, refinements in growing, and cultivation techniques, and other organic gardening best practices. Chapter 5 is on water and discusses some considerations for growing without irrigation.
  • The Resilient Gardener: Food Production and Self-Reliance in Uncertain Times - Scientist and expert gardener Carol Deppe draws from emerging science in many fields to develop the general principles of gardening for resilience. Gardeners will learn through Deppe's detailed instructions on growing, storing, and using the five crops central to self-reliance: potatoes, corn, beans, squash, and eggs.
  • Growing Food in a Hotter, Drier Land: Lessons from Desert Farmers on Adapting to Climate Uncertainty - Gary Paul Nabhan is one of the world's experts on the agricultural traditions of arid lands. For this book, he visited indigenous and traditional farmers in the Gobi Desert, the Arabian Peninsula, the Sahara Desert, and Andalusia, as well as the Sonoran, Chihuahuan, and Painted deserts of North America, to learn firsthand their techniques and designs aimed at reducing heat and drought stress on orchards, fields, and backyard gardens.
  • Dry Farming: A System of Agriculture for Countries Under Low Rainfall - A 1911 text about dry farming, including information on dry farming conditions, soils, root systems, soil water storage, evaporation & transpiration, crops, and cultivation implements. Available free online.