When in drought: dry-farming in California, no water needed
Will Bucklin doesn’t water his crops. It’s that simple.
Instead, Old Hill Ranch bypasses artificial irrigation, and relies on seasonal rainfall and working the soil in such a way that it holds on to water for the drier months.
“The hardest part about dry farming is actually convincing people it works,” Bucklin says. “But in places like Spain, France and Italy, pretty much everybody dry-farms.”
Irrigation has even been banned in parts of Europe to preserve the quality of certain grape varieties. But in California, where irrigation is now the norm, dry farming has become a forgotten art.
Photos: Charlotte Simmonds for the Guardian (1), Michelle Davidoff/Handout (2)