Plant Your Vegetables Early: Plant cool weather, short season vegetables in March. That way, crops will be ready to pick before the summer heat when vegetables require more water. Cool weather vegetables include beets, broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, garlic, leeks, onions, peas and turnips. You can also plant carrots and radishes, which do well year round.
Plant Vegetables That Need Less Water: If summer vegetables are still desired, plant vegetables that do not require a lot of water. These include corn, mustard greens, spinach, certain types of tomatoes, some zucchini, chard, arugula, jalapenos, pole and snap beans and eggplant.
Prepare Your Soil: Soil is the key to a garden’s success. Mix compost into garden soil so the soil retains moisture better. Make sure the compost is designed for garden planting and for soil type (sandy or clay). Add a layer of mulch to the top of the soil to keep water from evaporating.
Place Plants Close Together: When possible, place plants close together so you are watering less square footage. The plants can then better “share” water.
Water Thoroughly, Less Often: Water only as needed in spring. There is still a chance of rain before summer. When rain is no longer in the forecast, however, give plants a good soak early in the morning no more than twice a week. This watering schedule forces plant roots to look for water deeper in the soil, which helps keep plants hydrated longer.
Replace Hard-to-Water Areas With Ground Cover: Some yards contain areas that are awkward to water, so often, water sprays onto patios, fences and walls. To avoid wasting water, replace these hard to water areas with drought-tolerant plants, rocks or wood mulch.
Fertilize trees and shrubs: Feed trees and shrubs with nitrogen fertilizer. Plants usually need to be fertilized twice a year–once in March at the beginning of the spring growing period and again in September. Feed avocado, citrus trees, fruit trees and roses with a well-balanced fertilizer. For fruit trees and roses, wait until the first sign of new leaves before fertilizing.
Mow lawn to the right height: cool season grass blades (bluegrass, ryegrasses, fescues) should be kept about two inches high. Mow regularly to keep weeds at bay and to promote thicker lawns. When the weather warms considerably in the summer, increase grass blade height to three inches. Warm season grass (Bermuda, St. Augustine and zoysia) should be cut at a steady two-inch level throughout spring and summer.