Dry Farming Demonstration

The Dry Farming Collaborative initiated in Spring of 2016!
We are a group of growers, extension educators, plant breeders, and agricultural professionals partnering to increase knowledge and awareness of dry farming management practices with a hands-on participatory approach. So far there are about 20 sites throughout Western Oregon that are hosting dry farming trials including three OSU sites (NWREC, SOREC, and OCCUH).

Are you experimenting with dry farming? If so, we would love to hear about it! To learn more about this participatory research project, visit the Dry Farming Collaborative page on Facebook and/or contact Amy Garrett to join the email list. Dry farming trial hosts and those intereted in learning more about dry farming will be convening this winter for a grower's meeting to share results and discuss future directions for our collaborative research.
Dry Farming Demonstration launched in 2015 in Corvallis
In 2015, three 10’ x 100’ plots were established at Oak Creek Center for Urban Horticulture (OCCUH) to demonstrate dry farming management practices in several crops including dry beans, tomatoes, potatoes, squash and melon. Varieties and management practices were selected based on interviews with several established growers experienced in dry farming. Absolutely no irrigation was applied to these plots.
[See results and pics below on this page]
This project is funded in part by the National Institutes of Food and Agriculture under the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program.

See articles on this dry farming demonstration in the Capital Press as well as the 2015 Summer edition of Oregon Small Farm News!

Growing without Irrigation Presentation (ppt)- February 20, 2016 - Oregon Small Farms Conference

Dry Farming Vegetables Presentation - January 12, 2016 - North Willamette Horticulture Society Meeting and InFARMATION

July 29, 2015 - Dry Farm Plots

Dry Farming Field Day

A Dry Farming Field Day was held on August 3, 2015 at the Oak Creek Center for Urban Horticulture (844 SW 35th St.) in Corvallis, Oregon. More than a hundred farmers and gardeners attended to learn more about growing without irrigation and do taste comparisons of dry farmed and irrigated melons and tomatoes.

Summary and Resource Sheet for 2015 Dry Farming Demo - Includes varieties, planting date, plant spacing, harvest date, some preliminary yeild data, and soil preparation description for 2015 Dry Farming Demonstration plots.

Dry Farming Field Day on August 3, 2015

Dry Farm Plot Updates.....

January 2016 - 2015 Dry Farming Demonstration Data

2015 Dry Farming Demonstration Data

October 21, 2015 - The winter squash were weighed and yielded as follows with 20 sq ft/plant (4' in row and 5' between row spacing):

  • 'Zeppelin' Delicata: Average of 8 lbs/plant or 8.6 tons/acre
  • 'Stella Blue': Average of 12 lbs/plant or 13.1 tons/acre
  • 'Blue Hokkaido': Average of 16 lbs/plant or 17.4 tons/acre

Knott's Handbook for Vegetable Growers (Table 8.9 on pg. 421) considers 400 cwt or 20 tons/acre a good yield for winter squash. Each of these varieties yielded less than that but absolutely no irrigation was used.

September 28, 2015 - Dry bean plants were pulled on September 11th, left in the field to dry for a couple of days, then moved into the greenhouse and await threshing. Winter squash was harvested on September 25th. Yield data will be taken on these and posted on this page when available.

Dry bean plants were pulled on 9/11/15          Blue Hokkaido, Stella Blue, and Zeppelin Delicata Squash were harvested on September 25, 2015

August 10, 2015 - 20 row ft of 'Yukon Gold' potatoes harvested today! Each plant yields 4 lbs on average at 2.5 ' plant spacing.

August 10, 2015 - 20 row ft of 'Yukon Gold' potatoes harvested

July 27, 2015 - Tomatoes, melons, cucumbers and zucchini are ripe and being harvested. Winter squash is ripening!

July 15, 2015 - Cucumber, zucchini, and watermelon are being harvested!

 'Trozy' cucumber  'Dark Star' zucchini  'Little Baby Flower' watermelon   'Escorial' Melon
'Trozy' cucumber ready for harvest on July 9, 2015   'Dark Star' zucchini ready for harvest on July 9, 2015 'Little Baby Flower' watermelon ripening on July 9, 2015  'Escorial' melon ripening on July 9, 2015

July 15, 2015 - Tomatoes and dry beans are ripening!

'Jory' Tomato 'Wolverine's Orca' Dry Beans
July 15, 2015 - 'Jory' Tomatoes ripening July 15, 2015 - Wolverine's Orca Dry Beans ripening



August 10, 2015

June 8, 2015

Dry Beans    August 10, 2015 - Dry Bean Plot

4 varieties of dry beans at three different planting densities - June 8, 2015

Squash and Melon 

gaps in row below are due to poor germination.

August 10, 2015 - Curcurbit Plot

June 8, 2015 - Squash and Melon Plot - transplants on right and direct seeded on left

Tomato and Potato 

August 10, 2015 - Tomato and Potato Plot

June 8, 2015 - Tomato and Potato Plot



Dry Farming Demo Plot Map - see layout of plots and varieties

See pictures of each plot througout the growing season:

Fabaceae Plot (Dry Beans)

Curcurbit Plot (Squash, Cucumber, Zucchini, Melon)

Solanaceae Plot (Tomato and Potato)

Pictured below.....

May 5, 2015 - Preparing Dry Farm Plots for planting

Preparation for planting - May 5, 2015

















Dry Farming - California Agricultural Water Stewardship Initiative

Common misconceptions and key points about dry farming: Case study of dry farmer with more than 40 years of experience

Dry farming vegetables: One farmer’s approach to building soil, conserving water and producing great tasting tomatoes