Ok, here are some of the things that I grew in SoCal that tolerated drought well:
Yard long bean
New Zealand Spinach (a favorite of mine)
Sweet potato (I grew them for the greens. They thrive with light shade from the summer sun.)
Chayote (the fruit, leaves, tips and tendrils are all edible. The tendrils are especially tender.)
Pigeon peas (eat like regular peas or as a dried bean)
Hyacinth bean (eat like green beans, the young leaves and tuber are also edible)
Tomato (cherry and grape tomatoes do much better than the bigger ones)
Acorn squash (Don't forget to grow some squashes and pumpkins for the greens and flowers! I love the stuffed flowers!)
Bitter melon (an acquired taste for the American palate)
Iceplant (its a great salty addition to salads)
Lambsquarters (never had to plant it as it is seemed to volunteer in every garden I had)
Daylilies (edible flowers)
Natal plums (The fruit of the common carissa bushes used as landscaping, when picked ripe, are very sweet and delicious. People would look at me really strangely wondering what the heck I was doing when they'd see me harvesting some from plantings in public spaces. Hardly anyone knows that the fruit is edible.)
Cactus (The juicy fruit tastes a bit like watermelon. The tender pads are reminiscent of green beans.)
Fava beans (They need the cooler temperatures of late fall to mid spring.)
I found that by planting in depressions, even some of the more water loving plants would do okay through the summer.
Some of the crops above are perennial. Some will easily set seed and come up again on their own like tomato, tamarillo and eggplant. Eggplant and tomato will resprout if you cut them down to just above the last leaf or two. Sometimes they reprout when cutting them back to just a few inches of stem without any leaves. For a new tomato plant, just push a stem to the ground and cover it with some soil. The stem will root. Once it has rooted just cut if from the parent plant and you can cut down the parent for mulch leaving you with a brand new tomato plant.
During the rainy season I'd grow more water intensive things and rely on rainfall for irrigation.
One of the ways I found out what would grow well in my area without irrigation or much care was to just throw a mix of seeds out into the garden and see what survived. I also did this with seed balls. Some things survived in seed balls that didn't survive just casting about.
When growing things like these, there isn't much of a need to irrigate. And you can walk away from the garden for weeks or months and still have an abundance of food when you return.
I hope this helps. Feel free to message me if you have any questions about what I did in my gardens.
yukkuri kame wrote:Wild mustard grows abundantly on that hillside wherever there is open soil... it seems to seed itself vigorously