Mandy Launchbury-Rainey wrote:Loads of good info. Thank you. We have swales and we collect rainwater but tbats all at the moment. I am thinking of adding gel to my seed compost to stop my starters drying out when I forget to open the polytunnel.......now ask me how I got there....
Dennis Barrow wrote:Great information!
We are just getting ready to sell our home and move onto 10 acres that is considered mountain desert. Pretty dry. Wells produce plenty of water, but I figure if I don't have to water as often I can have more time to play.
Thank you for this info. Timing is everything!!
Leslie Russell wrote:Thank you, Daron! What great ideas.
I'm in west central Florida (yes, that's a thing) and we're already in the mid-90's. When we get rain it's usually of the slamming down ALOT of water in a short time type. Some rainy seasons are mild and some are torrential and we don't know how much rain we're going to get in any given year. Sometimes the predictions are spot on, sometimes way off. I've learned to prepare as if there's going to be alot of water.
But. Because it's so bloody hot, we can go from too much water to a drought in a day. Right now it's dry even though we had rain a few days ago. Sometimes I water (I have a well) and a few hours later a storm moves in. Great, now my plants are drowning.
What advice do you have for that situation? All my beds are raised, because the "soil" here is sand. (I've actually considered growing in the woods where it's shaded and there's real soil!) 2 beds are new hugelkultur and the logs are starting to rot well. Hot summer crops are limited so there's not much in there but strawberry plants.
Any thoughts you've got are greatly appreciated!
Johanna Breijer wrote:Hi
We get most of our water in the winter in the form of snow. I shovel piles of snow onto my raised beds. In spring I put the windows onto the raised beds. It gets the snow to melt earlier then usual. I leave the windows on until the end of June when the last snow fall happens. I did all the shoveling of snow into all the raised beds but didn't create glass tunnels on all of the raised beds. We get constant winds here, and all the beds without windows were dried out in a few hours. I'm going to make more glass tunnels to keep the water I worked for. I keep my early plants in the glass tunnels warm when the weather gets really cold. I put in a line of light bulbs and warming cables used for keeping your down spouts from freezing. They keep the tunnels warm. I'm thinking of using my bath water to keep things watered during the summer. There will be no rain until August. It will show up with hail and overflow the gutters. Despite the swales, the parched earth cann't hold the water as it rushes past. Rain barrels are pretty much useless here. I'm trying a new configuration to slow the water and hold it on my property.
Meg Mitchell wrote:I'm in the PNW and I was very hesitant to use mulch for the critters reason. Slugs are one of the traditional problem critters around here because it's very wet in spring/fall. Unfortunately we also get a very dry period in the summer. I tried mulching thinly last year with leaves and it helps to keep soil moisture in longer, and I haven't noticed much problem with slugs. If anything there are fewer slugs than last year (although that could be chalked up to a dry winter rather than anything I've done). There's definitely a lot of spider activity and a bit of garter snake activity in the mulched areas but I can't say that they seem to be hurting anything.
Penny Oakenleaf wrote:
I keep hearing good things about ducks, but my husband refuses to let me get some, his parents used to keep ducks when he was a kid, and all he remembers is that the ducks are "dirty". I have to go to the neighbor's to get my duck socializing in... They usually send me home with duck eggs. They don't like duck eggs, but they love ducks, so it's a win-win! Maybe Lewis (the most charming duck I've ever met) can convince my spouse that not all ducks are gross?
It may be contentious. I would "contend" that it depends on the circumstances. There is no way I could do what I'm doing without mulch. LOTS of mulch.
Geoff Colpitts wrote:Mulch is highly contentious. Read Steve Solomon's book "Gardening in Hard Times" (not 100% on the title) to look at his experiments on mulching. Basically, he says that if you have any exposed soil, mulching only brings more water to the surface, which contributes more to drought, whereas bare soil, once desiccated to a few inches, provides a barrier to the wicking process, which allows for far better water retention.
Lauren Ritz wrote:The use of mulch is entirely dependent on your circumstances. The spring after putting down a foot of woodchips, the soil was wet more than a foot down, and in our hottest month was dry three inches down, but wet below that. Because I had some young plantings I watered once a week that summer, once a week for 5 minutes, overhead sprinklers, and it stayed damp through the 100+ degree summer. Even now, in areas where there is no mulch, the soil dries out within a few hours after being watered. Minutes, in some cases.
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