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19 Ways to Make Your Homestead Resilient to Drought

 
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As a wild homesteader part of my homesteading philosophy is to do as little watering as possible. But during a drought that can be a challenge. Luckily, there are great methods you can use to make your homestead and garden more resilient to drought.

This week’s blog post—19 Ways to Deal with Drought on the Homestead—covers 19 different methods you can implement to increase the resiliency of your homestead to drought.

These 19 methods are broken into 3 sections:

1. Dealing with Drought on the Homestead: What to do in the Spring Before the Drought Starts
2. Dealing with Drought on the Homestead: What to do During the Drought
3. Dealing with Drought on the Homestead: The Fall or Winter After the Drought

Each section contains 6 or 7 different methods for 19 in total. These methods focus on the soils and plants and not any potential animal systems. But your animal systems will be more resilient to droughts if the rest of your homestead is already resilient to droughts.

These methods are not meant to be silver bullets to drought. Instead these are methods that if implemented yearly will steadily improve your homestead’s ability to weather droughts. Quick fixes (such as irrigation systems) don’t build long term resiliency.

Here in western Washington droughts are becoming a yearly event starting in May or June and continuing through early September. This can make it hard to avoid watering but with these methods I have been able to skip watering (except for newly planted plants and seedlings) even with the yearly droughts.

What about your homestead? Is drought a concern for you?

Dealing with Drought in Spring Before the Drought Hits



Spring is a time of abundance but don’t let the rains distract you from the prep work you can do to get ready for the summer drought. The blog post covers the following methods that can be used in spring to prepare for drought.

1. Do Not Till Your Soil
2. Apply Mulch Around All Your Plants
3. Create Late Afternoon Shade
4. Block Summer Winds
5. Install Protection Against Deer, Rabbits, and Other Critters
6. Water Deeply and Infrequently

These methods focus on ensuring the water holding capacity of your soil is being improved, reducing the loss of water from the soil through evaporation, preventing animal browse, and encouraging plant roots to go deep.

Dealing with Drought in Summer During the Drought



When the drought hits it can be hard to not water. But even so there are methods you can use to improve the effectiveness of your watering and reduce the amount of watering you need to do.

Each year you use these methods your homestead will become more resilient to drought and require less and less watering. Eventually, you may even be able to skip watering all together.

Here are 6 methods you can use during the drought to deal with it and improve your homestead’s long-term resiliency to drought.

1. Only Water When Necessary
2. Add Additional Mulch
3. Water When the Temperature is Relatively Low, and the Garden is Not in Direct Sunlight
4. Place Small Logs on the Sun-Exposed Sides of Your Plants
5. Leave Tall Spent Plants to Cast Shade and Block Winds
6. Harvest During the Morning or Evening

A goal with these methods is to water as little as possible but when you do water to water deep into the soil. As with the spring time methods another goal is to reduce evaporation as much as possible.

These methods work best when combined with each other. You can water heavily and deeply and then apply fresh mulch for example.

Dealing with Drought in the Fall/Winter after the Drought



The work does not stop once the drought is over. There is still a lot you can do in the fall and winter to improve your homestead’s ability to weather future droughts.

Using these methods every year will reduce the work (and stress!) next time a drought comes. Here are 7 methods you can use in the fall/winter.

1. Chop-and-Drop All Spent Garden Material and Leave the Roots in the Ground
2. Add Fall Leaves to the Garden Beds
3. Grow a Cover Crop
4. Plant Perennial Plants
5. Plant Hedgerows to Create Wind Blocks and Late Afternoon Shade
6. Improve the Water-Holding Capacity of the Area Around Your Garden
7. Replace Your Garden Beds with Hugelkultur Beds

With the drought over these methods focus on improving your soil’s water holding capacity and reducing how much water your garden needs by reducing evaporation and planting more perennials.

Putting it All Together



These 19 methods covered in this week’s blog post are all meant to work together. No one of these methods is a silver bullet that will completely drought proof your homestead but if used together they will make a significant impact overtime.

Dealing with drought can’t be a one-time thing you do and then forget about. Even during years with no drought, I would recommend using these methods. Otherwise your homestead will be more vulnerable when the drought does come back.

As a wild homesteader I don’t take water for granted. I want to use as little as possible so eventually droughts would have a minimal impact on the productivity of my homestead.

There are other methods such as swales and other earthworks plus rainwater catchment that you can also use that were not covered in this post.

What methods do you use to deal with drought on your homestead or in your garden? Please leave a comment sharing what you do.

Also, if you go to the blog post and are the first to leave a comment there will be pie waiting for you here on permies. Just make sure to leave a comment in this thread too so I can give you the pie slice!

Thank you!
 
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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....
 
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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!!
 
Posts: 73
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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!
 
Daron Williams
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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....



Thank you! I'm not familiar with adding gel to seed compost. Is it a plant based material? I'm planning on setting up a greenhouse or polytunnel of some sort in the next year or 2 so I can more easily grow my own starts.
 
Daron Williams
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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!!



Thank you and good luck with your new place! I hate watering so that is a big motivator for me
 
Daron Williams
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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!



Thanks for the comment! That is a hard situation and while I did live in Florida for a couple months for a job I have never tried gardening in that climate so my advice is a bit limited. If anyone has more experience with gardening in Florida please leave your own comment! I remember some of those torrential down pores and I was amazed how much rain could come down in so short of a time.

I think having raised beds and hugelkultur beds are a great option. Keeping the plants up out of the water makes sense.

I also think having small earthworks like swales that can deal with regular rain events and then have them spill out into mulch pits or other collection basins would help. The pits would only fill during big rain events but you would still want to have somewhere for overflow from the pits to go without causing problems. I would plant trees around the mulch pits. Are you in an area where bananas grow? I have seen some examples of people growing bananas around mulch pits. They seem to do well and help the mulch breakdown.

Then just add as much organic material around to all your soils as possible.

So I guess I would focus on increasing the water holding capacity of your soil and controlling where the water goes so you can still soak it in but avoid it from causing problems around the plants that don't like to be too wet.

Hope that helps!

 
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Hooray for this post! Thank you, Daron!
I am farming on the Kitsap Peninsula and I have been pacing and wringing my hands over drought conditions for years. When I was growing up in Bellevue our summers were largely overcast and had rain in June, July and parts of late August. Now? Last year we went without rain from the end of May to September!
I have gotten so much out of your blog post here, so I'll go over and check out the blog proper. I am using most of your techniques, but I love the afternoon shade idea and putting small logs on the sun side of plants. This is the second year I haven't tilled and we have adopted a no till, no engine policy on the farm and the difference is staggering - really quite profound what adding mulch in spring and fall has done to the soil. I'm a no-till convert. My only problem has so far been not generating enough compost on the farm and having to bring in Fish Compost but this year I'm concentrating on generating lot's of compost so I don't have to pay for any more.
We are installing the first big parts of our food forest in the fall and much of it will be hugel beds, swales and water catchment areas so that I don't have to water too much as the years go by.
Anyhow - thanks so much for the ideas!
 
Leslie Russell
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It does help, quite a bit. I can look at the areas of concern now and analyze the way the water collects or runs off and use your suggestions to help mitigate the extremes of the wet season. In a perfect world the ground would slope where it needs to and in one direction but on my property you've got yer swales over here and yer runoff over there... I'll get to work on it. Rain is a'comin, of that I can be certain. Maybe. 😏
 
Daron Williams
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Lindsey – Thank you! 😊 Awesome! Great to hear that the techniques are working for you. These droughts are crazy. I thought moving to the west side of the state from eastern WA would get me out of the summer heat… no luck!

Yeah, it is hard to generate enough compost. At this point I’m not even trying though I’m making leaf mould which I hope will help.

Good luck with your food forest and I hope it goes well for you!

Leslie – Good to hear and good luck!
 
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In winter nature obligingly puts water into a soil bank for us. We then go in, till, and all that water evaporates into the greedy air. Um...no.

I'm in the first stages of this process. I'm scattering plants around the yard willy-nilly, with the hope that some will thrive where they're put--or at least seed before they die. If they die, I'm not going to replant those items in that area. Last year's parkstrips were under thick mulch and only watered for five minutes every other week. Everything did great (watermelons, sweet potatoes, sunchokes) so last fall I put woodchips on a good part of the yard and garden. Trees are planted on location, grown on their own roots, and surrounded by plants for shade when they're young. I'm also using ground covers where they'll actually survive, and using chop and drop rather than weeding. This area of the yard has direct west exposure, so I'm doing small mounds of wood debris around the west side of the baby trees for additional shade and to maybe keep the soil a little cooler. The leaves of the ash are enough to cover a stripe of the main garden every year, and that area lies fallow for a full year. Other than that, leaves lie where they fall.

It'll be interesting to see what happens to the life in the wood chips when the full heat of summer hits. Will it survive? Retreat deeper into the soil? It will also be interesting to see how different areas react to more or less water. In the parkstrips I noticed that some areas dried out much faster (irrespective of sun exposure) while others remained wet even for the full two weeks. Probably soil differences, and I see no reason that the rest of the yard would be any different. Once I have the "dry" areas identified, plants will be shifted based on drought tolerance.
sunchokes.jpg
[Thumbnail for sunchokes.jpg]
A view of the parkstrip last fall
Parkstrip-watermelon-2018.jpg
[Thumbnail for Parkstrip-watermelon-2018.jpg]
 
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Great info, thanks
 
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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.
 
Mandy Launchbury-Rainey
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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.



Golly Johanna! We panic if we get more than a light frost!
 
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As I learned when co-teaching a PDC once, there is the axiom "It depends".  I can already think of several alternative opinions to the aformentioned principles, based on my practices over 8 years in drought prone California as compared to other places I've lived and gardened, mostly in climates with only occasional droughts.  Heavy mulch, in my system, seems to be a welcome habitat for several kinds of destructive critters...pillbugs, earwigs, slugs come first to mind.  The earwigs have been so bad they will crawl up into the fruit trees after the fruit.  Also, if it's deep enough or fluffy enough or uses any content of paper products (which was a favorite weed suppressing strategy of mine elsewhere) it constitutes a fire hazard!  So mulch, not so much for me!  I've accepted that unless I grow stuff in the cool wet season I simply must irrigate regularly, and I've found the best way to do this is with drip, on automatic timer.  In summer heat well over 100 degrees on a daily basis, even one irrigation session missed can be fatal to young veggies.  Organic matter helps, but I put it into the soil, not on top of it, and maintain a hoed dust-mulch when possible.
 
Daron Williams
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Lauren – I fully agree. The only tilling I do is one-time tilling which can be beneficial but otherwise I don’t till.

I like your approach to planting your plants and figuring out which areas will be dry. Please post an update as you start getting results and make new observations. It could help other people too!

Thanks for the great comment!

John – Thank you! 😊

Johanna – Thanks for the post! That is really interesting—your climate is very different than here. But it sounds like blocking the winds and mulch would help out a lot in your situation. Using greywater would be a great option. Any chance you could post some pictures of your setup?

Mandy – lol, yeah here snow is relatively rare. We got a big snowstorm (over a foot) this last winter and it really messed things up. Most years we only get a dusting or an inch at most.

Alder – Thanks for the comment. Yeah, mulch can bring in all those critters but so far in my experience I can also create good habitat for the things that eat all those critters. Slugs have decreased since I started mulching and I’m seeing a lot more slug predators. But as you say not every strat works in every place. But with a big list to work from I’m sure people can find ones that work for them 😊


----------------------

Thanks all for the comments! Great discussion!

Just a heads up all... so far no one has claimed the free slice of pie being offered! Just go to the blog post on my site and leave a non-spam comment. If you have not already posted a reply to this thread do that too so I can give you the pie slice
 
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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.

Do you use anything for mulch besides leaves and chop-and-dropped weeds? I'd like to put some more mulch on my beds before things start getting really dry, but not sure if there's a good source for it this time of year. Leaves in fall are great and we'll definitely keep taking it off our friends' and neighbours' hands.  
 
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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.



I'm also in the PNW (Snohomish County, WA), and I don't have have a lot of slug problems in the areas chickens have access to. The slugs definitely enjoy the shelter provided by "chunky" wood chips, so I try to keep the fresh chips in the pathways, and the composted chips as mulch in the garden beds. Chickens adore bugs, and will eat young slugs. Big mature ones, not as much, but I tend to hand-pick those, or if they ate my last asparagus, might brutally massacre them with sluggo. Most spiders and snakes are harmless, and again, chickens sort those out. I like chickens, as long as they don't get into my horseradish patch. Horseradish is supposed to be as good as indestructible, but my chickens have proved the "experts" wrong before.

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?

I've recently been leafing through Dale Strickler's "The Drought Resilient Farm" (Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Drought-Resilient-Farm-Moisture-Livestock-Semi-arid/dp/1635860024/ ), trying to decide what I can and can't apply in practice. Since I don't have ruminants right now, just chickens, I'm not able to put the pasture management to practice the way he lays it out, but I can utilize swales and eventually ponds, and mulch for starters. It gives a general understanding of water related concepts, whether catchment, storage, purification (a rudimentary explanation of how an artificial wetland works), and conservation, and about more drought resilient pasture management practices. I wouldn't consider myself an expert after reading the book, but I've been able to see where I want to slowly move towards, and know what types of subjects to research next. On the opposite end of my reading list are books about rain gardens, obviously for the opposite season's management practices.

Lauren - We have dubbed our equivalent to a "park strip" the "hell strip". It's an awkward, steep patch of poor soil, bordered on one side by a 4 foot tall concrete retaining wall that keeps the hill from collapsing into our driveway, and just 6 feet away in the narrowest spot, 15 feet at the wide spot, and a good 4-6 feet higher up, the road, and all the runoff from it all winter. It's a nightmare to mow (rock-paper-scissors to see who has to do it every time someone needs to mow it!), and no amount of mulch I can apply will stay put due to the steep grade, so I'm trying to figure out a groundcover that can survive the winter rains and the summer drought to plant there, while I try to decide if I can terrace it, or if I should give up and "xeriscape" it with boulders the tractor keeps turning up, and think of it in terms of rock garden "beds" rather than one big garden area. I suspect that sedges might help, I read their root mass can grow quite large, and it helps filter water. Right now the only thing that I've planted there that "took" is a volunteer spearmint, and two Japanese maples. The dwarf cypress trees didn't do as well, the resident white tail decided to have a good rub session and that severely maimed or killed them off.
 
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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?



I think whether or not ducks are gross is really tied to stocking rates. If you have a lot of ducks in a small area, they will turn it into a mud-poop puddle and will also be covered in poop. If you give them a big ol' kiddy pool and only change it once a week, it will be a cesspool. Chickens can handle much higher stocking rates--they're dry and they turn their own bedding. Ducks really need some room to roam, especially if you have a few of them.

When I have to keep my 13-ish ducks penned in a 1,000sqft yard, it starts to look pretty gross after a few weeks. There's a lot of poop, and they nibble the softer grasses short (especially in the winter when the grass freezes and then thaws and is a lot softer). When I only had 8 ducks, it took a lot longer to get nasty. When I tried to have a big pool for them to bath in, it got gross FAST and took a lot of water to refill, so the water wasn't changed nearly enough. Then I switched to using little trays of water about 1.5 feet by 2.5 feet and 2-4 inches deep, and a pail. I dump the water out every day, and refill it. They drink from the pail (only give a pail in their house, if you give them water in there, because they will have a splashing party. Don't have a pail if you have larger ducklings, as they can potentially get in there and drown. I lost one duckling that way:( ). I change my ducks pail and trays of water every day. Sometimes I move the pail from tree to tree, so it fertilizes differen trees. They do pooop, but if they have enough room to range, the poop will largely be spread out, and it does a great job of fertilizing the lawn.

Another thing to make them less dirty is to ferment their feed. Their poop comes out a lot more solid, and not that nasty runny poop people hate.

If someone has a small yard, ducks might not be a good option. But with 1/4 acre or more, 3-5 ducks will make a barely noticeable impact. My 13 range over 1-2 acres (they usually stay near the house), and it's only when they decide the patio is THE PLACE TO BE, that we have poop problems. And, just a bit of rain washes the poop down.

(It did get nasty for a month during our "snow-apocalypse" this year, as the snow never melted on my property for a month, and so they kept staying in one place and pooping there. I ended up putting bedding down on top of their poop that was on top of the snow.)
 
Penny Oakenleaf
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Location: 8B ("cheats" to 9A), Western WA
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Very good tips, Nicole. I'm going to save it all in my notes! I have over 5 acres of "pasture", so I can squirrel away quite a bit of stuff on my property before they become a bother, if I plan things right. I currently have about 20 chickens that have the run of the farm most of the day, and they prefer to be right on the nice lawn most of the time, and will hang out on my porch unless I remember to close the "chicken gate" (keeps babies in, chickens out, win-win!).

I hope if I get a "more permanent" (that is a relative term, as usual) garden area put in, to maybe use the principles of natural swimming pool design for the ducks, where they have access to a small portion of the water system in their enclosure, and the water then flows through some kind of biofilter zone and aeration waterfall into a holding pond stocked with some kind of feeder fish, and then gets pumped up hill and back into the duck pond, so they have flowing water all the time, and I can use the pond water to water some of the garden in the summers when it's dry, if I need to. One of the few times I'm happy to have a sloping lot, it's much easier to lay out. Ha! I don't know if I have the engineering chops right now, but I do have time, and like puzzles, and I like to tinker when I've studied a concept.

The "snowpocalypse" didn't bother us. We're pretty well prepared for inclement weather, even if the grid gets knocked out due to snow. I had to dust off the hot water bottles, because our heating system had trouble on the coldest of days, but everyone slept really well after full days of playing in the snow, or shoveling snow, or both. We actually opted to help dig a neighbor's driveway out before our own, because it's hard to treat patients from home if you're a doctor, but my husband can work from home if he can connect to the internet. We didn't mind being "snowed in" for a couple of days. It also made me realize that although I might not need snow chains for the tractor for 360 days of the year, I should probably have a set, so I can clear driveways and help unstuck cars if we get snow like that again. I couldn't get the tractor out of the barn because it kept sliding, so we shoveled the old fashioned way. My back still aches remembering it.
 
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As a tropical location homesteader we have interesting issues.  On the one hand we have your typical tropical weather.  On the other hand we have a bit of a rain shadow being on the leeward side of an island.  Some really interesting concepts in here that need some adaptation in our area, but food for thought!
 
Mandy Launchbury-Rainey
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Nicole - I would be interested to know what you feed your ducks and how do you ferment it (I am new to the idea of fermenting anything)
 
Nicole Alderman
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I feed them Scratch and Peck organic feed, which is an unprocessed feed (the seeds are whole, rather than ground up).

Here's the how-to-ferment instructions from their webpage. https://www.scratchandpeck.com/wp-content/uploads/Fermenting-Feed1.pdf

And also this page on their website https://www.scratchandpeck.com/feed-and-fines-maximizing-the-value-with-fermented-feed/

There's various other instructions on the internet for how to ferment feed, but most of them are are about the same as Scratch and Pecks.
 
Daron Williams
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Location: Olympia, WA - Zone 8a/b
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Meg and Penny – Yeah, slugs are an issue here too in western Washington. I do a quick slug patrol around my garden each night when the plants are small.

But I have actually found that the mulched areas seem to have less slugs. But that is when compared to the grass areas. In my experience the slugs seem to really like grassy areas and when I mulched these my slug issues really decrease.

I’m also creating habitat for garter snakes and a type of black ground beetle that both each slugs. The beetle also eats the eggs. This can involve creating rock piles and log piles. Slugs like those too but by setting up good habitat for the predators I’m not being overwhelmed by the slugs. They are still an issue but each year my slug population seems to be decreasing despite more areas being mulched.

Garter snakes are my gardening buddies 😊 I want more of them to show up since they eat all the things that cause problems in the garden and they are harmless to people.

I mostly mulch with wood chips but each fall I get leaves and use a ton of them. I’m also working on making leaf mould to use on the garden each year.

Hope that helps!

Nicole – Thanks for sharing your experience with ducks! I’m really hoping to get my pond system up and running and then add some ducks to it. But at the moment I’m just relying on the seasonal visits of wild ducks 😊

John – Thanks for the comment and thanks for leaving a comment over on the blog post! Pie for you!
 
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