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record droughts in USA this year, conversation

 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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I'd like to see a conversation here on the record drought in the US this year (or other places). How is it effecting you? What have you done right permaculturally that has HELPED to mitigate the drought?
Have you areas that are doing better than other areas and why? Are you irrigating to try to save areas that are really suffering, or not? Have you actually LOST completely any of your crops to the drought itself, even full grown older trees from the stress ? Is it just the drought in your area or do you also have record heat this year? etc.

Here at our homestead we have both record drought and record heat and it has gone on for an extended length of time with smaller less serious droughts off and on for the last several years to extreme drought and extreme heat this year. We have had 90's and 100's now for most of the last 2 months with very very little rain.

I have begun to plan for drought over the past few years since it has become a more and more significant problem year by year cumulating with the worst we have ever seen this year...but I wasn't prepared well enough.

We have a very high water table area (historically) so we have some areas that the trees and plants are still able to reach deep enough to get the groundwater that is still there, unlike some places where even the ground water is drying up. We are blessed in that way ..so far.

We are using very very limited amounts of irrigation (i have a drip system in the greenhouse and one in a small garden area in the rear where I turn on the drip hose a couple times a week, but try not to use too much water in that way )...need to get a rain barrel set up. I also have a pond that collects water to keep it from leaving our property, but do not have a system to pump water from it to irrigate at this time. The water level on the pond is maintained by rain, snow a little spring seep and groundwater but has no flowing water to it at this time, that is a hope for the future.

The higher areas of our property are barely 4 to 5' higher than the lower areas ..and we lost several large trees from our property (and their shade) due to emerald ash borers, and we are having 90's and 100's as highs most days this year, so the loss of shade, rain and the extreme heat is burning up the plants in the higher areas of the property, esp on the south sides of the buildings. Our lawn is mown meadow rather than lawn grasses so to speak, and even the weediest plants are dying in the hottest dryest areas.

The weed growth has been somewhat stunted which eliminates a lot of the mulch plants that we would normally have..but I have been attempting to provide shade as much as I can around the property, and where there is shade, the growth is much more healthy. The areas where I have been able to mainitain a mulch also are much more healthy, where the mulch has been used up or disappeared, things are burning up.

Also we have done some minor hugel beds (dug out the soil, buried some wood mostly aspen and ash, or bark, and then added the soil back to the top) and where these beds are there is much more green and less drought die back. This has convinced me of more and more need for burying wood in my beds. I haven't had the strength to build large hugel beds, but I'm sure they would work even better.

I also have used a limited amount of stone on the property in the beds, and where there is the stone it does seem to be helping a lot..but as our property has very little indiginous stone, we have to haul it in which is impossible right now with our truck not working.

Also looking at the type of plants that have done well. First of all this year we had frosts and freezes right up until June 13 (our last frost this year) so we lost all the blossoms on our fruit and nut trees and shrubs, so basically no fruit other than a few berries. The bears, deer and other animals cannot get any food from fruit in the wild because of the weather, so we are allowing them to glean a lot of the food from our gardens this year, it is pretty dry and seedy anyway although we have gone out and picked the nicer of the berries before the bear could get to the ones we left. Usually they clean up our fruit falls anyway, but we are being a bit more generous to them this year so they don't starve. I also dug up and replanted about 2 dozen wheelborrow loads of jerusalem artichokes out into the woods and fields for the wildlife, to help sustain them, as we had them to spare after giving many away to friends and neighbors.

The roses did really well for a while, but now they are even succumbing to the heat. The grapes seemed to do well for quite a while too, but are having some difficulty now. The berries in the shade are doing much much better than those out in the full sun (note to self, plant berries in shade). The tomato and pepper plants are having a hay day !! The lettuce bolted early as did most of the other greens.
The wild lambsquarters are growing really well (note to self, lambsquarter seed must be saved for next year). Also the jerusalem artichokes are a bit smaller than normal ..and the deer are pruning them..but they are growing well, they like this weather as do the other members of the sunflower family. Daylillies are doing wonderful and iris were quite nice this spring, so those plants with roots that hold moisture seem to enjoy the heat and drought.

The type of plants that generally grow in meadows and along side the roadways are doing excellently this year (chicory, knapweed, black eyed susan, daisy, mallow, etc.) but the generally cultivated foods are suffering some. I seem to be noticing that the squash plants are doing well (other than the squash bugs)..and in the wetter areas the field corn is growing well, but up on the hills it is dying. We have several trees that are drooping and dropping leaves or turning fall color early already. Beans are doing very little and peas were not good, will put in a fall crop if we get rain.

Speaking of fall crop, we are hoping for a long drawl out fall this year, so if that is the case we might be able to replant our gardens and get some crops yet this fall, that is the plan here, might even have to order more OP seed (didn't even get enough for saving seed of most plants)..oats and barley were really crappy. Potatoes seem to be doing ok and the beets that made it are doing well...so root crops seem to enjoy the weather, but carrots, salsify and parsnips didn't grow though...or turnips.

ok...tell me how you are faring.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9420
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Even though our region is listed as in a "severe" drought http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/ things are staying pretty green because the rains have been more evenly distributed and we've had a couple good ones so far. My vegetable garden with buried wood beds is doing well, but I have been irrigating it every three to five days when it doesn't rain, mostly in the new parts where I recently buried logs. We're losing some oak trees to Oak Wilt but I don't think the drought is having much to do with it. Wild fruits such as Texas Persimmon seem to have a heavy fruit set this year. We don't eat many of those but the critters like them. So far our well is fine but we're fortunate to be near the river where wells aren't supposed to go dry. I'm mostly worried about wildfire because of some neglected areas of our woods with a lot of standing dead cedar trees, but with higher humidity and reasonably frequent rains maybe we'll be safe. We weren't in last year's big wildfire area, thank heavens, but that doesn't mean it won't be our turn some day.....

 
Shawn Harper
Posts: 360
Location: Portlandia, Oregon
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We actually have had a really wet spring... Rains till late June. So add Portland to the no draught list
 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
pollinator
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Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
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Hugelkultur.

The one test bed that I have running down along a fence line is doing great. During our recent 113 degree day some small bell pepper plants, that have never been watered, looked just fine. Only two days later did they show any sign of stress. So I watered them twice and have not watered them since. That is pretty outstanding in my book. The soil is cool and moist when I dig my hand down into the bed.

Other areas I can dig down a foot and it is still dry.

So now, watching my buried hugel bed in it's second year, I am convinced that every single bed must be hugel. I have started the process of digging up and burying wood in every planting area. I am burying wood rather than building tall mounds just because I don't have the means to build the big mounds.
 
Ken Peavey
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Location: FL
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Persistent drought is the most insidious of natural disasters, killing more people throughout history than all other natural disasters combined. There is no great wind, no pounding hail, it does not arrive with thunder and lightning, but the path of destruction left in its wake is unmistakable. It starts gently-another nice day out there, and the mosquitoes are not so bad. But when a dry spell keeps on going, combined with stifling heat, lawns turn brown, water tables fall, rivers and lakes dry up, and food production over vast areas can be reduced to inflict famine across the land. The entire ecosystem is affected. The longer and more extreme the drought, the longer it takes for living systems to return to previous norms.

Down here in North Florida, average annual rainfall is 52 inches. Not counting the 18 inches from last month's tropical storm, we've received about 28 inches in the last 2 years. Officially, the drought is over down here, but we've had less than 1/4" of rain since the big storm. The grass is green again for now, but I fear it won't last with this sandy soil. A week after the storm I was out there with the hose watering the garden.

An interesting aspect of drought is the lack of natural decay. The normal cycle sees leaves fall to the ground followed by decomposition within a couple of years. The leaf layer continuously adds nutrients to the soil. Without the moisture provided by regular rain, these leaves are building up. It's 6 inches deep in the woods out back! With the deep mulch and little rain, plus reduced fertility, the weeds are having a tough time of it. The tree lines are not a lush wall of vegetation. The advantage is found in the leaves being easier to gather. The drought is resulting in nutrients being kept in storage above ground. When the rains resume, the duff layer will begin to decay, giving up all those nutrients. I'd expect fantastic growth once things get going again.
 
Rion Mather
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Normally I would be complaining about all of the rain, disease, and cold nights. This year is the complete opposite. We are facing record breaking heat and drought conditions. I had a friend who made hugel beds in the Spring but I didn't really get what he was doing. Now I wish I had my own homestead so that I could do the same. I have to water every day in order to see any decent growth out of my plants. Many have died off and I only have peppers, tomatoes, basil, and a few squash plants left. I do have some herbs, onions, and lettuce in containers that are doing well.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9420
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Plants that have done well for me in drought (but still some irrigation) are: Collards, tomatoes, peppers, Egyptian (walking) onions. With highs over 90F but with plenty of water eggplant, melons and okra will do well. Asparagus and Italian parsley are especially drought resistant; asparagus will go dormant but not die, Italian parsley will stop putting on new leaves but won't die under severe drought (8 inches of rain in the year), in my experience. Elephant garlic will go dormant but survive severe drought.

Shade helps tremendously. Even though my kitchen garden is surrounded by trees and gets morning and afternoon shade, shade in the middle of the day would be nice. I have some young apple trees in the garden which should eventually provide dappled shade.
 
Jason Matthew
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Most of my garden is a failure (again) this year. The area that I double dug with chicken manure and straw and layered leaves on top did well for the longest time. I noticed that it is also on the keyline, so water normally goes to that area.

 
Judith Browning
Posts: 5613
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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We had an inch and a half of rain in april and an occasional quarter inch since. June and July have been HOT and low humidity until recently so things have been very dry and we water something in the gardens daily with city water. Our blood peaches are giving us a bumper crop (no brown rot because of low humidty) and all of the summer garden crops are doing well but only due to watering. Our "wild" crops like persimmon and muscadine look just fine unwatered. Some things that we dont water go in to a kind of dormancy I guess and just hang in there until a rain like the lilacs and gallica roses and gooseberries. I wish I had not watered some of the raspberries...they look burned by the 100 degree plus sun and I think it is because the leaves were growing because I watered.. It is not unusual to have a couple summer months here with no rain but we are also going from warm winters straight into summer temperatures. The ticks and regular garden insects have been lots less this summer except for our "plague" of striped blister beetles and they were due to the extreme heat and drought.
 
Terri Matthews
Posts: 468
Location: Eastern Kansas
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It is the hottest summer since theystarted keeping track. There have been hotter days, but not a hotter summer. Of course, the hottest part of the year is still a few weeks away!

The creek may be dry, but the well established asparagus next to it looks healthy. It has had time to send down deep roots to where the water is.

Daffodils are happily dormant. They should be fine.

I am now carrying water oncce a week to the apricot and a few of the American Plums. They are too young to have deep roots and I do not wish to lose them.

Some of the wildflowers have died, but the ironweed looks very happy indeed!

 
richard willey
Posts: 35
Location: W Ma.
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I guess its put in hugle beds or do as the indians used to do ."rain dance"
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
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Location: North Central Michigan
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I agree Richard, there are some non hugel areas where I planted potatoes this year..and when I dig the potatoes this fall I'm burying wood in the area (will dig out all the soil and then put in wood before returning the soil..and then plant some winter wheat and winter rye over the soil...hopefully next year they will do better
 
kent smith
Posts: 211
Location: Pennsylvania
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I decided to use heavy mulching and a no till philosophy in our gardens after watching back to eden film. So far I have been very happy and the water useage is much less than what we needed last year. I want to at least double the mulch layer over the summer and then this fall we will start hauling in as many truck loads of leaves as possible. It has been hotter and drier here this year according to the locals. Since we moved here last spring and heard that last year was not the usuall and then that this year is drier and hotter I am not sure what is normal. Where I see the drought is in the pasture, it has had 3 times when it got dried out and the growth stopped, but then flushed after some good thunder storms. I keep reading about the failed crops in the mid west and we are trying to stock up on things that could be effected. I wonder if livestock and meat prices will raise drastically. This should be good for the local farmers around here since most of the traditional farms here seem to have health corn and soy bean crops in the fields.
kent
 
Stacy Zoozwick
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Up here in WI we have had historic drought and heat. We went 2 month without 1 drop of rain at all. Just yesterday there were a couple storm system that came through. However the atmosphere is so dry the rain hardly hit the ground. For the first time this year I planted my garden in 50 gall drums. I wanted to plant a lot more but just ran out of time. However yes I do have to water but only once a day and it is contained very well so it does not run off. I am very happy with the results. On the other hand I am having to sell 2 goats and both of my horses. I am very upset about his. We have such a huge hay & grain shortage I just can’t afford the soon to be 8-10$ a bail. There are small hoppy farmers and homesteaders losing everything around here. Every farmer I talk to only got 1st crop of hay & that was half the yield it should have been. I foresee many food shortages in our area not to machine the livestock loss. As if we were not enough of the small family farms going under.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
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Location: North Central Michigan
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yes they cut hay in Michigan this past week too and it was pathetic..about half the usual 3 of bales..and mostly weedy seedy and not a lot of grasses or forbes.. I see some rain in wisc now but not sure if we'll get any here in Michigan..hope you are gettnig some of it.

It has been in the 90's to low 100's here all month..a few 80's days but mostly 90's..that is highly unusual for Michigan. We got some sprinkles this week, but they were like you said, barely hitting the ground and didn't even settle the dust.

when I dig potatoes this fall i'm burying wood in all the beds where the taters are, at least..maybe more of them..I lent out my gaia's garden books but wish I had them so I could re read the drought info..to get more ideas of what I need to do.
 
Nacho Collado
Posts: 42
Location: Granada City (that's in the south of Spain)
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big drought here in the south of Spain too, anyway i managed to get the wheat crop sown with clay balls with only little amount of rain. in the clasic orchard we get lettuces onions garlic and broadbeans thanks to the watering
now there is coming only a little amount of water once in a week, and i manage to water some young trees by hand as well as the little treee nursery. However the best results are in the Paul Gautschi area, its giving a lot of food with little amount of water. next year i will expand the Paul Gautschi area... is the one that works best with little care and little water
 
wayne stephen
steward
Posts: 1793
Location: Western Kentucky-Climate Unpredictable Zone 6b
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Western Kentucky - Pennyrile region . If you look on the drought monitor you will see 10 year cycles of drought and floods. The old timers say its the dryest they have ever seen it. And hottest. Less snow than decades ago , too. The larger trees are taxed with some burnt branches and we have lost some young trees. We have hand watered some , but the heat alone stifled much new growth. I had a chance to build one swale this year - actually to dry up some southern slope area - will put some fruit trees and berries below it this next spring and build more this fall and winter. I was overtaken with outside work this year and did not achieve any of my planting goals , in some ways I am glad of it. My worst nightmare is that James Lovelocks nightmare vision of the Sahara reaching France and the American Desert reaching Kentucky by midcentury comes to pass. We moved from the Sonoran Desert just so we could have a greener life. Another heat wave is pending this week and we had a little rain that helped last week. Well - I have always enjoyed the Guthrie song - " So Long Its Been Good
To Know Ya " " Dusty old dust has taken my home , and I've got to keep moving along " So swales and berms seem to be the key for both cycles here and if things get worse too . Some day I hope to have something worth while to post under " My Projects " . I plan on coping with a bit of desertification here in ways that will also tolerate floods - anyone with plant species that tolerate both in zone 6b.
 
Erik Lee
Posts: 104
Location: Zone 6 - Missouri
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I'm in a little pocket of "Exceptional Drought" here - the highest level on the drought map. My pasture is almost totally dead, bare soil in many places. This is basically the first year for our permaculture projects, so we don't really have any success stories at this point. I did manage to keep our sheep and goats alive by grazing the fences and woods on the property, but even that's running out now and I'm going to have to sell the flock. We're going to focus on water harvesting earthworks this fall if we can get the resources together for it -- swales, ponds, keyline plowing, etc. We did get some rain over the winter and early spring, so hopefully that pattern will repeat and we can recharge the landscape if we get the earthworks in place in time.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9420
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Erik, if you still have plenty of trees, but no brush for the sheep, you can cut branches from the trees for them to eat. That's what I've been doing lately. An extended pruning saw/bypass pruner works well to get branches too high to reach from the ground.
 
Brenda Groth
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Location: North Central Michigan
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the drought continues here, we got about 1/8" or so of rain all month, and really really need more. I am starting to see some real damage to the trees and shrubs, and just hope that a lot of things are really going dormant like they do in africa between the monsoon seasons?

But our area is supposed to be a wet area, and this is so hard on everything.

I too am going to be doing a heck of a lot more studying on the greening the desert info than I did in the past..read thru but didn't pay enough attention to it..and wish I had. So glad I've done the little I have toward that end but really wish I had done more.

I also have been thinking about not only the drought and heat but also my age (61) and trying to also plan things closer to the house for the age reasons..and thinking also it would be a lot easier to throw a bucket of water on something within 40 ' of the house (most of our gardens are more like 200' from the house)..guess I didn't pay enough attention to the permaculture zone system when I planned that did I.

going to turn the farther gardens over to permanent low water need plants and re do an area closer to the house for the higher water need plants so that I can care better for them in t he future..I'm thinking of an area in a lower spot near the pond for some more annual vegetation and maybe a couple of peach trees (which I have planned on buying)..so I think this fall I'll be planning a new raised bed hugel type area near the pond within 40' of the house and have that ready for next year's planting...we have a huge pile of old nearly rotted aspen logs in firewood lengths that would be a good base for a hugel bed and it would only require about 30' of hauling it to get it into a new bed..just need to fiture out where to get the soil for the top of the beds and some mulch and I'll get those going for next spring or maybe if I'm fast enough a fall crop.
 
Brenda Groth
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Location: North Central Michigan
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wow thanks for all the links
 
darius Van d'Rhys
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Location: SW Virginia Mountains, USA
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A lot of my garden has gone by the wayside this year. No hope for tomatoes or peppers, maybe I'll get a few beans. The onions, garlic, and shallots planted before the lack of rain have done well. To be sure, I could not live through the winter with what I've grown this year.

This is my first year with a hugelkultur berm, just started in May. It's above ground, and not very tall, but runs along the line where rain comes off the barn roof before heading downslope to the creek. I ran out of energy and didn't get all the sod turned under properly, nor enough dirt/mulch put on top, and like a dunce, I planted water-loving winter squash on it. I do have to water more than I'd like, because the logs are far from rotting and holding water, and rainfall has been scant.

Nonetheless, I shall harvest a few winter squash from the berm, and come fall and the demise of the squash vines, I'll add more mulch and soil so it will have better water retention next year no matter what I plant on it. Unfortunately, I'm going to have to cover the grass on it that didn't get turned upside down, either with cardboard or newspapers, before adding mulch and dirt. Fortunately, it's not the entire berm!

Here's the base of the berm. The logs were covered with about a foot of small stuff, then sod, then what dirt I could scavenge. I'll have to hunt for a photo of the squash growing on it, or take another photo to post later.
Hugel logs 3.jpg
[Thumbnail for Hugel logs 3.jpg]
 
Stacy Zoozwick
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Still no rain here is WI but I have to say,( the farming community is Great)! I have been blessed by so many people on this site in in my local area. I post one add looking for hay due to drought. I had people emailing me with number names and places. 5 emails just saying they will be on the lookout and let me know a.s.a.p. if they find any. The one thing that comes from hard ships or hard times is, the Love that is shown by other in times of need. This is really the important lesson about the drought and fires. You know who the kind loving people are and them that are not. To all you that are still in need of rain, (this family is praying for you)!
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
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Location: North Central Michigan
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well we are hoping the focasters are right as they say we could get more than an inch of rain starting late tomorrow. I'm thinking it might be a good idea to mow the lawn today or tomorrow just to have the weeds cut down enough to give things a chance to grow equally..in hope that they are right.

I was also considering that maybe getting a little water on something today so that the soil is more receptive to the rain tomorrow afternoon might not be a bad idea..to soften the crust??

there is still hope for the blackberries and the elderberries and saving the trees and shrubs if we get rain.

the long term forcast is for a hot august, cooler than normal Sept and hot october..but they say the drought is supposed to continue in most areas through the winter.
 
Sam White
Posts: 222
Location: Caerphilly, Wales, UK
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Wow, we've had quite a contrast here in the UK - the wettest June on record followed by a very wet July. Things have just changed this week and we've got our best weather since March/April. Our plants ain't thrived with the cold, wet weather and the slugs but things are now looking up. I just hope things change for the better over in the USA (and other drought afflicted areas of the world) soon and remain 'improved' for us here in the UK!

kent smith wrote: I keep reading about the failed crops in the mid west and we are trying to stock up on things that could be effected. I wonder if livestock and meat prices will raise drastically. This should be good for the local farmers around here since most of the traditional farms here seem to have health corn and soy bean crops in the fields.


Stacy Zoozwick wrote: On the other hand I am having to sell 2 goats and both of my horses. I am very upset about his. We have such a huge hay & grain shortage I just can’t afford the soon to be 8-10$ a bail. There are small hoppy farmers and homesteaders losing everything around here. Every farmer I talk to only got 1st crop of hay & that was half the yield it should have been. I foresee many food shortages in our area not to machine the livestock loss.


I read an interesting article on the Guardian website about the effect of the drought on global food prices including meat. Apparently meat prices will drop in the short term in response to feed prices and then spike once the excess of meat has been consumed. Can read it here.
 
Joshua Finch
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Before I left the States in June, our garden was doing extremely well. We were a little dry, but since we had planted heavy cover crops last fall - that had matured by early spring- we not only had a layer of mulch left over from the year prior but also a very thick living mulch.

My parents will be here visiting this next week so I'll get to hear all about the garden in more detail. But from what they've been telling me, even in semi-drought conditions (strange location in NC, we seem to be in some kind of drought pocket), the garden is doing very well.

Here in Helsinki its been cold and wet all summer. Light rains off and on for a month with temps just beginning to reach 20C (68F) with any regularity. I don't have a garden here yet so I can't attest to anything we've been doing.

Thanks for starting this thread Brenda. I'd like to hear more stories- especially from folks who have been implementing their permaculture designs for more than a few years. I'm sure there are successes out there. At the very least permacultralists can rest assured that they are learning from the drought. That they are experimenting and challenging themselves in their designs, unlike most gardeners who probably won't change a thing for the next year.

Good luck out there!
 
Craig Dobbelyu
gardener
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Location: Maine (zone 5)
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we've just gotten a few thunderstorms in the last few hours. I was outside watering like crazy this morning so that the rain would soak in instead of just running off due to very dry surface soil. Even though I have a lot of mulch down, things have been tough going this year on the rain front. I've had to do a lot of watering and it's begining to take it's toll on the well pump, which runs nearly constantly when I'm using the hose. I'm glad I got the surface opened up because my soils drank up the quick rain while a lot of the surrounding property just shed the water like a duck's back. things are growing but not like it does when we get a nice rain once a week. This weather is confirming my plans to institute a large scale hugel and pond project this fall. Gotta start taking advantage of the winter snow and subsequent spring melt.

 
Cal Edon
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I suspect that the general lack of rain has something to do with the thoroughness with which the rabbits and groundhogs are ravaging my local community garden. Everything that they can eat, has been eaten. Everything.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9420
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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A fence might be a good idea. I can't imagine living in a place where it is possible to garden without a fence.....
 
Cal Edon
Posts: 36
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There IS a fence. Six feet high, chain link, runs several feet into the ground. They're getting in *anyway*.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9420
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Maybe squeezing through the links....

 
Karl Teceno
Posts: 91
Location: Portland Maine
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We have been very fortunate here in Maine. A few small stretches of 100 degree heat but cooling off in between those stretches. It was a little dry earlier this summer but about normal now. Of course the dry spell came at the worst possible time, so hay prices have sky rocketed. I live on a small lot in the city. This year I planted a lot of potatoes in burlap bags to try and maximize my space. I was concerned about the high heat rapidly drying out the compost and hay inside but they seem to be doing fantastic. We are currently being buried alive by peppers, cukes and zuccinni. My grapes look terrible between the Japanese beetles and a disease that they seem to have picked up but there are tons of grapes filling out. Compared to the rest of the country, we are good here!

Karl
 
David Good
gardener
Posts: 522
Location: Equatorial tropics
30
books forest garden
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I'm just south of Gainesville and we've had a couple of the wettest months on record. Wish we could send some water out west for ya'll.

I'm actually surprised by all the rainfall... it was dry this spring, then a big tropical storm, and now lots of regular rain. It's not that way in all the state, however. Some areas are still getting lower rainfall than average.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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we got a small amount of rain this morning, and we are getting rain again now, probably won't be enough but it is better than none, I'm happy for it. Last night I also watered some areas, just to allow the surface tension to be damp as the previous poster..and hopefully it made a difference..but our rain also has come in the morning and then again now..(we just had a power outage but it came back on) Hopefully we won't lose power, guess I'd better go fill up something with water..in case..
 
Richard Johns
Posts: 9
Location: Kenyucky
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This is fascinating for a newcomer. There are terms in these posts that I do not understand, but which I shall soon study. I have a stream running under my property that is just barely too deep to reach with a hand pump. (There is currently an electric well pump but I'd like to get away from the grid dependence.) Will a crank type pump reach deeper than a push/pull pump? I can see I need rain barrels on each side of my barn. Is there a cheaper way of having rain barrels than just buying lots of plastic drums? I'll quit asking all these questions at once.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9420
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Some people are able to get IBC (Intermediate Bulk Containers) liquid shipping containers for cheap or free. The main problem with these is they're translucent so the water grows algae and doesn't stay as fresh as it might in a dark container. But they can be put under the shade. Large rain tanks are much cheaper per gallon than small barrels. Getting the largest tank you can fit in the space and can afford is a more efficient use of funds than buying a bunch of small containers. But they are very expensive for sure, and not getting any cheaper. If you're handy you can build your own ferrocement rain tank. http://www.oasisdesign.net/water/storage/
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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I too have a plan for rainbarrels..have my pond and a gutter leading to it, but would like to do some rain barrels here as well. I read something or heard something the other day (can't remember which) that mentioned putting a rainbarrel or raincatchment system off of your chicken coop roof to help with the watering of your chickens..could do that for just about any structure (barn, coope, house, shed)..but that made a lot of sense to me to provide water for the chickens..and not have to haul water daily..at least in the summer.

we got 3 to 3 1/2 inches of rain overnight and this morning, but it isn't really enough to make a dent in the drought. We are down a good 2 feet from our normal water table. There is a little more rain in the forcast for tomorrow though so maybe we'll get some after this soaks in good.
 
Richard Nurac
Posts: 52
Location: north Georgia
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Here in north Georgia we have had record heat (broke the Atlanta all time heat record) but fortunately some decent rains recently. I read today that Russian wheat and Indian crops (poor monsoon season) are also taking a hammering. If this continues next year, there will be a lot more interest in global warming much as happened in Australia a few years ago.

I am self sufficient when it comes to irrigation by which I mean all my irrigation is from harvested rainwater. I catch rain from every roof on every building and store it and then pump it to high placed tanks from which it gravity feeds to the trees and other plantings. Plus, since the ground slopes, I use extensive contour ditches to trap the running water and allow it to penetrate the ground for use by roots of nearby plantings. Plus a lot of mulching - first newspapers and then well decomposed (>1 year old) wood chips.

Everything is holding up well though, if I had irrigated more (used well water) my fruit trees would have done better. But on principle I wish to be self sustainable and also I do not wish to deplete the reservoirs which feed my well. Drilling a new well is costly and I would rather my neighbors, who also use wells but do not plant much, do not blame me if/when the wells run dry. If you are interested you can see details at my website.
 
Ben Stallings
Posts: 156
Location: Emporia, KS
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I'm in east-central Kansas, and the main problem I'm having is with western exposure. I did a pretty good job of preparing my plantings for the southern midday sun, but it's the low setting sun that's really killing things. I lost all but one honeyberry bush (which means I may as well have lost them all, since honeyberries are not self-fertile), and my hazelnuts are almost dead. I didn't plan for western shade when I laid out my lot, so it will take several years to grow permanent shade; in the meantime I may have to erect some kind of frame for shadecloth.
 
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