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Creating some new water irrigation systems to prevent drought.

 
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How are you folk doing on this fine weekend? I'm looking for ways to fight the dryness of plants and drought in the soil for next year when the heat's on. You all heard about burying a clay pot in the ground with water in there and something covered over the top to prevent bugs from dropping in there? I'm also looking for a stronger connection to keep my gardens from drying up every summer without continuing to water each day. Please drop in more ideas and stuff relating to pots in the ground to help moisten roots and stuff. Out!
 
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All my new raised beds have lots of punky wood at the bottom surrounded by some clay soil and then with good compost on top. Even during the really "bad for here" heat in June, I only watered every second day. Once we went back to more normal temperatures, I watered every 3 or 4 days. Basically I'm containing the hugel idea in a frame.

My trees I actually burry chunks of wood up-slope to hold water. I'm also chopping and dropping comfrey and putting duck shit inoculated wood chips around the drip line. In normal years, I water every 6 weeks, but water deeply when I do. This year it was more often although not hugely because I tried to time a good deep water for just as the fruit was setting. If I water while the fruit is growing, it's more likely to split.
 
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Swales are your friend. They are depressions/ditch on contour that store water.
You can even fill the swales with logs/woodchip/mulch.
 
Blake Lenoir
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I'll give it a try! What type of pot I need to bury it in the ground with with water and a top to keep bugs out?
 
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Blake Lenoir wrote: I'll give it a try! What type of pot I need to bury it in the ground with with water and a top to keep bugs out?



I have used 2-liter soft drink bottles with very small holes cut into the bottom to allow the water to slowly drain.

I would also suggest using a thick layer of mulch.  It could be made out of any materials available from chop and drop, straw, leaves, woodchips, etc.

I have also read that planting perennial plants or vegetables will help in drought situations. This thread might be of interest:

https://permies.com/t/146484/perennial-vegetables/Perennial-veggies-beginner-start

This thread offers several suggestions related to drought situations:

https://permies.com/t/138768/Water-Plants-Trees-Drought-Conditions

The suggestions are more geared to drought in the desert you might be able to make some of them work for you.
 
Blake Lenoir
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Okay, what about permaculture mounds such as hugelculture and the such? I've used hugelculture to help my crops grow and things of that nature.
 
Anne Miller
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hugelkultur raised garden beds in a nutshell

grow a typical garden without irrigation or fertilization
has been demonstrated to work in deserts as well as backyards



https://richsoil.com/hugelkultur/

Another useful thread on hugelkultur:

https://permies.com/t/hugelkultur

Another Concept is berms:

https://permies.com/t/berms#1304442
 
Blake Lenoir
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Watched a video on YouTube about some group of folks from California doing a lecture on hugelculture and stuff?
 
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Hi,

So first method mentioned works by the water seeking less pressure. so when the pot is full of water and the ground is dry the moisture moves to the soil.
other aspects of this involve cooling the ground around the pot if the pot is shaded,

Earth hydration aspects of swales are great for capturing and soaking water into the earth!
not really great for a garden bed.

other ideas include wicking beds,

Hugel mounds
which work by the xylem (wood) breaking down into a sponge of moister and nutrients,
Benefits include more space to garden, multiple design combinations,
The larges pieces in the middle to because of thermal conductivity,
Aerobic conditions because of voids created in the break down of the materials inside.

Soil wetting crystals, they work in the same concept as the pot,
however they break down and add plastic materials,
Funny point is some people put them into there gardens dry and when they expand they can cause plants to pop out of the ground!

Sedimentary rock basins,
storing water in the sedimentary rocks,

water capturing systems from the atmosphere,
Dates back to ancient times in the middle east, limited water capture of a few litres, non viable for cost,

Using green houses and terrariums, to catch the precipitation,

benefits include temperature regulation,
earth ships are some of the best versions of this, in my opinion,

Hydroponics,  

aeroponics,

Self watering pots,

Mulching,

Creating climate adjustments with creating a forest that effects the hydrology of the surrounding air,

Using worm towers helps hydrate also, just make sure to put gravel at the bottom of it,

watering directly to the subsoil,

Pretty much the main thing you need to know is water has volume,
water moves with energy pulling it towards the centre of mass of the earth, (when non pressurised)
Water is pulled to the place of least pressure,
Water has weight so it applies pressure to itself!
Materials are effected by thermal conductivity which is effected by size!

In addition nutrients to plants are food, they like us like to drink water when they eat!
they get dehydrated if they do not!

Now for my variation,
Designed subsoil aquifers, that created by hidden, drains under the ground which store the water from home and from rain events,
Please do not attempt this without some level of university study of soil mechanics!


There are a lot more areas I would Like to go into from plant biology, animal methods, Persian systems and Australian variations. refraction of materials and shading.
soil structure and soil conglomeration.
Plant social behaviours,
expansion into insect usage!
Organic mater percentages and how it can mean extra days without rain!
Snow and ice effects of the soil and landscape!
But I tried to keep this brief and simple!



Feedback appreciated!
 
Blake Lenoir
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Outstanding summary of irrigation! I'm looking into finding more ancient ways to preserve crops and other plants from being drying out from the dead summer heat. I mulched this year by adding old newspaper and then covered it up with mulch to keep moisture year round. I wanna find out some safe ways of using newspaper without letting the ink leak into the soil. Any idea on how I can do that?
 
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Blake,

Good job on considering more Permie ways to keep your plants watered during dry times.  I will give some information based on my childhood experience growing up in central Illinois which has a summer climate/weather very similar to your Chicago area just a bit over 100 miles north from my childhood home.  But first the basics.

Northern and Central Illinois has a very continental type climate—hot summers cold winters—but you already knew that.  Typically spring is the rainy part of the year which corresponds with snow melting off.  That’s where I begin my irrigation.

Broadly speaking I have used 2 methods to irritate.  The first was drip line irrigation.  This works, requires some time and expense but can get you through any dry spell.  I stopped using drip line irrigation because of my second approach to retaining water which takes me back to spring.

After several years of gardening in very dense, heavy brown clay (I now live in Southern Illinois and we have nothing like the deep, rich, black loam common to the rest of the state), I eventually started adding in wood chips to my gardens—as in piles of chips that would sit over winter and get knocked down to about 1’ tall in spring.  

By letting the pile sit over winter, the soil beneath was protected from freezing temperatures (I don’t know how this will work for you), and soil microbes worked their way into the wood while wood microbes worked there way into the soil.  By spring it was hard to say where the chips stopped and the soil began.  In fact, the soil actually looked better than the black loam I was so accustomed to in Central Illinois.

This new clay/decayed wood hybrid soil really holds lots of water and since the pile of chips improves the soil well below the surface, the water retention capacity of the deeper soil improved as well.  I no longer water at all—period!  I simply sow and the plants grow.  Their roots grow nice and deep.  This year was a hot, dry year and I totally neglected my garden yet my plants (mostly tomatoes) grew abundantly (I really need to get out and pick the fruits).

In case you can’t tell, I wholeheartedly recommend using the latter method.  Also, like you I use newspaper and/or cardboard as a moisture barrier to prevent excessive evaporation.  As for ink, I applaud your intent to not spread any nasty stuff into your garden, but today ink is based on soy oil and is pretty innocuous.  I could go on endlessly why we use soy ink, but I‘ll just leave it at that for now.

Blake, I have thrown a lot of information at you.  Use, discard or modify whatever you think is appropriate.  One tenant of permaculture is that there is never just one solution to a problem.  Please don’t treat this as a set of instructions but maybe as some useful guidelines—if you wish—and please let us know how things work out.

Eric
 
Blake Lenoir
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No burden at all! Just love to be as informed as I can and I adore in depth detail of permaculture to sharpen me up at this time. I'm hoping folks out west can hear me out so far so I can get them outta the drought they been in this year from wildfires and that sort. Come by this post and we'll talk more on how to surrive future droughts to come in the west. Out!
 
Eric Hanson
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Blake,

Since you like depth and are not overwhelmed yet I will add that a critical component of my wood chip system is the introduction of mushrooms—specifically Wine Cap mushrooms.  These are edible mushrooms that are extremely aggressive and love to consume wood in contact with soil.  They can really break down wood chips quickly into a spongy material—great for holding water.  They also facilitate the knitting of wood chips and soil together.

Just a thought.
 
Blake Lenoir
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Mushrooms at last! I been waiting to use mushrooms for my borders and in some parts of my gardens. One of native mushrooms I'm looking to grow is the giant puffball. I'm looking to find out how can I grow that in my permaculture gardens in full sun as well as with other types of native mushrooms. Speaking of native mushrooms, you know of any native mushrooms that I can grow from prairies or savannahs that have been obsorbed in high sun even in the frying heat?
 
Blake Lenoir
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Anybody used roof pipes to connect water to barrels and ponds to help freshen water? I've tried to connect pipes to my pond in the past, but it was tough to do. I'm looking for basic ways to connect pipes in my backyard to help stream water down to my ponds and barrels. Any quick way to do that?
 
Eric Hanson
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Blake,

So if you want mushrooms, the Wine Cap fits just about every qualification you mentioned.  They actually prefer some dappled sunlight and generally stand up to heat, though they will grow best during cool temperatures.  They are edible and are very easy to identify.  They practically grow themselves and are a great starter mushroom.  For my purposes, they aggressively break up wood and turn it into a nice, fertile bedding material.

About the only downside for your purposes is that they are generally considered to be native to Germany.  There is a little bit of speculation that there may be an American strain, but if it exists, I have no idea how you would get ahold of it.  I do understand your desire for a completely Midwestern selection of plants (and fungi), but it is a very useful fungi to have in your garden.

If you decide against the Wine Caps, maybe try the oysters.  I don’t know their origins, and I am not certain how they stand up to intense heat and sunlight but they are at least as aggressive as the Wine Cap, maybe even more so.  I have plans to try an Oyster bed myself this fall so they are definitely on my short list.

I am not certain about deliberately getting puffballs, but they have shown up for me spontaneously with no rhyme or reason.  If some show up, maybe you could propagate it.  The same goes for dog vomit fungus which despite the name is a harmless and useful fungi for breaking down wood.

I like talking mushrooms so if I can help further, don’t hesitate to ask.

Eric
 
Blake Lenoir
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I'm concentrating on stir fries, salads, stews and soups for mushrooms. I've heard oyster mushrooms taste like lobster. Is there any way I could plant oyster or shittake out in full sun this time of year? I'm trying to learn how to grow mushrooms of my own in these difficult times. Could we also transplant those from the wild into our gardens as long as they're common?
 
Eric Hanson
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Blake,

My suggestion for growing mushrooms is to incorporate them directly into the garden.  I like to grow my Wine Caps in between my tomato plants.  The mushrooms actually help the plants grow and don’t crowd out plants like a weed would.  The tomatoes provide dappled shade—exactly what a wine cap wants.  That shade also reduces heat and evaporation losses.  I imagine that you could do something similar with oyster mushrooms.  I have not grown oyster mushrooms myself so I can’t really speak 100% authoritatively but oysters are considered to be an easy mushroom to grow—just don’t mix them with wine caps as they will fight each other to the death.
 
Blake Lenoir
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Could we grow our mushrooms in large containers such as tubs and stuff? I wanna find out how can I do better in drilling logs for mushrooms. I did one before, but it never came up with no tanagable results. I'm looking for the concreate to help me produce more mushrooms year in and year out?
 
Eric Hanson
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Certainly you could grow mushrooms in tubs.  Just make sure that you get the tub some shade and water.  Without contact with the ground the mushrooms will need some help but that’s easy to accomplish.  And you could grow different mushrooms in each container if you wished.  
 
Blake Lenoir
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You grown moss before to help enrich gardening landscapes and stuff like that? Could moss and fungi be used in our gardens to heap enrich our soil and give beauty to moist landscapes? You studied the nutritional benefits of moss or fungi from an indigenous standpoint?
 
Eric Hanson
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I have not incorporated moss, though that is a very interesting idea.  Generally my gardens are too sunny for moss to spontaneously grow.  However, the conditions I make for mushrooms might make a great habitat for moss.  I would like to know more about incorporating moss.
 
Blake Lenoir
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You ever made a rain garden before from wildflowers and stuff that absorb water to prevent further flooding and erosion? I'm looking to find ways of how I can make my gardens more flood and erosion proof while helping grow valuable crops and bringing quality wildlife year after year whether they resident or visitor. Any way of how I can pull it off with the current irrigation systems that I got in my yard right now?
 
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