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Insurance against unusual weather?  RSS feed

 
dan long
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I remember recently rereading Solomans book and there was a part where he was talking about how (such and such plant) only fails once every 5 years with (this method) and 3 without it. Then I thought i remember reading how 1 out of every 20 years or so, there is a sever killing frost that is enough to decimate a certain type of fruit tree.

Most of the conventional methods are either unsustainable or highly labor intensive. Tunnels and black plastic use plastic that must be replaced and the other method is to wrap tree trunks with burlap sacks when the frost is coming. I could see myself doing the burlap thing if i thought it was necessary.

The only permacualtre method that comes to mind is rock piles as a heat sink. This would be great for lower growing plants like asparagus but probably wont do much for bushes or trees which would shade the rocks. I also remember something about making beds off contour so that the frost doesn't collect but i'm not sure how people balance the potential for erosion with the need to drain the frost.

Are there any other methods you all know of to insure against unusual weather? I suppose unusually extreme drought would also be included in "unusual weather" but I have a better idea of how to hedge against that than i do the cold.
 
Cj Sloane
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dan long wrote:
Are there any other methods you all know of to insure against unusual weather? I suppose unusually extreme drought would also be included in "unusual weather" but I have a better idea of how to hedge against that than i do the cold.


I think most permaculture methods have this built in. Ponds or other bodies of water protect against cold. So does site location - middle part of a slope, and avoiding frost pockets. I'm on the side of a mountain and the valley always gets frost before my spot.

Hugelkulturs and raised beds in general can offer some protection/extra warmth. Wind breaks will help too.

What plant were you trying to protect?
 
R Scott
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Polyculture is its own form of insurance. If you have enough diversity, there will be a bumper crop of Y to replace the failed crop of X that year.

 
dan long
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Cj Verde wrote:
dan long wrote:
Are there any other methods you all know of to insure against unusual weather? I suppose unusually extreme drought would also be included in "unusual weather" but I have a better idea of how to hedge against that than i do the cold.


I think most permaculture methods have this built in. Ponds or other bodies of water protect against cold. So does site location - middle part of a slope, and avoiding frost pockets. I'm on the side of a mountain and the valley always gets frost before my spot.

Hugelkulturs and raised beds in general can offer some protection/extra warmth. Wind breaks will help too.

What plant were you trying to protect?


Nothing yet. Still waiting on my wives visa so we can move back to Washington.
 
dan long
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R Scott wrote:Polyculture is its own form of insurance. If you have enough diversity, there will be a bumper crop of Y to replace the failed crop of X that year.



I absolutely understand what you mean. However, in the case of annuals, it takes so much work to grow them that it isn't practical to grow enough of Y to live off of in case X fails and vice versa. It might take 10,000 sq feet of grain per person per year (The Five Year Guide to Self-Sufficiency) so if I need to feed a family of 4, I have to have almost an acre of successful grain. That is a full time job for one man! If I want to grow two different crops for insurance, I would have to cultivate 2 acres just for grain. This is not even including the vegetables, though admittedly, those are admittedly, much less necessary for survival and a family is not going to starve to death because excessive rains rotted out the carrots or drought killed off the lettuce in any single given year.

In the case of perennials, they take so much longer to establish that even if losing any single given variety during an especially cold year isn't going to mean you can't fed yourself, it is still a disappointment to lose a few, highly productive, mature trees. It is especially troublesome to have to replant certain trees every few years because they die off every exceptionally cold year.

I'm more thinking infrastructure. Windbreaks are an excellent suggestion. Raised beds are definitely a great tool for shorter plants as well.
 
Peter Ellis
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"Unusual weather" is an enormous subject. Early/late frost is something much more focused.
There are lots of methods, beginning with choosing plants for your environment and continuing through building suitable microclimates.
Thinking in long terms is important too. Michael Pulaski has good insights on getting a yield from the very start while simultaneously building toward a perennial based system.
Worth remembering that late frost solutions may be entirely different from early frost protections. For example, placing stone fruit on a north slope to delay flowering and reduce their risk from late frosts. That is not likely to help keep them warm in an early frost scenario.
Some things involve tradeoffs and betting which problem is more important to address. It is also important to keep your mind open to possible solutions and not to think in narrow terms.
 
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