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Growing in adversity floods and droughts

 
Paula Edwards
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The Australian weather has always been weird, but this time it seems to be even weirder.
While I believe there is no way to secure your garden against extreme events like bushfires or floods, we could brace against too much water or drought.
Unfortunately, I haven't seen any studies, how our weather will go in future and we might have to prepare for too much rain and too little rain and extreme temperatures.

It is comparatively easy to plant in moist conditions or in dry conditions, but in a land were you have both, changing every few years is challenging. I.e do you plant your fruit tress in depressions or on mounds?

Everybody here tells me that swales are good in dry lands, but I am convinced that they have the capacity to hold back too much water, but I didn't try this.
Wetlands around the garden might be good against bushfires.
Any ideas?
 
maikeru sumi-e
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ediblecities wrote:
The Australian weather has always been weird, but this time it seems to be even weirder.
While I believe there is no way to secure your garden against extreme events like bushfires or floods, we could brace against too much water or drought.
Unfortunately, I haven't seen any studies, how our weather will go in future and we might have to prepare for too much rain and too little rain and extreme temperatures.

It is comparatively easy to plant in moist conditions or in dry conditions, but in a land were you have both, changing every few years is challenging. I.e do you plant your fruit tress in depressions or on mounds?

Everybody here tells me that swales are good in dry lands, but I am convinced that they have the capacity to hold back too much water, but I didn't try this.
Wetlands around the garden might be good against bushfires.
Any ideas?



Because I live in a desert and extremely dry area in general, I put my fruit trees in depressions with raised sides.

Perhaps you could combine the two and ease your concerns by making your swales your artificial wetlands by design?
 
Paula Edwards
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A you give me an idea, mounds with depressions around, like a medieval castle.
 
Kay Bee
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Location: Jackson County, OR (Zone 7)
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when designing swales or other water harvesting earth-works, it is important to think about heavy rain events (or long periods of steady rain) and where the extra water will go.  Make sure the excesss is directed to where it will either do some good or at least not cause harm as it moves downhill.

For both flood or drought, increasing the amount of organic matter will be of benefit in moderating the effects of the weather extremes.
 
Tyler Ludens
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I recommend Brad Lancaster's "Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands volume 2" in which he describes in detail how to plan and construct earthworks for managing maximum flood water events.  As mentioned above, it's important to plan on where the excess water will go once your earthworks have filled.  Putting  trees on mounds within depressed basins is a technique he recommends for those trees, such as most fruit trees, which don't like to sit in the wet.  Plants which prefer to be dry most of the time are planted on the edges of the basins or on raised berms.  Plants which prefer or can tolerate more moisture are planted in the bottom of the basins.

We're in a severe drought here in Texas and I've lost several fruit trees that were planted without any earthworks, so I'm planning to reconfigure my garden completely before I replant.  This same garden was under 4 inches of water during flood.   
 
Tyler Ludens
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I should also add I think hugelkultur can help mitigate both flood and drought. 
 
Kay Bee
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Location: Jackson County, OR (Zone 7)
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Ludi - have you tried the mulching technique Lancaster mentions that is used by his friend in NM where a trench or deep pit is dug near the tree at planting time and filled with paper products? 

I'm not big on the idea of using junk mail due to all the colors and other potential nasty chemicals in the paper, but it seems like it would be easy to use old newspapers that were printed with soy-based ink.  Seems like a fast decaying hugelkulture setup.
 
Tyler Ludens
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I'm going to try the "vertical mulching" but instead of using junk mail I'll be using logs, sticks, and old hay.    My plan is to make a basin around the planting area for each tree and dig a trench in the bottom of the basin to fill with logs etc.

 
Kay Bee
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Location: Jackson County, OR (Zone 7)
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the logs and sticks and hay sounds great.  burying a bale of spoiled hay or straw flush with ground level would be interesting.

I do like the recycling prospects of using old mail and newspapers.
 
Paula Edwards
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What is vertical mulching?
I use the huegelculture but don't actually make a hill. until now it works great.
And there's another mischief one must count with especially when it's dry: fire. Obviously you don't plant gum trees or pines close to your house (if you plant them at all). But I guess it is of a great advantage if you can keep your ground moist (this won't help against embers)
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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ediblecities wrote:
What is vertical mulching?


"the mulching technique Lancaster mentions that is used by his friend in NM where a trench or deep pit is dug near the tree at planting time and filled with paper products"   
 
Kirk Hutchison
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Location: Los Angeles, CA
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Legume trees are nice, especially in droughts.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/email
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