Saturday, July 28, 2012

Dealing with drought

Because more than half of the United States is currently in a drought, odds are good that the majority of people reading this are actually in that situation. I remember last year hearing about the people in Texas who were selling off their herds at rock bottom prices because they had no water, no pasture, no hay, and no grain.

And my heart was really breaking as I watched the Facebook feeds when the wildfires started and people were trying to evacuate farms. Even now I get choked up thinking about it and wondering what I would do if faced with a similar situation. And although it seemed like a remote possibility a year ago here, it seems more probable as days and weeks pass with no rain and our pastures now look like dried up deserts.

I certainly don't have all the answer and am hoping that some of you have suggestions for dealing with this situation. According to the Drought Monitor, things are going to get worse at least through October, which is only as far as they predict. This is what I've learned so far --
  • If you can, water your trees, especially the young ones, which don't have very deep roots yet. We've lost a two-year-old and two, one-year-old arborvitaes.
  • Section off a piece of pasture so your animals can't graze it, and water it -- if you can, of course. We're lucky to have a deep well, which hopefully won't run dry. I've been seeing quite a few trucks with water tanks on a trailer, so obviously not everyone is so lucky.
  • You've probably already started, but if not, buy hay now. If you are in a drought-stricken area, there may be no hay, so you'll have to look elsewhere or look for an alternative to dried hay, such as Chaffhaye, which is haylage.
  • If you are trying to keep a garden alive, you have to water a lot! A single can of water poured on a plant a couple of times a week isn't going to do it. They say a garden needs an inch of rain a week. Think about how long it has to rain for you to get an inch -- usually quite a few hours! 
  • Mulch your plants heavily (2-3 inches deep) so that the water you give them doesn't evaporate.
  • To conserve water, use soaker hoses or just water directly on the ground. Don't use a sprinkler because a lot of that water will evaporate, especially if you're having 100+ degree days.
If you have other suggestions -- including things that have or have not worked for you -- don't hesitate to share in the comment section! We're all in this together!

1 comment:

  1. Water early in the morning or later in the afternoon to early evening, when water is less likely to evaporate as much as it will during the middle of the day.


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