Drought victims

This is was a feijoa:

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Admittedly I haven’t given it any water at all and for some reason (unknown), this is a very dry spot. Everything here is wilted and unhappy. I’m not too fussed about it because I have feijoas doing better, in other locations. Just look at this one, planted in the grey water line:

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It hasn’t been watered at all either, but gets a good soak every time I do a load of washing or have a shower.

This was a pepino:

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One thing I can say for certain about pepinos is that they won’t tolerate dryness. I’ve lost all three I had in a variety of places in the food forest.  It was only regular rainfall that kept them going. I deliberately let them go because they weren’t successful grown at ground level as the rabbits constantly chewed the fruit. I still have plants from struck cuttings and I’m going to put one in a wicking tub close to the house (perhaps even on the deck), where I can keep an eye on rabbit (& possum) predation and net if necessary (rabbits chewed through the net when I had them growing in the ground).

A sad patch of oregano:

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Again I’m not fussed if it dies. I have multiple patches of herbs throughout the garden and I’m only trying to keep one of each alive. It will be interesting to see if this one comes back following rain  (you DO remember rain don’t you?  Sorry Queenslanders, I only wish you could send some of your excess to Victoria!).

One good thing about the lack of rainfall is that the first and second of the three pools down at the rear of the property have dried right out. This didn’t happen over the past two (wetter) summers and the water plants just took over and stupidly, I let them go. I should never have planted them in the first place, but didn’t know much about water plants at the time. So I’ve been chopping out all the plants, slicing underneath and removing the matted root systems with the spade. Much easier to do when you don’t have to don gumboots. I’m looking forward to seeing clear water again. I’ve almost finished the first pool. It’s only shallow—just over ankle deep at the most. If the rain holds off, I may try and deepen it a bit before it fills again.

What it used to look like:

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What it looks like now:

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The third pool is deeper (probably up to my thighs) and still has water in the centre. It may not dry out completely. I might just clear around the edges and leave the centre for habitat:

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Dry sand? No worries for us. Just right for a bath. We love that gritty-sand-against-the-skin feeling:

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Later edit—just before hitting the publish button; it’s raining as I type this!! Yay! Looks like 10 mm in the gauge and a couple of thousand litres in the tank. More please, Rain God!

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9 Responses to “Drought victims”

  1. notsomethingelse Says:

    Know how you feel about loss of plants this year. For me it is actually not quite as bad as I expected but have still lost some.

    Glad to hear you have some rain now. I have been waiting too. Still am.

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  2. narf77 Says:

    That cyclone has certainly been doing a rainy number here in Tasmania. The garden has been lapping it up and a lot of my crispy plants might just make it. N.Z. that is usually rainy all through summer is apparently suffering a drought and poor Victoria seems to have missed the rain completely :(. Here in Northern Tas the climate dictates that we get 3 solid months of “no rain” over summer…we are lucky to get 2 – 3 rain events to keep us going but the rest of the year tends to be alright. We have to coax our plants through summer and then breath a sigh of relief when march/april hits and some rain starts again. We will be planting out a lot of our nut trees and other potted plants this autumn (when the soil stops being solid porcelain and becomes more easy to dig…although we still have the rocks 😦 ) and we are going to install a length of polypipe down to the root zone that we will cap for each tree. We will keep them going through winter by direct root watering, lots of mulch around the base and mass planting ground covers as well as attempting to plant out as many arid region food plants as possible. Its all about negotiation isn’t it? We started out wide eyed innocents and have had to learn the hard way. If something dies, it dies. It wasn’t meant to be grown in our conditions and that is that!
    Glad to see you are getting rain! I got my seeds and just noticed that one of my battered purple king beans (a definate favourite of the possums…sigh…) has managed to produce flowers and I will keep the seed (if I get any) this year as we have massive plans for a HUGE fully enclosed possum and wallaby proof veggie garden this year.

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  3. Chris Says:

    The floods in Qld didn’t hit us too badly this time, but other places copped it worse than 2011. But I did lose some tree seedlings in the dry period beforehand. I planted them in Spring and I normally water them for the first summer until their roots go down deeper.

    Only being pregnant now (which happened after I planted them) I wasn’t able to climb the slopes to water them. They died. But it comes with the territory of arid climates. Every other plant I was able to water for the first summer, have been able to survive the most inhospitable conditions. My fejoa didn’t like the dry either but survived (just).

    I wanted to share the natural dynamics of your pools though, which I have learned through reading Peter Andrews books on the ancient Australian landscape. The plants spreading across the pond as the water dries out is how it prevents the water evaporating quicker. Then when the rains arrive again, the plants become too waterlogged and die back – remaining only on the edges. Those dying plants also spread nutrients as the water flows.

    It’s a brilliant self-regulating system. I never would have known about it unless I read his books.

    Glad you haven’t lost many plants though, and that you had duplicates in the garden. Funny how they do great in some places and dysmal in others.

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    • foodnstuff Says:

      Hi Chris, I know about Peter Andrews, although I haven’t read any of his books. He has some great ideas.

      I know the presence of plants has stopped the water drying out, but the problem is I couldn’t see any water. It was in there somewhere. The ducks had stopped coming and I just wanted at least one of the pools to actually LOOK like a pool!

      The plants probably would have taken a while to die out, if at all, and wouldn’t have been bothered about waterlogging when it rained again—they were all water plants after all. The real problem is the pools are too shallow. Most of the plants wouldn’t have spread to really deep water.

      I know that without plants the water will warm up quickly in summer and I’ll lose it to evaporation, but at least I’ll have water for most of the year—and ducks!

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      • Chris Says:

        I remember you had seasonal woodland ducks. Didn’t they try and nick your chicken’s food, lol?

        We have a shallow pond too and every summer it doesn’t take long to dry out. Which leaves the kangaroos and birds looking for another water source. I’m trying to grow two pear trees either side of the pond to help shade it, but pears take ages to grow.

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  4. Liz Says:

    I hope you got some of yesterday’s rain. We got enough to perk up a few things although some follow up rain would really help.

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    • foodnstuff Says:

      We got 16 mm in the end. Very welcome it was. Today was the first day I haven’t had to water anything—pots included.

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  5. FrogdancerFrogdancer Says:

    I woke up to the sound of rain this morning. My water tank for the garden was almost empty a couple of days ago. I’m looking forward to going out there later and seeing how much has gone back into it.

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    • foodnstuff Says:

      It’s a nice sound, the sound of rain. Especially when you’re lying in bed. You can almost hear the slurping as the garden takes it up. My tank was down to just above half. We got 16 mm and that filled it.

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