Well, this very dry year has been eye openning to say that least, I have never had so little rain ever, we have our own tracking system and even when the area’s around us get rain, we are getting nothing, listens to thunder and watched rain go by yet again this weekend.
The hand pump on the drilled back well is getting very hard to pull the water up, clearly its dropped from its typical level, and I don’t want to go back to power, but will have to continue researching putting it on a windmill in the near future.. the front shallow well is holding but we have to be careful with it, we have put on more collection systems for the steel roofs but we need rain for them to work. so far that means our shallow well is really holding the fort down.
After looking at my garden, heading to the market and checking out the cost of farmers market prices, a quick stop at walmart and came home and show our heads, we have decided to take the laundry to town and pay to do it, take the water saved and put it into careful watering in the garden, simple math, the food value is worth more then the cost to go once a week and do laundry in town does. Hopefully this will be a temp measure for the next month or two, and of course a couple good rains and we would not need to go that week etc.
We spent hours on sat and even more on sunday cutting down tree’s, trimming the branches off, and taking some wood to go cut up as fire wood (after it cures of course) and the rest is being selected and cut down for a huge new hugelbeet. We now have enough wood for the base and middle, and we will be adding a new layer after the chicken layer, which will be pig poo and bedding, then a light layer of cow and then finish with a big layer of year old sheep before letting it all sit, don’t plan on adding my dirt till next spring.
This heat is cooking my manure piles, I have never seen them go down as fast as they are this year, I would have thought they would be to dry to compost properly and we have given them a watering once or twice when we had rain this spring and it was not quite this dry but nothing for weeks and still they are composting down at a rapid rate.
This fact is not lost on me, I intend to add alot more well rotten organics to the main garden area this fall and work it in the spring, I want the whole feeding area, scraped and mixed and then dumped into my one half of the main garden, spread out to a three or four inch cover and allowed to sit fallow with a green cover on top for the rest of this year and early spring, then I am going to turn it in slightly and turn that whole area into corn next year.
We are in the process of cleaning out another 1/8th of a acre that will become my grain crop area, we are clearing the bush in this area, then we need to fence it, put a hot wire on it and we are putting the pigs in to help clear it, and work on those many, many stumps, once they work their magic, then I will use girl to finish pulling what’s left out this fall, and if there is anything left compostwise, after we get done the new 40 foot bed, plus the garden, then I will add it to that area, I want to get it finished in time ideally to put in winter wheat, but if not, at least be ready for a spring planting, I want some to be flax as well.
Ps, what are you learning or planning on doing different in your garden after learning from this harder then normal year?
Also, we have a cestern by the big back barn, I have always used it as a root cellar because water for the outside/garden/pasture has never been a issue, but we are talking about cleaning it out, removing the moveable shelving that I haul up and down and considering setting up a system to fill it with water in early spring, when we did get rain and or filling it with the hose from the dug well, when its full to overflowing in the spring, I would have to measurements to be sure how much extra water this would allow us to store but it would be a very good amount! for future use in the garden season.. thoughts?