Skip to main content

Living in the Shadow of the Rain

Summer in my part of the country usually includes at least one long, hot dry spell. Our recent one started mid-May, with no rain and highs in the 90s F (lower 30s C) for three weeks. None of my summer crops are mature enough yet to have good, deep root systems, so if it hadn't been for our rainwater tanks I would have lost much of my garden. I used 1650 gallons keeping things alive before it finally rained again last weekend. We were blessed with about five inches, which was enough to refill our 1500 rain tank.

To water my upland rice, I figured out that if I put the hose into
the watering can, it was more efficient than the irrigation pipe.

That dry spell was so early this summer that I can't help but wonder if we won't get another one this year. Climate change aside, part of the problem is that we live in the rain shadow of the Appalachian Mountains. Most of our summer weather systems come up off the Gulf of Mexico and travel in a northeasterly direction. Depending how far west they originate, they travel up the west side of the mountain range. As the moisture laden air rises to pass over the mountains it cools, condenses, and rains on the western side of the mountains. By the time it passes over the mountains and gets to our side, it's all rained out! This is called the orthographic or rain shadow effect, and is why there are often deserts on the inland side of mountain ranges.

Rain Shadow Effect. Graphic courtesy of Meg Stewart. 
[CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)]

It's no fun to live with! Fortunately, we get enough rain (roughly 50 inches per year) so that we aren't in a desert. But we get enough hot, dry spells that it warrants paying attention to and planning for. My preparations are three-fold: immediate intervention with collected rainwater and mulch; long-term with soil building.

Soil building because some soil holds moisture better than others. Thriving soil microbiology is key. Mycorrhizal fungi produce a sticky substance called glomalin. Glomalin glues together soil particles, minerals, organic matter, and nutrients to form soil aggregates. Aggregates reduce water and wind erosion, reduce compaction, increase nutrient cycling, and increase water filtration and moisture retention around plant roots. (A detailed PDF can be found here.) The healthier the soil, the better it can retain moisture during dry spells.

Last weekend's rain revived the garden and cooler temperatures have followed. What a relief! The first thing I did was get my sweet potato slips planted. The poor things had been sitting in jars of water and were beginning to look soil starved.

Newly planted sweet potato slip.

Transplants struggle under the best of conditions, but hot and dry is the worst. Having the ground moist and workable again was perfect, especially with cloudy, cooler weather in the forecast.

I have a lot on my to-do list now, especially more mulching to keep the moisture from evaporating out of the soil. It's also a wait-and-see time, because some of my seeds seem to have been on hold while the ground was hot and dry. Hopefully, I'll have a thriving garden to show you soon.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

What Is Graphic Design?

Visual communication alludes to a particular region of the Visual Arts.

For the most part, it is viewed as for business, publicizing or instructive purposes. It includes the upgrading of an item, administration or data by planning a satisfying visual or set of visuals.

Customarily, this field has included both the innovative

readiness and execution of materials in the regions of: Logo Design, Corporate

Personality, Brochure Design, Photo Retouching, Charts/Graphs/Diagrams, and other

printed materials. Visual computerization can likewise incorporate the readiness of 35mm Slide

Introductions, Television Advertisements, Multi-Media Presentations, and other

Visual Aids.

Today, the term Graphic Design additionally incorporates the quickly

extended Web Design advertise. While a Designer may absolutely have practical experience in

one zone, it is entirely expected to discover creators with relevant information is more than

one control. A craftsman might be required to structure whole sites,…

How About Some Baby Goat Photos?

Visual computerization Careers: An Overview

Visual computerization vocations are any professions wherein an individual uses illustrations to sell an item or make an item or production look engaging. Realistic make advertisements, print promotions, formats for periodicals, bulletins and the plans and designs you see on the cases of practically any item you purchase. Intuitiveness is huge now in the realm of structure; so much business has moved onto the Internet and onto portable stages that organizations must promote on these media to remain in front of the opposition. This implies a wide range of new realistic positions will be made soon, ensured.

In the event that you need to turn into an architect, the initial step is generally to get a four year certification; a degree in plan or visual expressions is frequently the best. A graduate degree might be a smart thought too. You likewise need to begin assembling a portfolio before you enter school. A portfolio is a proper gathering of your most remarkable work. Instances of your…