Friday, January 24, 2014

Drought in the Orchard

This week in the local Roseville Press Tribune newspaper there is an article about the drought in our area and how it might affect the orchard.  You can read the article here.  Tosh and farmer Eric Hanson of Pine Hill Orchard are interviewed.  

The orchard is very dry and dusty like it's in the middle of the summer. When the dog runs from the garden through the trees she stirs up clouds of dust.  Usually this time of year the orchard floor is green with grass and other plants sprouting up from the rain, but this winter there's very little new plants growing, including weeds even.  It's been difficult to find new spots to move the chicken dome to because there's hardly any new vegetation for the chickens to eat.  

In the orchard lately Tosh has been pulling out any unproductive trees, and trees that haven't shown any new growth. The current plan is to plug up irrigation in those areas and not plant any new trees this year.  Although normally this would be the time of year to be planting new trees, we don't yet know if there will be enough water and how much we'll be able to use. 

In planning the vegetable gardens we are trying to find ways to conserve water, too.  We are thinking of starting certain crops that need more water later than usual, using more garden space for less thirsty crops, using more mulch and planting varieties that are supposed to be more drought tolerant.  We don't start planting the gardens until sometime in March though, and we'll have to wait and see what's happening with water at that time.  Hopefully it will rain. 

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