Things are not good now at my place. The thin soil is really becoming an issue with water retention.
Despite my valiant attempts to increase the biological matter, the ants have thrived on it. So they have been the only ones to benefit because now at the time when its needed for moisture retention, they've already eaten all the compost etc out of the soil.
The ants even moved into my electric jug on the kitchen bench on day while I was in town to be close to a water source!
They are in every container and pot plant thieving the water faster than I can apply it.
Down in the orchard, some of my 20yo citrus are cutting off whole main branches in order to save themselves.
My inconsistent watering isn't enough. I can only water once after a storm.
This means they get the benefit of the storm plus one watering a week later, then nothing until the next storm.
No storms, no water!
It hasn't been enough. I've even left the bird netting on the trees to help lessen transpiration and shade the leaves somewhat.
Only thing I can do now is remove most of the branches with most of the leaves.
Although this shocks the tree bigtime, its a last resort to saving quality citrus.
Then of course its a few years for new branches to grow for fruit.
Then there is the lychee which thrives despite no water but I never get fruit from it because the parrots eat the pea sized fruit as it forms.
They are so determined they even get in under the netting or as they have done this year, chew holes through the netting!
The mangoes have done well despite no watering, producing a beaut crop of unmarked fruit. No rain means no marks and no anthracnose.
However the crows are into them now that the fruit is half sized.
Every day I collect a 20lt drum of fruit thats been knocked off the trees by the crows. I cut them in half and feed to the horses.
The flesh of some fruit is beginning to colour up even though the fruit is not that big yet at only palm of your hand sized.
The crows sense this because thats just how they like their mangoes!
Too big and they can't fly away with the whole fruit.
Too small and the fruit hasn't developed any sugars yet.
So I doubt I'll get any mangoes either.
But my blackberries and raspberries are yielding a few daily along with the blueberries.
These live in the flower garden along with the vegie greens and tomatoes so get watered sparingly almost daily.
A few years ago I did toy with the idea of laying an underground irrigation system to the orchard.
I decided against it because in the years it would be needed most, there wouldn't be enough water to feed it anyway, so it would end up just a waste of money.
But I only have 15000lt of garden water remaining and the horses are also drinking 250lt of it daily.
This all means if no storms soon, I'll run out of garden water about xmas time!
But I have to hold back enough for the horses for say another 2mths (60x250)=15000lt!!!
Well that was an eye opener doing that little maths equation because that means I've already run out of garden water!
We are very lucky to have lots of rain water stored and also a large dam and we use grey water for the orchard. Fires are about 15km away and it’s very smoky, winds and 40deg forecast for this week. Would it be possible to get water carted in to keep your horses and trees alive? It’s only about $240 for 10000L delivered around here, not sure whether your area would be similar or not?
Hi Rachel, gosh so close to fires! That would set me on edge well and truely.
My area has been in drought for several years already with minimal rain during the year and extended dry seasons that had no rain at all.
So my stored water situation has been bad for all that time.
Its a case of whether what I'm trying to save is worth the cost of the water.
To that, my answer is, no, nothing other than the horses.
Mostly because the soil is so poor, I've pretty much given up growing plants in the ground although I've been giving some new fruit trees one last attempt.
Water in Noosa shire is around 4x the price of anywhere else.
Its supposed to make us more water wise!
Since my place is just inside the northern boundary of the shire, I could get water from the next shire which would be around the price you quoted, but honestly, nothing in this garden is worth that amount.
The cost of feeding horses is almost too much already, let alone adding the cost of water.
Storms came through yesterday but no rain fell hereabouts.
An east coast low is forming right now off Brisbane which in a normal year would bring good showers to us up here, but there'll be nothing off this one this year.
Next rain not until next weekend. I count the days in bales of very expensive hay!
So that's at least 3 bales away! At $35each. The wroughting in the industry is horrendous this year.
I am so sorry to read the news on your posts ClissAT. It is certainly a tough time for so many people in this country. We have had a little rain in the past week or so which has been a wonderful change - not so much to break drought but certainly enough to bring a green tinge to the yard. I will be expanding my controlled (I recently purchased a Holman water controller) water areas to include some of the fruit trees.
Hopefully we will have a good wet season in the next few months to top up dams and tanks. We know that the weather has come in cycles for a long time - I just pray that we are at the end of the drought (wishful thinking perhaps - but I like to look forward positively).
No fires near us so all round we are thankful for what we have.
Up this way there's been some reprieve for a few weeks at least.
Hay is still $40bale but since reasonable rain on Christmas Day, I've got grass growing again.
I won't have to buy hay unless it gets really dry again.
Fruit trees will recover albeit minus a few main branches.
But for those down south in southern NSW and Gippsland it's horrendous news.
I've been watching the ABC News all day to see how the fires went through the bush or cut paths through inhabited areas. I'm keen to understand how fire moves through bush and hopefully why it gets one house but not it's neighbour.
It's amazing what you can determine from watching tv news footage.
I was amazed to see wooden fence posts in the middle of bare drought sticken paddocks simply turn into grey ash as the fire passed over. Now those cattle that their owners have diligently drought fed for almost two years, have to be trucked away for sale at short notice because the fires burnt the water infrastructure. It caused pumps to explode, poly pipe of course melted as did tanks which were mostly empty.
It's so sad for those areas Bega to Malacoota that usually produce great dairy products as well as seafood products.
I totally agree ClissAT! It is harsh for all concerned; I must say, my heart goes out to those who, as you say, have fed their stock through drought conditions and now lose them anyway. So depressing and yet our cockeys have a long tradition of toughing out. Good on them!!!!!