Loved the rain last week. I’m from Seattle, where I hated the constant drizzle and dark but when I moved to dry(ier) California, I learned to love the wet stuff falling from the sky.
This year, for the third winter in a row, we didn’t get our usual amount of rain. Which means we’re facing a drought, with snowpack only at 75%. Which means trouble for my lush vegetable garden and micro-farm.
Unless I flex my puny brain and focus on the options.
One is to downscale. To plant a cover crop and let a few of the beds just rest up and go fallow. I’ve done that with two beds, planting fava beans which I’ll pull up and cover the bed during the summer. Once the rains start again in October, I’ll plant lettuces and greens.
Another is to use more greywater. This is the water that comes from your dishwashing, clothes-washing, hand-washing. It’s kind of clean but not drinkable. Bill and I have been watering our trees with this water for the past two years with no ill effects. We use Oasis soap, which is considered “biocompatible” with greywater systems. Now when we take a bath we’ll dump that water in the washer and do a load of laundry. After the washing machine is done with it, then the water is siphoned out into the garden. So it’s used three times! These are the kind of things that should be encouraged by the government, not made illegal. Check out this website which is trying to encourage a bill that makes greywater use legal in the State of California.
A third thing I’m setting up is a dry-farmed area in my garden. I’m planning on planting corn, beans, potatoes, herbs, and some of the Mexican plants a fellow gardener sent to me. The plan is to water them for the first month or so until they are established and thriving. I’ll mulch them with rabbit and goat turds and a layer of straw. And then, I stop watering. From what I’ve seen, the fruit of the tomatoes become dense and taste intensely tomatoe-y, the potatoes same thing. The corn is for flour and so doesn’t need much water. The beans like it hot and dry. The herbs become more powerful. I’ll let you know how it turns out.
Finally, my ultimate challenge: I’m building an outhouse! Here’s the foundation so far. I hope to have it done by this weekend for the hide-tanning class. The idea is that we waste tons of clean water by shitting into it. Water that we could drink–we poop into. Now during a drought, that seems mighty stupid. This will be a composting toilet that contains all poo in a large bucket where it will break down over a few years. I’ll devote a whole post to it and the system once the outhouse is built and is functioning. Can’t wait to carve out that little crescent moon….