Tactics & ideas for dealing with extreme weather

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Zasso Nouka
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Tactics & ideas for dealing with extreme weather

Post by Zasso Nouka »

Crickey man, those kind of temperatures sound insane to be working in at this time of the year. Nice in winter but not now and given how hot nights are currently I guess switching over to night work wouldn't make much of a difference.

Getting back to tactics to deal with extreme weather, an obvious idea is adjusting growing times. So seeding earlier in the spring and later for autumn crops so sensitive vegetables are spared the worst of the heat and shifting over to more tropical crops for the summer. Hiyuna would be a classic example, it takes a huge effort to try germinating lettuce and then keep it going through the summer without bolting or getting bitter but Hiyuna makes a perfect replacement and can be used in place of spinach when it gets a bit larger. Tromboncino zucchini are another example to replace traditional zucchini and personally we both think they taste better anyway so it's a double win.

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Tactics & ideas for dealing with extreme weather

Post by Tora »

Zasso Nouka wrote:
Tue Aug 22, 2023 1:50 pm
Crickey man, those kind of temperatures sound insane to be working in at this time of the year. Nice in winter but not now and given how hot nights are currently I guess switching over to night work wouldn't make much of a difference.
It’s stupid hot. The humidity really is the deal breaker. Late night from 12:00-8:00 might be better but it’s still humid and then I would be living in another world from other members of the family. Then there’s the fact that I would never be able to sleep bra cause the other members of the household are loud :lol:
Zasso Nouka wrote:
Tue Aug 22, 2023 1:50 pm
Getting back to tactics to deal with extreme weather, an obvious idea is adjusting growing times. So seeding earlier in the spring and later for autumn crops so sensitive vegetables are spared the worst of the heat and shifting over to more tropical crops for the summer. Hiyuna would be a classic example, it takes a huge effort to try germinating lettuce and then keep it going through the summer without bolting or getting bitter but Hiyuna makes a perfect replacement and can be used in place of spinach when it gets a bit larger. Tromboncino zucchini are another example to replace traditional zucchini and personally we both think they taste better anyway so it's a double win.
The planting times are definitely key. Planting earlier really helped for spring and summer crops.

The heat and drought tolerant crops are also going to be important.

We live in a valley that is shaded for 3-4 hours of the compared to neighboring areas and that seemed to make a difference for cucumbers as were had a relatively steady harvest until the Obon typhoon did them in.

We also get a lot more condensation at night.

For next year, I’m considering planting midsummer crops in more shaded spots and also planning the beds so more tolerant plants like corn, okra or squash/melon on a trellis/tunnel provide some shade for more sensitive low growing veggies.

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Tactics & ideas for dealing with extreme weather

Post by Zasso Nouka »

Tora wrote:
Wed Aug 23, 2023 9:57 am
It’s stupid hot. The humidity really is the deal breaker. Late night from 12:00-8:00 might be better but it’s still humid and then I would be living in another world from other members of the family. Then there’s the fact that I would never be able to sleep bra cause the other members of the household are loud :lol:
It's not ideal working at night when other family members are stomping around the house during the day :D. Without the humidity the current temperatures would actually be quite pleasant.
Tora wrote:
Wed Aug 23, 2023 9:57 am
The planting times are definitely key. Planting earlier really helped for spring and summer crops.

The heat and drought tolerant crops are also going to be important.
I saw a long term forecast that suggested even October and November will be much warmer than normal this year due to El Nino so it's probably worth planning to use that to our advantage and seed some crops to use that extended growing season.
Tora wrote:
Wed Aug 23, 2023 9:57 am
We live in a valley that is shaded for 3-4 hours of the compared to neighboring areas and that seemed to make a difference for cucumbers as were had a relatively steady harvest until the Obon typhoon did them in.

We also get a lot more condensation at night.

For next year, I’m considering planting midsummer crops in more shaded spots and also planning the beds so more tolerant plants like corn, okra or squash/melon on a trellis/tunnel provide some shade for more sensitive low growing veggies.
That's a good idea using shaded areas to lessen the impact of the midday sun, we have a couple of areas we don't currently use because they get too much shade so maybe will clear them out and look to putting them into use next year.

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Tactics & ideas for dealing with extreme weather

Post by gonbechan »

Have any of you considered using DIY ollas with your drip irrigation system?
You can easily make them with cheap terracotta pots and some 2 part epoxy putty.

its a long a dull video.. but pretty informative for ppl who never met an olla.. lol


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Tactics & ideas for dealing with extreme weather

Post by Zasso Nouka »

Sounds like a good idea for smaller gardens :thumbup:

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Post by gonbechan »

Zasso Nouka wrote:
Mon Aug 28, 2023 6:37 am
Sounds like a good idea for smaller gardens :thumbup:
A Field Full of Ollas: Large-scale Irrigation

actually nope

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Tactics & ideas for dealing with extreme weather

Post by tataminodani »

A bit of a necro sorry, but this is a topic I have a lot of interest in. Especially as I try to balance work and garden.

I read the book "Gardening with Less Water: Low-Tech, Low-Cost Techniques; Use up to 90% Less Water in Your Garden" a few months ago and have been experimenting with some of the methods. (I like to do lots of experiments :D )

I can't find a pic online, but they describe a method of digging entire beds down into the ground 30-40cm, like a reverse raised garden bed, in hot climates. This protects from moisture loss and high winds to a degree (for shorter plants at least) and collects rain water very well in areas with low rainfall. It might not work so well in Japan as we get those big downpours mid year that might flood the whole thing.

It might work fine for rice, but then you just have smaller rice paddys you can't get the harvester into.... :?

If on a hill, you could dig them down and just make sure to have adequate drainage via an outlet, swale or deep trench for the heavy rain days.

Alternatively, hugelkultur beds work well for water retention. i.e. bury a bunch of dead trees in your beds. I have limited space in my veggie patch, which is actually just a roof garden on some half buried concrete storage areas. But I have access to a lot of log wood waste from a horticulture biz nearby and tree clippings from my own hedges and yard, so I made hugelkultur/compost paths between my actual beds to make compost and store water a bit longer instead of it just immediately draining out of the bed.

A commercial farm that had access to logs could do similar if they didn't want to dig their nice healthy beds. Dig up your paths instead and lay logs in there and cover them with soil or wood chips or something to act like water batteries between the beds. Once they break down in a few years they can be turned into beds themselves or dug out as compost and put onto the beds and refilled with logs - I am doing this right now with one of mine that has decomposed nicely over the last 5 years.

On Ollas, I tried some spike ollas in some of my pots and tree bags and the difference is night and day. I was having trouble keeping some of my younger plants healthy with constant wet/dry cycles from the hot sun, but once the ollas were in I just top them up each morning or put in a PET bottle and top that up every few days.

My Yuca edit: Yacon sorry, not Yuca were getting scorched leaves and sagging badly because they drink very heavily, but once I put a spike and bottle in each one they stand nice and tall and haven't lost a leaf since. They each drink almost a full 500ml bottle of water a day though :eek:

I got a pack of 20 tiny teracotta pots off amazon for ¥1999 and epoxy glued (but will test silicone too) them mouth to mouth for 10 mini ollas x ¥200 each. I put in a rubber grommet and plugged in some irrigation line and connected it to a bucket. It's been working great in my beds. It wouldn't be cheap to scale it up to mass scale, but I don't think it would be that much more expensive than a comparable drip setup as the line would be the same length, the ollas replace each drip or spray head and you wouldn't need a timer for the flow - just a bucket with an outlet that can be filled manually or automatically with a fill bulb inlet thing.

Then you would hopefully make it back in water savings over a few years.

For my new food forest I intend to use a similar setup but will glue a mini pot to the top of my spike ollas (they are conveniently the same size :dance: ) so I can send the water down for deeper roots on the trees while they establish.

Each tree guild will have 2 spikes (one each side of the tree), and 5-10 mini ollas for the support plants all fed from one 15L bucket. This will be combined with a nice heavy mulch around it too. The plan would be to pull it out after the first or second year when they are all nicely established. It should work well, but it's my first go so fingers crossed.

It's going to run me about ¥6,000 per guild for the parts, but they are reusable and the guilds will each have comfortably over ¥6,000 in trees and shrubs in them so I'd rather not lose them (plus the year of growth) if I can't get out to water them every day during summer.

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Tactics & ideas for dealing with extreme weather

Post by Zasso Nouka »

I must admit I would love to have some sort of hydraulic system under my beds that could jack them up in the rainy season and when a typhoon is due to hit and then lower them back down when more water is needed but perhaps that is asking for too much :lol: .

Japan's climate certainly is quite variable through the year and I guess we are going to be dealing with more and more extreme weather events so anything that helps is useful and experimenting can be quite useful as well as just plain fun.

Ollas seem well suited to small scale areas but have you considered drip lines for bigger areas. They work well for all sorts of crops and trees and 1,000m costs around 30,000円. Not cheap but if you bury it under the soil or cover it the pipes wl last for years. You can either run poly pipe or hard pvc pipes from a header tank or well and water the whole garden all at the samee tim or at least sections of it if the area is huge.

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Post by tataminodani »

I have been considering it for sure. There is a water allocation to the property the allegedly runs all year long but I haven't confirmed that yet.

However it's only a trickle, not enough to use the 3k as flooded rice fields, but enough to make the one corner on each field where it empties into a small swamp.

I was wondering if there was enough head to cap the outlet and pipe it across to the beds and run low pressure drip tape or a homebrew wicking pipe with some sort of impermeable barrier under it. The wicking pipe working kind of like:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subsurfac ... irrigation

The company that made that stuff appears to have gone out of business which is shame. It looked like it had potential.

To illustrate the wicking pipe, one of my beds at the back of my yard I bought a 50m stretch of drip hose (the recycled rubber ones that ooze water) from the local home centre. Then I bought some rain gutter and connectors+corners to make into a rectangle as long as the bed.

Then I levelled the gutter ~30cm under where the top of the soil was going to be and laid the drip hose on top and buried it all. The gutter is to stop the water going down immediately and giving it time to wick up closer to the surface. It works great. I turn the hose on for 20m and there are nice dark moisture lines right above where the hose runs.

Downside is it certainly wasn't cheap. I probably wouldn't want to scale it up to multiple large beds unless I win the lotto or something.

Now that I think about it though I could probably get away with just some strips of black plastic in a wide V shaped ditch for the barrier and cheap poly pipe with holes and some weed mat or something on top to keep the roots and dirt out. Almost like a reverse french drain, with the purpose of pushing water into the soil instead of taking it out.

Unglazed teracotta pipes have also been used to do something similar to large scale olla. Just bury the pipes 20-30cm deep and they water the roots directly in the same way.

Re drip pipes: my main problem is low pressure on the water. Unless I am mistaken drip pipes need a bit of pressure don't they?

There is a well on the house land, but there is a strip (a walkway to a local shrine) between the house and the fields that isn't my land so I can't run pipes under/over it.

So my main water source is the little allocation running in. At least until I get something with a roof built on there that can collect rainwater into tanks for me.

I guess I could run a hose temporarily over the path long enough to fill some tanks and then take it back. But I am really hoping to get something passive built that will just draw the allocation in and feed it across the whole place where I need it.

I will run a few experiments (will even try drip pipes) and let you know.

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Post by Zasso Nouka »

Sounds like some interesting experiments there, would love to hear how you get on as it's always interesting to try new ideas.
tataminodani wrote:
Sun Oct 01, 2023 6:58 am
I was wondering if there was enough head to cap the outlet and pipe it across to the beds and run low pressure drip tape or a homebrew wicking pipe with some sort of impermeable barrier under it. The wicking pipe working kind of like:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subsurfac ... irrigation

The company that made that stuff appears to have gone out of business which is shame. It looked like it had potential.

To illustrate the wicking pipe, one of my beds at the back of my yard I bought a 50m stretch of drip hose (the recycled rubber ones that ooze water) from the local home centre. Then I bought some rain gutter and connectors+corners to make into a rectangle as long as the bed.

Then I levelled the gutter ~30cm under where the top of the soil was going to be and laid the drip hose on top and buried it all. The gutter is to stop the water going down immediately and giving it time to wick up closer to the surface. It works great. I turn the hose on for 20m and there are nice dark moisture lines right above where the hose runs.
I've seen the drip pipe you mentioned but never used it, I've only used the type with 'turbulent flow emitters' that are part of the pipe.
tataminodani wrote:
Sun Oct 01, 2023 6:58 am
Downside is it certainly wasn't cheap. I probably wouldn't want to scale it up to multiple large beds unless I win the lotto or something.
These things are rarely cheap sadly :lol:
tataminodani wrote:
Sun Oct 01, 2023 6:58 am
Now that I think about it though I could probably get away with just some strips of black plastic in a wide V shaped ditch for the barrier and cheap poly pipe with holes and some weed mat or something on top to keep the roots and dirt out. Almost like a reverse french drain, with the purpose of pushing water into the soil instead of taking it out.

Unglazed teracotta pipes have also been used to do something similar to large scale olla. Just bury the pipes 20-30cm deep and they water the roots directly in the same way.
That would be interesting to see if it does work.
tataminodani wrote:
Sun Oct 01, 2023 6:58 am
Re drip pipes: my main problem is low pressure on the water. Unless I am mistaken drip pipes need a bit of pressure don't they?
As for water pressure maybe @DocDoesFarming uses just a header tank with his drip lines or maybe he uses a separate pump ? We actually have to reduce the pressure from our wells because it will blow the joins out if we don't so we have a pressure reducing valve for each section
tataminodani wrote:
Sun Oct 01, 2023 6:58 am
There is a well on the house land, but there is a strip (a walkway to a local shrine) between the house and the fields that isn't my land so I can't run pipes under/over it.

So my main water source is the little allocation running in. At least until I get something with a roof built on there that can collect rainwater into tanks for me.

I guess I could run a hose temporarily over the path long enough to fill some tanks and then take it back. But I am really hoping to get something passive built that will just draw the allocation in and feed it across the whole place where I need it.

I will run a few experiments (will even try drip pipes) and let you know.
Look forward to see what you come up with, sounds like you have plenty of ideas and a willingness to give them a try.