Friday, July 27, 2012

What is a Drought?

As I’ve mentioned before, most of the state of Indiana is in a drought.  Henry County, Indiana was just added to over 1,300 other counties that has been declared part of the "Drought Disaster List" and our crops certainly show it.  With that information in mind I was thinking to myself, what really defines a drought?

According to the National Weather Forecast, “a drought is a period of unusually persistent dry weather that persists long enough to cause serious problems such as crop damage and/or water supply shortages. The severity of the drought depends upon the degree of moisture deficiency, the duration, and the size of the affected area.”  In Henry County, IN during the month of June, we had .56 of an inch of rain all month according to our local weather source.

I know that the current drought situation has severely had an effect on our crops.  With hardly any moisture, the corn stalks have produced tassels prematurely and the ears that are developing are miniature compared to what they should be.  The soybean crop has also been hit, as the plant itself is half the normal size it should be and the pods more than likely will not amount to much.  The orchard down the road from us is hauling water to their pumpkins so they will sprout and grow in the fall.  The local creek beds have dried up and critters and varmints are beginning to inch closer to civilization just for a drink of water. 

What should you do during a drought? 

Obviously, conserve water!  The American Red Cross encourages consumers to never pour water down the drain because you can probably use it somewhere else.  A good example of this would be when we had sweet corn and I let the water in the cooking pot cool down, and then watered some of my outdoor plants with it.  Other ways to conserve water are:

·         Turning the water off while you brush your teeth or shave.

·         Don’t flush your toilet unless you have to (like flushing a bug down it).

·         Wash only full loads in your dishwasher and washer. 

For the outdoors:

·         Stop watering your yards!  If water needs to be conserved, your lawn sure doesn’t need it.   

·         Pick the plants you want to keep and put mulch around them.  This will help keep moisture in the soil.

·         Supply away from your house, a gallon or two (depending on the severity of the drought) of water a day for the birds, squirrels, etc to have a drink.  They are thirsty too!

This year, Bill and I have given up on our normal beautiful garden because we are trying to conserve water.  I no longer have beautiful plants outside on my porch...but on the plus side, I don't have to mow the yard!

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