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Some US scientists say the early signs point to a ''super El Nino'' like that of 1997, which propelled global temperatures to the warmest on record in 1998 - before 2005 and 2010 exceeded that mark. Recent weak El Ninos have had more severe effects on Australia than the 1997 event, with 1994, 2002 and 2006 events leading to worse droughts, Dr Jones said

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Very useful having 'wet' over the Pacific :-\

There are cycles of wet and dry in Australia, with the emphasis on the dry. That is, before climate change started to make an impact.

The climate change effects were noticeable in my garden in the late '80s. My Mango which used to have mature fruit in January, was maturing its fruit in November to December. Even then! In the early '80s I studied at University (free of fees thanks to Gough) and in the economic Geology course it was considered that the earth was moving towards another ice age. There were many voices raised about global warming. So neither are really true by themselves, but climate change of some kind does seem to be true by my observations.

At the retail Nursery in 1991 spring flowerers (like the Jasmine) were in flower earlier and for a shorter period. Summer flowerers were in full bloom in August rather than September or October.

The Fig trees this autumn were putting on new growth while the old leaves were dying. Something is happening!

hmm, our figs have lost some leaves but are setting new fruit. Our Asparagus is still growing, but is so thick I couldn't reach any growth that would be worth picking, and picking at this time of year would seem wrong...

My fig tree was exactly the same. Bizarre!

Glad I have water tanks. 

What volume? I did my budget and estimated that I'd need twice the volume -- 3,000 litres  x 2 -- to see me through a year on tank water alone, given monthly rainfall averages.

In a normal year I need to turn to town water occasionally to supplement.

In drought...?

But the real clincher is keeping mulch up and being able to generate targeted shade.

The in-ground garden on a slope with clay underlying an organic-matter-deprived loam, the 6000L of tank water would not go anywhere near supplying needs in drought.

This 'green drought' we're having now with heavy dew and 2-3 mm of rain every few days is keeping the tanks topped up and washing off the dust. It doesn't penetrate the mulch never mind the sub-soil.

Apart from pots or wicking beds, in-ground gardens would need high levels of organic matter and be heavily mulched to make use of scarce tank water.

Shade is a good point and one usually overlooked. It's taken 40 years of gardening to work out that shadecloth in the right places can make a world of difference! Some of us a slow learners ;-)

Reading growing instructions often say 'in full sun'. The writers could well have other climes in mind than sub-tropical coastal Queensland in mid-summer!

I just realised that I only own one in ground garden (the darn "building site").  I doubt my tanks would last very long either - and that would be saved for the fish. 

Recycled rinsing water from the washing machine is good for in-ground plants. Still own the 200L barrel and the purple hose. The slope has its advantages: gravity feed the recycled water to the gardens. At 200L a time it takes a while to water everything but when there's nothing else and if the water restrictions come in again, it's a good option for in-ground plants. I do not use washing powder as such so there's no contamination with anything other than some residual dirt from the clothes. Use the rise and extra rinse water only. Means you've got to monitor what's happening.

Ages ago the BOGI email discussion group I am part of shared a link to research about the impacts of detergent waste water on soil. From memory it was Australian research. The key point I took from it was that all detergents, whether eco rated or other are designed to break down dirt, so long term use was not recommended.

I have one 5000lt tank and it goes nowhere when I need to use it continually during a dry spell.

There's nothing I can do except go back to using gray water....that b. hose running out of the washing machine, out the back door and down the stairs. Hated it. Plus the b. bucket in the shower. Hated that too.

Time to move to a bigger property with more tanks.

Well the complication is that the possible/probable drought kicks in from July which means a good part of that period is in the cooler months...but unfortunately covers the windy ones (eg: August) .Indeed, the dryness through last year(not a drought periodall the time) was grossly exacerbated by the many months of wind.

I find tank management is an art as having it also means you gotta use it and it's better to use it than not on the off chance that there will be rain.Tragically since the utilities charge us so much  for town water --esp sewerage levies -- it behoves that we rely on that backup and per the sums it makes more sense to utilise that resource than pay for more tank volume.

The point is that our gardens do need a lot of water in this climate. But tanks take the edge off the dry.

Grey water may suit perennials and trees, but how do you schedule your waterings,since you don't want to store this liquid? Back in the last big dry I was collecting water as I showered and kept a bucket to wash things in next to the kitchen sink. Them's the days you wish you located the garden closer to the back door.

Here we have a spear pump option into the aquifer, indeed that's the irony of these sandy islands around Moreton Bay: despite surace sterility and acute drainage ,they are smart places to run plant nurseries because the water can be 'free' and consistent if you pump it up.

Maybe after this drought I may reconsider the option...but I get a;ot of pleasure solving the irrigation problems by creative alternative means. 'Tis a hobby.

This map suggests that we are still drought haunted in Queensland even before the El Nio changes...only a couple of months ago Moreton Bay district was drought declared...and I managed OK.


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Vetiver grass helps to stabilise soil and protects it against erosion.  It can protect against pests and weeds. Vetiver is also used as animal feed. (Wiki.)

GrowVetiver is a plant nursery run by Dave & Keir Riley that harvests and grows Vetiver grass for local community applications and use. It is based in Beachmere, just north of Brisbane, Australia.

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