PDA

View Full Version : a crop that requires a lot of water



Rob_In_MN
11-17-2018, 10:15 AM
I am working on a scene where I have a character that needs to be motivated to use magic skills that he is trying to hide. one way he could do that is to use a spell that raises the water table locally in an area and is used in irrigation where he's originally from. So, I was hoping to create a situation where some farmers chose poorly when they planted their crops and chose, say wheat instead of barley because wheat (hypothetically) requires more water, for instance.

The setting is medieval, mountainous, temperate.

thanks :)

Michael Myers
11-17-2018, 10:30 AM
rice?

Rob_In_MN
11-17-2018, 10:32 AM
i thought of rice, but this is up in the mountains and i can't think of a way they could do the parts of the process that require the field to be flooded, so i think the farmers would have been plain crazy to plan rice. I want to come across as ... uninformed, not ... i guess idiotic if that makes sense :)

-Riv-
11-17-2018, 10:35 AM
i thought of rice, but this is up in the mountains and i can't think of a way they could do the parts of the process that require the field to be flooded, so i think the farmers would have been plain crazy to plan rice. I want to come across as ... uninformed, not ... i guess idiotic if that makes sense :)
Here's a video (https://youtu.be/XprYgcwjlhk) with terraced rice fields (for consideration). :)

Rob_In_MN
11-17-2018, 10:48 AM
that's a really neat video, but i actually need a situation where they can't irrigate their way out of the problem.

Rob_In_MN
11-17-2018, 10:55 AM
hmm. a friend of mine suggested maybe turning the field into an orchard with very young trees. those would need a lot of water and I could have my farmers not realize that younger trees need more water than older ones due to their less developed root system.

kmarcks
11-17-2018, 11:01 AM
Alfafa requires a lot of water.

Rob_In_MN
11-17-2018, 11:13 AM
i'll take a look at alfalfa and see if that fits the bill, thanks!

frimble3
11-17-2018, 12:07 PM
What about water-rich vegetables like tomatoes or cucumbers? Or melons, or other high-water content fruit like strawberries or raspberries?

Many domestic berries are finicky - too dry, they shrivel, too wet, they rot. Too hot they dry, too cold, they don't develop. The local berry growers always have some problem or other.

Alessandra Kelley
11-17-2018, 12:31 PM
My first thought was cotton. I saw a news story recently where biologists had developed cotton with nonpoisonous, edible seeds, making it more versatile as a crop, and one of the first people I saw commenting on it was lamenting that this made such a water hog crop more attractive.

According to this, the top five water-intensive crops are rice, cotton, sugarcane, soybeans, and wheat. (http://claroenergy.in/5-most-water-intensive-crops/) So you could still use wheat.

WeaselFire
11-17-2018, 06:43 PM
My mother's family gave up on soybeans and sugar beets (northeast Colorado) after a series of droughts. Here in Florida, citrus, sugar cane and bananas need a ton of water.

Jeff

talktidy
11-17-2018, 07:22 PM
How established is this farming community?

I would expect one that is indeed established to know its business, when it comes to selecting crops to plant. What is likely to flourish and what will probably yield poor results. Is there some other factor pushing the farmers into growing something they know might cause them problems down the line?

pdichellis
11-17-2018, 09:54 PM
Almond trees require massive amounts of water, and farmers cannot let trees "go fallow" during a drought, as they can with field crops. The California drought created a lot of controversy over this (news stories and details available online).

Good luck!

Introversion
11-17-2018, 10:13 PM
“Up in the mountains” implies hilly territory, and poorer soils than fertile bottomlands. They’re unlikely to be growing much in the way of cereal grains there. Nor is there much of a water table to raise — they’ll be terracing to trap runoff from rains and snow melt upslope.

Michael Myers
11-18-2018, 12:18 AM
Perhaps he causes a spring to trickle from the rocks of the mountain.

Not to totally re-imagine your scene or anything. :)

AW Admin
11-18-2018, 12:52 AM
Some possible crops (http://www.takepart.com/article/2015/05/11/cows-not-almonds-are-biggest-water-users/)—but for "mundane" crops (instead of almonds, or citrus): corn.

D. E. Wyatt
11-18-2018, 03:52 AM
How established is this farming community?

I would expect one that is indeed established to know its business, when it comes to selecting crops to plant. What is likely to flourish and what will probably yield poor results. Is there some other factor pushing the farmers into growing something they know might cause them problems down the line?

This. Unless they're a bunch of city folk who decided to take up farming on a lark I would expect them to know what crops they can or can't grow in that environment and to adjust accordingly. So I'm curious if there's any sort of background that establishes WHY they're trying to grow something that shouldn't be able to grow there.

Rob_In_MN
11-18-2018, 05:30 AM
they are displaced people, actually. trying to make a go of it with limited knowledge of what they're doing.

i appreciate all of the answers everyone, thank you!

WeaselFire
11-19-2018, 01:24 AM
In your hilly/mountain territory, grapes would work for your story. Tomatoes too, depending on climate. Also, depends on which side of the mountain you're on as fare as rainfall goes, if the mountains are high enough.

Jeff

Patty
11-19-2018, 03:22 AM
I second grapes, corn, and almonds. I also second that young trees needing water seems like common sense...

I wonder if you could introduce an earthquake in the preceding season that causes a diversion of a river they depend on. So, they weren't stupid to plant corn or grapes, they just didn't know that there was going to be an earthquake that diverted what little water they had.

https://patch.com/missouri/universitycity/earthquake-changed-course-mississippi-river

Other information online indicates that earthquakes can change the water table level. If an earthquake shifted the level of the water table, it would also impact the crops of your smart people.

talktidy
11-19-2018, 04:08 AM
they are displaced people, actually. trying to make a go of it with limited knowledge of what they're doing

Ah. Good thinking.

frimble3
11-19-2018, 07:36 AM
they are displaced people, actually. trying to make a go of it with limited knowledge of what they're doing.
You might want to Google 'Walhachin' in the Interior of British Columbia. It was a settlement that lasted about 5 years, and didn't fail because of it's lack of water, although it was in an area with very little water.
It was founded as a colony for the rich and aristocratic members of British society, the same people who went to Africa to farm, in about the same period.
They knew nothing about farming, except to hire local people to tend their orchards.
But they had fancy houses, facilities, polo ponies etc.
They built a flume to carry water from the actual river to their orchards (miles of wooden canals, poorly built, so they couldn't carry much water) and were in there trying until disaster struck: WWI. Most of the young men signed up to fight for Mother England, both from the emigre families, and from the local population. Most of them never came back. The remaining locals were busy keeping their own farms going, and the women of the settlement had no idea of what was needed. So they moved away and the Walhachin became a ghost town.

Rob_In_MN
11-19-2018, 08:28 AM
You might want to Google 'Walhachin' in the Interior of British Columbia. It was a settlement that lasted about 5 years, and didn't fail because of it's lack of water, although it was in an area with very little water.
It was founded as a colony for the rich and aristocratic members of British society, the same people who went to Africa to farm, in about the same period.
They knew nothing about farming, except to hire local people to tend their orchards.
But they had fancy houses, facilities, polo ponies etc.
They built a flume to carry water from the actual river to their orchards (miles of wooden canals, poorly built, so they couldn't carry much water) and were in there trying until disaster struck: WWI. Most of the young men signed up to fight for Mother England, both from the emigre families, and from the local population. Most of them never came back. The remaining locals were busy keeping their own farms going, and the women of the settlement had no idea of what was needed. So they moved away and the Walhachin became a ghost town.

will do, thanks.

frimble3
11-20-2018, 03:34 AM
My post wasn't specifically about water-magic, but if you were wanting reasons why people might not know what they are doing, at least in a new environment, and what non-irrigation reasons might cause a place to fail, it might be of some use. There is waterin
the area, but not where it's needed, and the effort to move that water is extensive and expensive.