The black clay soil my prairie grows in shrinks and cracks when it becomes dry. This is the reason foundation repair companies do so well here and the reason much of my water usage goes toward keeping the perimeter of the foundation of my house from getting too dry.
While my neighbors water their lawns once or twice a week, my prairie has gone without water, except for any rain that fell and an occasional hand watering of new transplants. As a result, the soil of my prairie is opening up. I found this crack in the backyard prairie yesterday.
The cracks are about two inches across and a couple of feet long. I was curious about the depth of the cracks and stuck my ruler in as far as my hand could reach into the crack and did not hit bottom. (This is not a paid advertisement for Elliot's Hardware, although it is a fun place to browse. They have a good selection of organic gardening products too.)
Even with the dry, cracked soil, Clammy Weed, Polanisia doedecandia, Big Red Sage, Salvia penstemonoides, Gregg's Mistflower, Conoclinium greggii, and Rudbeckia varieties, Rudbeckia fulgida and Rudbeckia triloba are all growing and in full bloom.
Amazingly, I am in the only part of the state that is not considered to be under drought conditions. So far, this is normal summer dryness, but the extreme drought conditions, indicated on the map by brown, are growing.
I did break down and water the backyard prairie this weekend. I watered the front yard prairie earlier in the week.