1. CMastah
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    CMastah Active Member

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    Middle ages, farmlands: rain frequency

    Discussion in 'Research' started by CMastah, Jan 29, 2015.

    So the MC and some of his friends are traveling through farmlands, right? I'm curious about what weather patterns would've been like back then. At this point in the story, they've been footing it through farmlands (barley and wheat) for a month and I'm curious about the frequency of rain. If it can occur once a month, then it'll allow me to get to a sequence in the story where they take shelter in a farmhouse (if it occurs in LESS than a month, the event will simply happen earlier), so I'm curious on the matter. It's not a major point, just a small detail.

    I don't really know much about how much rain is needed for barley or wheat, and I've described the irrigation system in the area to be pretty advanced (true to the time period or not, irrigation methods were heavily researched by the kingdom (in the story) at the time due to the extreme necessity of farmlands to feed their never ending war).
     
  2. Lancie
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    Lancie Contributing Member

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    There were some periods in the middle ages where massive amounts of rainfall caused widespread famine. I've read something that suggests for a 50 year period there was more rainfall in summer than now.

    It was swings and rounderbouts though, you'd equally get a number of good warm summers where it became possible to grow grapes in places today that are far too cold. You could make either scenario fit, not a massive point.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2015
  3. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    The time period is completely immaterial. The local climate is much more important. England for example might have much more rain, while southern Italy has comparatively much less.
     
  4. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    Agreed. Research how much rain wheat needs to stay healthy, and just go with that. I think with corn, it's basically once a week. If they don't get more, they set up a sprinkler system.
     
  5. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    I'm not sure you want to use corn as an example, as it's a new world grain and, from what I understand, little consumed in Europe.
     
  6. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sorry, I'm not an expert on the Middle Ages... o_O

    Towards the bottom of this page, it talks a lot about water intake and what the conditions need to be like for a good wheat crop to grow.
     
  7. Catrin Lewis
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    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

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    Time period would be relevant, as conditions were different in the Medieval Warm Period, ca. AD 950 to 1250, compared to how they were in the Little Ice Age, beginning ca. AD 1300 and continuing all the way to 1870 or so. The former period saw better crops and more prosperity for those engaged in farming and herding. For that you need rain (the nice, soft, drenching kind) more than once a month. But if you want your characters to be freezing their drenched medieval rears off in September, set your story later.

    But @Lea`Brooks is right. Decide what crop you want them to be travelling near, then find out what kind of rainfall it requires.
     
  8. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's also, of course, going to depend how much rain falls each time it rains. A gentle, half-hour drizzle once a week probably wouldn't be enough for wheat, but a good, deep, all-day soaking once in two weeks would probably be fine.

    One thing I've learned about farmers, at least in the present day and almost certainly more so back then (pre-irrigation and crop insurance): they're always worrying about rain. Too little, too much, too hard at the wrong time... all variations. So you could write whatever works for your story, and then have farmers worrying about whatever you've described, no matter what choice you made!
     
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  9. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is something of a contradiction in terms! "Drizzle" tends to set in for the day, if not longer...but then, I am from Wales!
     
  10. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Umm...did I miss it? Where is this story taking place? Just like now, climate differed from region to region.
     
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  11. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    Do your research, and don't forget the bubonic plague.

    You choose the weather, you're in charge. One season of failed crops and the family endures, two seasons and they all starve to death, but wages go up.
     
  12. Catrin Lewis
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    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

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    Unwaith eto'n Nghymru annwyl ....
     
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  13. Catrin Lewis
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    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

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    True, especially in the 1300s, on.
     
  14. CMastah
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    CMastah Active Member

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    Thanks guys, I think I'll have the event take place earlier in their trip :)
     
  15. Howard_B
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    Howard_B Active Member

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    Exactly. Within short spaces of time, you can chose whatever weather you want and it will have happened at some stage in one of those years. Don't get caught up with uber research.
     

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