I've found a key technique is planting the right selection of trees and plants. A very useful search term is "drought tolerant".
Although it is possible to shape your plot and tame the environment so you can plant more or less what you like, when you are starting in the desert, it's really important to just plant anything that will grow, to get some shade, windbreak, and to get a root network going. Put as much drought tolerant stuff in as you can, especially fast growing and nitrogen fixing, then grow the good stuff in its shade, downwind, nearby.
General rather than grape-specific girdling comment: My understanding when girdling is to not completely circle the trunk but to leave part of the bark intact so that water may still move upwards. When animals completely girdle a tree, a common result is death of the tree.
You don't need to prune roots. Prune the above ground portion of the least favoured competitor, and that plant's roots will die back to match, releasing organic matter to nourish the most favoured competitors.
How about using photosynthesis to convert sunlight, water and carbon dioxide to biomass eg a tree. The wood makes a great storage medium and can be burned when the energy is needed. Also carbon neutral if you're worried about that sort of thing.
I soak seeds. If instructions don't say to soak them I soak for 24 hrs I'd soak peas or bean seeds for 24 hrs. If instructions say soak for 24 hours I soak for 48 hrs. I soak them till they're noticeably swollen. If I am motivated enough I then put them on a wet cloth in a tray with a clear plastic cover somewhere warmish. These two things make seeds germinate for me. If I have soaked seeds for 24 hrs, and plant them in soil that was watered thoroughly 30 mins previously, I don't need to worry about watering them again until they germinate. We don't have winters, or frosts or much rain ever here, so I don't worry about mould or deal with seeds that need overwinting or cold strat.
Try the seed soaking thing and as already noted wait for some warm weather.
as long as you are not growing root or edible stem vegetables then why worry? I have not heard of anything undesirable such as lead being able to work its way up thru a plants roots and stem into the edible parts. The worms are alive right? Stick some trees in it and let nature carry on cycling whatever is in it. I'm talking from lay knowledge so don't blame me if you die of something nasty.
Hugo Morvan wrote:If it is and you would eat that, you would get sick in about two weeks and maybe the happy-go-lucky people you invited to your meal. It destroys your liver, is extremely painful and no anti-dote, after a terrible deathstruggle of say ten days you suddenly feel better, the next day you're dead.
Even in arid land you can get wood into the ground using nature rather than diesel. Plant support trees. Support trees are so called because they dont necessarily give food or firewood but enhance the environment thru giving shade and biomass so you can then plant trees that you can live off. The nitrogen fixing legume trees are good as they can grow fast. Rather than hauling in heavy machinery, haul in some water and kick start some shade trees.
Mike Homest wrote: I expect it to be in the 70-100 kg area. So uphill might be a challenge with it?
I guess at least double that.
An e bike and solar panels on trailer roof could be a nice upgrade.
I'd love to have something like this but living at sea level on a volcano, everything is uphill so for me would have to have a motor.
Devan Wickland wrote:If rather then drilling, you collect rainwater, does that deplete the streams and rivers downhill???
Depends. From observation and guesswork, most of what falls on my land evaporates or runs to gullies that lead to the sea. So im happy to take it. If you live well inland and your downhill neighbours are making sensible use of your runoff then you need to be making even more sensible use of it. If you establish soil and shade then perhaps taking the runoff now will benefit your downhill neighbours in a year or two. On balance, if you can use it productively, and are allowed to, then take it.
Devan Wickland wrote: I wonder what other people think of drinking up the underground water, especially in the desert... Is it inherently unsustainable to do this?
It's not something i would do. My preferred approach is to use natives or trees from other parts of the world with similar climate. In this way to bring shade and organic matter using only what falls from the sky. However, if the idea is to make a quick start to get this shade using groundwater, and then a year or three later stop using groundwater, that could be sustainable.
Glenn Herbert wrote:And the engine analogy breaks down due to the fact that the fuel combustion is only intermittent, and designed to occur so fast that there is no time for significant radiation or conduction to cool it. The RMH configuration has the gases in contact with the core walls while burning, and turbulence needed for best combustion would bring much of the gas into contact with the walls at some point. You may get 1300+F in the heart of the riser, but much of the gas will be lower temperature, and will definitely not reach the fairly uniform 1600-1800+F that clean J-tubes are capable of to destroy the last pollution compounds.
(Ernie and Erica made statements years ago about 1100F, but more recently they are claiming well over 2000F maximum, with a caution to not exceed 2300F so that NOx pollutants are not created.)
The exhaust manifold is getting no break from combustion temps. Look at the egt gauge of a V8 turbo diesel. 1000F+ but the manifolds and turbochargers can last for decades.
Bruce Woodford wrote: flame path temps are far higher than the actual temperature of the core which contains the flame. I know that there is a temperature difference of at least 325 degrees F between my flame path in the heat riser (at least 1225F) and the hottest part of my burn tunnel (less than 900F).
Yes this is the critical point that seems to be missed by the "Don't use metal in a RMH" dogma.
Internal combustion engines are made of metal and can last for decades.
Satamax Antone wrote:The most metal in your engine doesn't go much over 100 celcius.
I don't dispute that, however *some* of the metal, especially in the cylinder and
exhaust immediately behind the engine gets way above that. The water cooling keeps the average heat of the engine head down but it also means the materials in the engine are dealing with massive variations in temperatures eg fuel air mix combusting at thousands of degrees just a few millimetres away from a water jacket at just below coolant boiling point. Are you sure that my multi layer steel head gasket isn't seeing higher temps than the materials a rocket stove is made from?
Trace Oswald wrote:You can build a foot of soil in 5 years just by making a pile of wood chips 5 feet deep and dumping compost and minerals on it over that amount of time
I would call that moving soil although it's debatable as you are starting with soil ingredients rather than actual soil.
I plant trees in solid rock by smashing a crater and filling in with the rock bits that I smashed out. The area further out than the crater starts to be populated with "weeds" if I water my crater, and thus soil is built. Easily at the rate of an inch per year.
false pepper, almond, loquat, prickly pear, date palm, moringa (needs irrigation first year), mulberry, wild lemon
not fruiting but maybe throw in some yuccas as these are ultra drought tolerant and useful shade/windbreak/fence.
Maybe a phone call or a visit with his permission could be even more useful to him. If someone needed to ask for help for travel expenses for a long drive then that might be an equally effective way of spending the generosity his permies.com friends have expressed. Maybe his wife could also do with knowing there are a lot of people out there rooting for them, and who care enough to make something happen?
The size of cutting doesn't matter as long as it contains at least two buds.
I put the cuttings vertical in water with the water level just below the top bud. You can leave them there till you see roots or you can plant them in the ground if it's not too hot and dry where you are. Plant with the top bud just above ground level and make sure the soil doesn't dry out.
You could go for a misting system and/or use an air pump to aerate the water while the cuttings are soaking. It isn't necessary but will give faster rooting.
If efficiency is measured in terms of carbohydrate formed per CO2 molecule then I believe that all plants are equally as efficient.
Photosynthesis efficiency is usually discussed in terms of CO2 to carbohydrate conversion per amount of light, which varies greatly between plants and also depends on temperature, water availability, light intensity & and concentration of CO2. So one plant type might be more efficient under low light whereas another is more efficient under intense light.
C4 photosynthesis is more light efficient than C3 and works better under extremes of high light and low CO2. But it's not just the efficiency that you will find in science literature as this relates to what happens when a photon hits a leaf. You also need to consider that if a photon is not used by a leaf it may then strike another leaf and be used. Thus photosynthesis is often said to be 3 or 4% efficient but the whole plant may achieve an efficiency of double or triple that, in act nearly rivalling photovoltaic panels in terms of their efficiency in converting photons to energy, with the added benefit that PV panels don't store energy whereas plants convert it into stored chemical energy ie carbohydrate. Solar panels to save the world? No thanks I'd rather have trees.