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Permaculture in Extreme Desert?

 
Posts: 947
Location: Graham, Washington [Zone 7b, 47.041 Latitude] 41inches average annual rainfall, cool summer drought
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Dan alan wrote:You know there are not a lot of weed, or anything, in the desert..

Aren't there actually quite a few... that only show up when it rains and only last a few days/weeks? [In a healthy desert ecosystem anyway.]
 
pollinator
Posts: 305
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certainly you can use a bubbler. when i was at terlingua ranch there were plenty of weeds, i would use the chapparel or what they call greasewood, even some mesquite. did you know that sage and mesquite can both go down 140 feet. i do not remember everything growing in the desert, but there was a lot. when elaine was in the midwest working on the land that had been decimated by gmo's, there were very few weeds. she just used what there were and then sprayed on a small portion and then that portion grew a lot of plants and she fed that 2nd, 3rd group to the whole area.

the conservation folks here have just bought a ranch no till seed drill that can go over very rough ground, digging a trough as well as burying seed without tilling. They will rent for 200 a day. unfortunately it will not get here for at least a month, so i will just use a regular seeder over the chisel plough furrows and then roll it. I priced a no till seeder today and it was 35,000 smakeroos. wow I am doing 20 acres and just one other person here to help, besides the farmer who does a lot but hand seeding is not on his list.
 
Posts: 121
Location: Gaines County, Texas South of Seminole, Tx zone 7b
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dog trees greening the desert
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charlotte anthony wrote:james everett, what are the trees growing in this glorious picture?



The tree on the left is a mesquite tree. The cluster of trees on the right are soap berry trees that have drifted and seeded themselves in the draw portion of my land at some point in time. This fall around that same area this fall I plan on adding some pecan trees that I sprouted from seeds that I gathered from my sisters place in town so that I can have a root stock that I can then turn and graft some of her tree to later due to the fact the years that I have seeded has the nice ground cover that is helping hold in the moisture there. I just have to give the trees protection from the rabbits that have also moved in to enjoy the shade and vegetation there.
 
charlotte anthony
pollinator
Posts: 305
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many thanks james
 
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I've followed this thread for some time. I am taking steps forward in getting some land in Texas in the Trans Pecos area in the coming 6-8 months.

I've identified a few key plants which I consider valuable in the beginning phases. The problem I'm having is finding seeds, and affordable ones at that.

How are you guys tackling this issue? I'll give a few examples:

Marama bean- nearly unavailable. Made from unobtainium perhaps?
Texas elbow/spring herald- semi-available but cost prohibitive.
Acacia- 25 cents/seed is best I've seen. When factoring in a 10+ acre area, this is a big expense.


I can understand why some exotics are hard to find and expensive, but some of the more common trees seem to only be available via hit and miss eBay sellers who charge $10 for a small handful of seeds they picked up in their back yard.

When thinking on the 10-20 acre scale, where and how are you guys solving the seed acquisition problem?

If anyone lives in an area where local flora mirrors what would be needed in a project like this, can a seed swap be set up maybe? I know some in this thread could walk out their front door and pick up 100 mesquite seeds in 5 minutes. For me, an 18 hour drive would be required.
 
Posts: 128
Location: Sierra Blanca, TX
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In our little corner of the desert (Sierra Blanca, TX) Mesquite seeds are really everywhere as are the trees themselves. I would be more than happy to send you as many as you like for the cost of postage. USPS says if it fits it ships and their rates are really reasonable. Just let me know how much and where and we can get them out to you.
 
Posts: 114
Location: Tyler Texas
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forest garden tiny house solar greening the desert homestead
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Andy Jorgensen wrote:The problem I'm having is finding seeds, and affordable ones at that.

How are you guys tackling this issue? I'll give a few examples:

Marama bean- nearly unavailable. Made from unobtainium perhaps?
Texas elbow/spring herald- semi-available but cost prohibitive.


Honestly, you need to be present when starting trees and it might be best to wait until you move to start a tree nursery. This way the trees are strong and on-site when the rain comes and it's time to plant. Also, once you have one tree you will have plenty of seed. Lecueana, and acacia make a lot of seed by the second year. Marama bean seed is expensive and will only really grow planted on site. Sol-ros university has grown them in trials and have some seed. Once you have a producing vine you will have plenty of seed, but it's like a tree taking 4 years to get up to production as the bulb gets up to 3 feet in diameter.

Mesquite bean pods, $20 pounds for $40: http://www.az-cactus.com/Mesquite-Beans-For-Sale.htm

Acacia seed, 32,688 seeds for 43.45 https://www.sheffields.com/seeds-for-sale/Acacia/dealbata/060657//////Silver-Wattle,-Mimosa/Silver-Wattle,-Mimosa

The point being there ARE bulk sellers out there if you want seeds, but it might not be best to transport saplings..


I grow seedlings in a 2' deep sand raised bed and an automatic water sprayers about 1 inch apart; 2000 about 1800 of which will sprout saplings in a 4 foot squre bed. Pre scarify and soak legumes before planting! I plant them out at 1 to 1.5 years old.  Saplings don't need much nutrition and sand is not only easy to pull trees out of, but encourages good root development and the competition of proximity makes then grow fast, tall and straight.

If you want to make transplanting a breeze, grow them in deep tree cones which direct roots downwards and make saplings transportable without the roots drying out or being overly damaged:https://www.stuewe.com/products/deepots.php

I wish you success!
 
Andy Jorgensen
Posts: 6
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Joseph, thank you for the offer, I will take you up on that! I'll PM you this afternoon.

Dan- very good info, thank you, especially for the links.

At this stage I'm trying to line up my priorities and get my ducks in a row. In something this grandiose I expect things to not always go as planned. I'd rather get my seed sources lined up before the land purchase, versus sinking $10-15k into land, then wasting valuable time trying to track down sources.

Based on the bulk providers which Dan provided, I would want to do a split planting. I could start some seeds here in Florida where I currently live, and that will get me a 6-8 month head start, but then when i relocate I'd plant some straight to the ground.

I anticipate utilizing a few different methods to ensure germination and fast initial growth. One thing I will be doing is lots of deep pipe irrigation.

In my line of work I can get all the scrap pipe anyone could want, so accumulating 2" pipe 5-7' long is something I'll start doing.

I also am working on establishing sources of shredded paper and wood chips. Both could be a free source (granted requiring transportation to my location) which are biodegradable and could provide excellent mulching benefits. Gabe Brown says soil at 70° utilizes all the moisture for plant growth. By 100° only 15% is utilized, the other 85% transpired or evaporated. While I'm sure there is some wiggle room with those numbers, it demonstrates the importance of protecting the soil. In my yard I consistently notice a 14-17° difference in bare soil vs 4" of mulch covered soil.

I've also been following much of Elaine Ingram's work. I can reliably create compost and therefore compost tea which meet her recommended standards for proper levels of bacteria/fungi/micro arthropods/etc. An $85 microscope will teach you amazing things!

Keep the info coming, I'm taking copious notes from all you who have more experience than myself!
 
Posts: 65
Location: West Texas - near Big Bend National Park
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fungi solar greening the desert
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Andy,

I have a bumper crop of white thorn acacia beans this year if you are interested.  I grow them because they are easy to sprout, quick growers, and can provide dense shade with moisture.

Let me know if you want these.

Kevin
 
pollinator
Posts: 2039
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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kids duck forest garden chicken pig bee greening the desert homestead
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So why does it have to be roof water collection only? I realize that is probably the easiest to get into storage but I'd think a determine person could find other ways of storing water out of evaporation areas. I'd be looking to harvest every single inch of water from my property in a billion ways and I'd probably pile rocks by all of my trees to collect condensation, if there is any.

I think I'm thinking off contour swales that deliver water into a french drain type storage system underground or perhaps on contour ones with many bore holes filled with debri to store the water. I'd have to experiment to find what I liked.
 
Andy Jorgensen
Posts: 6
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Joseph and Kevin-

Regarding the offer for seeds, I will take you both up. I cannot PM either of you for some reason.....?

Shoot me an email, 308andyj@gmail.com

Thanks!
 
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Native Bee Guide by Crown Bees
https://permies.com/wiki/105944/Native-Bee-Guide-Crown-Bees
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