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Sheryl Hansen
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Location: Tucson, AZ
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A question for Toby or anyone who has info.
I live in the low Sonoran desert, arid (3% humidity in June) and hot (105-110F summertime temps.) with July and August monsoons. Does anyone know of permaculture books about growing food that apply to this climate? I took a PDC here but their gardening component, I thought, was sorely lacking. Rainwater harvesting though we have down!
There's a 2 volume book by Dave Jacke, Edible Forest Gardens, does anyone know if it has information applicable to my climate? Our library doesn't have it.

Thank you.
 
John Polk
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Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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I'm sure you have heard of Goji berries, and their health benefits. Did you know that there is a variety native to the Sonoran Desert?
http://jlhudsonseeds.net/SeedlistLO-LZ.htm It is the last listing on the page.

 
Sheryl Hansen
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Thanks for the link.
I didn't know that gojis were wolfberries. Are all varieties of wolfberry goji berries? There are wolfberry growing wild in my yard but they're not very big yet.
 
C.J. Murray
Posts: 92
Location: 5,500 ft. desert. 13" annual precip.
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Edible Forest Gardens does not focus on desert at all. The focus is on the more north than south eastern U.S. type climate.
 
John Polk
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It sounds like you already have the plants (Wolfberry) that I pointed you to.

"Goji" is an anglicized version of Chinese "Ko-Chi", often called "Chinese Wolfberry". The genus Lycium has around 100 species. The only two that I am familiar with are the well known Lycium chinense from China, and your Sonoran species Lycium exsertum.

Do your wildlife share any with you? I've heard people complain that they get none!
 
Neil Evansan
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Location: Valley of the Sun
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C.J. Murray wrote:Edible Forest Gardens does not focus on desert at all. The focus is on the more north than south eastern U.S. type climate.
I've been wondering the same thing Sheryl. Thanks for the 'micro-review' C.J.

I joined this Forum recently and am excited to keep seeing others who also call this Desert their Home. I'm inSpired by geoff lawton's "ReGreening the Desert" video of their Jordanian project. If they can re-create that little slice of Eden from what they had to work with, imagine if/when we get 10 or 20 or hundreds, even thousands of those plots across our SW landscape.


We need local food EVERYWHERE in the US, not just the more ideal places to the North. Same goes for the rest of this Planet. If certain statistics are to be believed, about 60% of the worlds populations live in "desert" areas (I've seen guesstimates of up to 75%). Most of these areas are not currently supporting sustainable local food productions. Maybe that's one focus we can use to our advantage here in the SW deserts, because Big AgriBiz cannot make a go of it in hostile environments, while Community-scaled growing is certainly feasible. I was born & raised and lived in Western Oregon for 48 years, and while I miss the Coastal Forests with Real Trees (200' Redwoods and 150' Cedars & Firs) I guess it might be time to be creating a new scale of Forest here in the Desert, and from the looks of it, we might be the ones writing those books. Take good notes!
 
Neal Spackman
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Location: Makkah, Saudi Arabia
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Hey folks,

I'm operating in the deserts south of Makkah in Saudi Arabia. The way i researched what we could plant here (given the water) was through a climate analogue--essentially what you do is jump onto google earth, and take a tour around the world on the same latitude that your site is on. So if you're 15 degrees north of the equator at such and such an elevation, you look for similar climates (elevation, precipitation, relation to coast, mountains, etc) both 15 degrees north and south of the equator. For Saudi Arabia, i found some really useful plants out of Mauritania, Namibia, Mexico, and sections of India.

Once I had other very similar climates identified, i looked for plants traditionally used that are native to those areas--so from Namibia there are all kinds of melons that `i should be able to grow, and from India i can bring in Neem, Moringa, and from Mauritania there are lots of medicinals and fruits i can grow. You can do the same thing for Sonora--you'd be surprised what you can grow in the desert.

Neal Spackman
Al Baydha Project
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Neil Evansan wrote:

We need local food EVERYWHERE in the US, not just the more ideal places to the North. Same goes for the rest of this Planet.


I agree, and that what makes me keep trying in a difficult place....
 
Sheryl Hansen
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Location: Tucson, AZ
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John Polk wrote:Do your wildlife share any with you? I've heard people complain that they get none!

The wolfberry bushes are still quite small so I haven't even seen any berries. We moved here 5 years ago, the place had been landscaped, once I let nature in all kinds of cool plants are popping up.
Good research idea for climate adapted plants.
It's so valuable to keep records, thanks for the reminder.
Thanks for the info.
 
Toby Hemenway
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I'm not aware of any permaculture books for the Sonoran desert, but Scott Pittman has posted all the back issues of Permaculture Drylands Magazine at his website, http://permaculture.org You'll have to search for the exact link. Pc Drylands was published for a decade or so and has articles by many great permies doing good work in the Sonoran and other deserts all over the US SW. And there are nuggets on growing tucked into Brad Lancaster's "Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands" books. Several mainstream gardening books are desert-specific, and will help you think about it. And there are a lot of smart permies in Tucson, Phoenix, and NM who have a wealth of knowledge--the Sonoran Permaculture Guild being one resource.

The big thing in the desert: learn to create and enhance cool, moist microclimates. Learning about microclimate will help you almost more than learning about specific species and technique.
 
Neil Evansan
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Location: Valley of the Sun
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Toby Hemenway wrote:..... Scott Pittman has posted all the back issues of Permaculture Drylands Magazine at his website, http://permaculture.org
This looks like an awesome site. Mahalo Toby! I see more than enough article links to quench any thirst for reading!

and thanks for the Sonoran Permaculture Guild and other references too!
 
Sheryl Hansen
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Location: Tucson, AZ
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Toby Hemenway wrote:
The big thing in the desert: learn to create and enhance cool, moist microclimates. Learning about microclimate will help you almost more than learning about specific species and technique.


That makes sense. Thanks.

Brad Lancaster's books and the Sonoran Permaculture Guilds PDC do touch on food production. They focus alot on native food plants and the 'gardening' component (as of 2 years ago) didn't have what I was looking for with regard to producing food to live on.
 
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