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Permaculture in Zone 9a (Arizona); Based out of Vegas

 
Posts: 16
Location: Dolan Springs, AZ (Zone 9a)
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Hey all I'm new to the forums and I'd love to connect with some local AZ and NV permies to talk permaculture with. I have a 5 acre property in Dolan Springs, raw land. I'd love any input as far as regulation and zoning (who to contact for earthworks or earthbuilding), what I can grow, water harvesting, anything really. I'm green to being green :) I do have an issue of only being able to work on the property a few times a month, but I can work around that. Any input on security?

I'm VERY early in planning, though I have a basic design I'm going off of. However, I still need a fence! Immediate help would be on keeping cattle off my land. I'm thinking barb wire and t-posts. Strong enough?
I just started a few cuttings that should be ready for planting next spring. Can I put up a living wall that will detour the animals? Russian Sage, Milkweed, lavender, oleanders, cacti, etc. that I could start now and plant in the spring? Would that even be enough to keep animals away?

I included a few pics, am I dreaming too big? I'm sure its hard to see and read, and scale is probably off, but maybe you get the jist. What do you think?


I look forward to meeting you all, thanks for reading!
Eric

AZ-land-topo.jpg
[Thumbnail for AZ-land-topo.jpg]
This is a rough overlay drawing of my property (North is Up). Orange is topography, Red dotted is boundries
AZ-land-West.jpg
[Thumbnail for AZ-land-West.jpg]
This is a rough sketch of the eventual future design of the west side of the property. (North is Up). Property slopes down 8ft from south to north (rainwater).
 
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Eric Nar wrote:....., I still need a fence! Immediate help would be on keeping cattle off my land. I'm thinking barb wire and t-posts. Strong enough?

...... Can I put up a living wall that will detour the animals?



Hi Eric,
I don't know about your particular location in AZ, but I've found the two legged animals tend to cut the fence when you're not around for what ever reason and some range cows will do their best to defeat your T post and wire where ever they find a weakness in it.

There are many people on this site who know more about planting live fences and I hope they speak up....here's what I would do  in the SW to keep range cows out (and most two legged varmits also won't risk their own hides to try to get through a well planted barrier).

If I could get Cholla Cactus to grow around the entire perimeter, I noticed the range cows don't eat it, don't rub up against it, and  I doubt they'd go thru two deep if you plant them close enough.....I have never tried this, so take this advice as untried advice....it's just what I would try in your shoes.
The Cholla Cactus also produces edible fruits: yellow and purple when ripe....but it takes some skill to harvest them..... you could add pear cactus but many animals eat the pads and I think some range cows are crazy enough to eat/walk through pear cactus.

Where ever there is water in the desert, there will be very desperate attempts to get to it by every four legged creature of the desert....if you live in monsoon area, I really hope you make your water catchments deep (and narrow to keep surface evaporation down).  I buried a 55 gallon plastic drum under the eve of a small out building in the desert.....it filled with water and kept it....and no uninvited visitor wanted to shoot holes in it like they do to unattended tanks which are above ground.  Make sure you install a method to keep critters from drowning: I didn't and next time I came back, I found a barrel full of wet corpses -talk about feeling ugly - animals in the SW will kill themselves even if they see and smell dead bodies just to get at the water.

Also, if you know of a friend who has access to a large lava flow with large lava stones/boulders (yes I have seen pumice boulders), I'd put up a 4' to 5' tall barrier around the property behind the cholla (hard to jump in the midst of cholla). It will never fall down, never rust and will stop most nonsense (desert deer too if you plant the cholla thick enough).  Image sourced from wikipedia btw.


220px-Opuntia_fulgida_1_-_Desert_Botanical_Garden.jpg
[Thumbnail for 220px-Opuntia_fulgida_1_-_Desert_Botanical_Garden.jpg]
 
Eric Nar
Posts: 16
Location: Dolan Springs, AZ (Zone 9a)
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Orin Raichart wrote:

Eric Nar wrote:....., I still need a fence! Immediate help would be on keeping cattle off my land. I'm thinking barb wire and t-posts. Strong enough?

...... Can I put up a living wall that will detour the animals?



If I could get Cholla Cactus to grow around the entire perimeter, I noticed the range cows don't eat it, don't rub up against it, and  I doubt they'd go thru two deep if you plant them close enough.....I have never tried this, so take this advice as untried advice....it's just what I would try in your shoes.
The Cholla Cactus also produces edible fruits: yellow and purple when ripe....but it takes some skill to harvest them..... you could add pear cactus but many animals eat the pads and I think some range cows are crazy enough to eat/walk through pear cactus.



I was just reading that cows will walk away with spines on their face to eat prickly pear in a drought. I have come to the same conclusion as you, looking at the silver cholla and jumping cholla for size.  Any idea about growth rate? I have been looking at cuttings online.

Thanks a bunch
 
Orin Raichart
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I first looked at Cholla for things to eat in the desert. Other than that they fruit in July thru late fall, that you should harvest them with tongs and thick leather gloves, that the fruit spines can be cut off (which in practice is more like skinning the entire fruit), and that failure to cut every single little spine has consequences for weeks, I couldn't tell you much else.

A nursery in the SW might actually carry them; I'd ask all the questions you did of one such nursery.....that'd speed up your experimentation. One of the questions I'd ask is how their species of Cholla compares with the one that grows on your property or near your property (bring three pics: one showing the plant from ground to top, one close to show the body, and one of the flower or fruit if you can).

 
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Location: AZ
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we are way se of you //but  same cow problem //we set corners with 3 posts and then 2 posts at the halfway mark on the  630 ft sides with t posts every 10ft and used field fence from tractor supply [6 330 ft rolls]//have had no  problem in 4 years and even keeps the coyotes out//good luck it is worth the  work
 
Eric Nar
Posts: 16
Location: Dolan Springs, AZ (Zone 9a)
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cougina machek wrote:we are way se of you //but  same cow problem //we set corners with 3 posts and then 2 posts at the halfway mark on the  630 ft sides with t posts every 10ft and used field fence from tractor supply [6 330 ft rolls]//have had no  problem in 4 years and even keeps the coyotes out//good luck it is worth the  work



I think Im going to go with your post layout, but longer 20'  tpost runs (fill in in the future). How tall is your fence? How many strands do you have? And how big in diameter, and how tall in length are your posts? Did you use concrete? thanks so much! You all are great here
 
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