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Desert Terraforming?

Posts: 44
Location: San Francisco
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This is a goofy, speculative idea.

There are parcels of desert land available for a few thousand dollars
all-in in places like East of LA or West of Salt Lake.  In theory, if one
were to shell out and buy one of these parcels, what could you do with it?

The first thing you need in the desert is water.  Drilling a well is
expensive so let's try this instead:  Dig a hole, put a moisture-sealed
dome over it, put a dehumidifier at the bottom of the hole, and set up
solar panels to power it.

Now you've got electric power, a few gallons of potable water per day,
and some climate control.  Next, to grow crops you need soil. Enter the
compost worm: under ideal conditions it doubles in mass every forty
days or so, and it creates excellent soil.  They're also easy to raise.
To feed them you use algae and grass, particularly bamboo.

Algae, compost worms, and grass are all very fast-growing, and the system
as a whole produces fresh high-quality topsoil.  Eventually you add
chickens, fish or shrimp/crayfish etc., and (more) plants.

I figure a "unit" would consist of the above materials & machinery, along
with starter cultures of the flora & fauna.

Moisture condenser (dehumidifier)
Solar panels
Algae tanks & bubblers, etc.
Worm beds
Misc additional stuff like tubing, tools, etc.

You could plop down in the middle of the desert and start building topsoil.

What do you think?
Posts: 3114
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
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Uhmm, interesting.
This reminds me of gardenpool, where they have a water tight 'pool" with a greenhouse on top.
They grow duckweed and algae in it, which they feed to their chicken and fish, who "deposits" their fertilizer into the pool. The nutrient rich water is also used to grow vegetables and grapes.

But it sounds like you are talking about something bigger than a pool
Lets say I didn't have to worry about imported water and imported/prepaid electricity.
Lets say the scale of my operation was 1acres.

I would do drip irrigation with short/native/dwarf fruit trees planted every 10ft (40,000sqft or 400trees).
1,00sqft house and a 2,000sqft garden pool with fish, chicken, goat and vegefables.
The first person to drink cow's milk. That started off as a dare from this tiny ad:
Greenhouse of the Future ebook - now free for a while
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