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Building a farm in the high desert of California

 
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Hey everyone,

I'm building a farm from scratch in the high desert of California and I'm going to be making videos of the entire process so I thought I'd make a post here.
I'm in zone 8a, 4500ft and 6" of annual rainfall. I'm going to be using a combination of typical market farming and permaculture principles.
I'll be separating my field blocks with 15' wide perennial/tree guilds with fruit trees, nitrogen fixing pioneer trees and shrubs, berry bushes and native ground cover species.
The farm is going to be run off of solar exclusively, I just installed a Grundfos SQFlex solar pump that I'll be powering off ground-mounted solar.

This video is a bit long, I'll try to make future videos shorter and more to the point. Give me a comment!

 
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having never been there I can only imagine the challenge and opportunity. I have seen some very interesting programs from the Middle East, North Africa  and china where desert land was converted to lush green oasis with year round water retention in the roots of plants and trees in less then one generation of human life.
having lived in hot humid places most of my life I've toyed with the idea of moving to dryer climate
looking forward to watching your progress.
 
Evan Byrne
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Thanks Bruce. Fortunately ground water is extremely abundant where I am located. I have a 200ft deep well with static water at 25ft and 90gpm of flow. I am located in the deepest valley in the continental US and there is an incredible amount of recharge entering the aquifer every year from snow melt off of the Sierra. I will obviously be irrigating the cultivated areas, but I plan to experiment with trying to establish some mesquite trees with drip irrigation that I will eventually remove if I can get their roots into the water table.
 
Evan Byrne
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Here's my second Vlog. Not a whole lot in this one, I talk more about the farm design, permaculture principles and zoning.

 
Evan Byrne
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Heres my 3rd Vlog, I plant some trees and talk about my variety selection process. Enjoy and give me a comment!

 
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Weird that the water table is so shallow yet there's no native (mesquite) trees there already.

I wish I had water that deep !

------------------------

Is the top soil very sandy?
 
Evan Byrne
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According to the USDA plant database there are some screwbean Mesquite's in the valley floor where the water table is around 6ft. The low total rainfall along with almost no summer rain may be why they have trouble establishing.
 
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I would like to speak with you private, me and my fiance are actually looking for desert land in Cali, haven't a clue about how to go about every aspect of this, we are wanting to be as self sufficient as possible , I'm a very skilled carpenter maybe we could harder help.
 
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Location: Llano, Ca
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Looking forward to meeting like minded people. We are in the process of closing on 20 acres in Llano.

I like the idea of using simple passive watering systems that can establish guilds and maintain them. Some ideas around solar power water pumping, bell siphons and rapid flow irrigation into swales.

My wife and three grown boys are there in California and I am across the world at the moment in Tbilisi. I haven't logged into permies for a long time, how is the best way to connect?

@recentpaintings on Twitter
 
Mikhail Mulbasicov
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bump / update









 
pollinator
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Interesting but perhaps these videos would get more attention on a more conventional or organic agriculture website. Not sure. Still wondering how it fits with permaculture?. Only watched one video. Hopefully no sage grouse or other rare animals get displaced. Seems like the soil might get blown away clearing it all like that. Still looking for swales, berms, sheet mulching,…..Just saying……
I read John Muir would hike across the California valleys and see wildflowers as far as the eye could see. I wonder if he saw a golden bear. If I could time travel I’d go back and hike with John.  Shame what ranching has done to the west. Can we make it diverse again??
 
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