ben heidorn wrote:Hey Benjamin, I like your name! Welcome to permies and it sounds as if you are at the beginning of a great adventure!
Sounds as if you are in zone 5 perhaps, I'm in zone 6 and can see those low temperatures but not very often.
Not sure how much 100ml translates into inches / year, but it doesn't sound like very much.
As a relatively new member myself I don't feel comfortable giving specific advice, but I would suggest beginning with
Dr. RedHawk's Epic Soil Series
Leigh Tate wrote:Benyamin, welcome to Permies! And congratulations on your property!
You really have an interesting challenge before you. I love that you have been observing, have foundational goals, and understand your challenges. Your photos are fantastic too. I have no experience with this kind of environment, but you've come to the right place to ask questions, share ideas, and brainstorm. I'll be very interested in your progress. I hope you continue to share!
Crt Jakhel wrote:Hello Benjamin -- what beautiful landscape; beautiful and harsh.
Do you have access to digging machinery? It sounds like it could be a good idea to make an underground "moisture battery" in the form of a trench filled with organic matter (wood, leaves, grass, whatever - wood is important because of slower decomposition) and the either topped with soil thinly or more organics.
Our property does not have such a large number of trees and so close so I'm digging in wood individually as I plant. Ours location has a classic continental climate, so it's on the dry side, but yours seems really very dry. Therefore I can't really say oh just do this and you'll be fine - I don't have direct experience with dry conditions to that extent. But it does seem reasonable to try.
But that's just about moisture itself... I would imagine salt accumulation is the truly hard part. I don't have an answer for that apart from going with species which are known to be tolerant. Your location seems too cold for figs and carob. Maybe jujube? Mulberry could also work if the cold is only there truly in the winter and you don't get late frosts. You mentioned apricots and even almonds being grown around you and if those come through early spring in good shape, mulberries would as well.
But it also would be a shame to waste all the existing trees.
The upside of having that many trees is that you can try a number of different approaches all at the same time and with more than just 1 or 2 trees taking part in the same experiment, so you can think of it as a blessing in disguise - it should take less time to see in practice which approach works.
Michael Fundaro wrote:
The third idea to consider, maybe on a smaller scale to begin with, is creating a Microclimate by planting trees and bushes and plants and ground cover and making a small pond and creating shade, all of which will increase the humidity in that small area and slightly lower the air temperature and help hold moisture in the ground. The idea is you start with a small area, maybe 10 feet by 10 feet, and whenever you get a chance you can add to the edges and slowly make the area larger and larger. There are plenty of short videos on Microclimates, and plenty of websites with information to read, but I am not aware of a long movie explaining the process. A quick search found this website, just to give you an idea, but you can find many more that may be more suitable for what you want to obtain.
My final suggestions are to get a soil test kit, or a few electronic gauges that can test the soil by inserting a probe into the dirt, so you know what nutrients you need to add to your soil. Odds are you are lacking in Nitrogen and Phosphorous, and that will probably explain why your trees are struggling, and with the salty soil I am guessing your soil is Alkaline and you may need to add some sulfur to bring it to a more neutral PH level.
I know the videos above talk about wood chips and tree branches and compost, but if you don't have them available you can use hay or straw or cut grasses to create a layer of material on top of the dirt that will break down and help the soil.
Benyamin Ghasemi wrote:
Thanks for the tips, Micheal. I'll dive in the material soon.
I 100% agree that mulching, micro climates and shade from the plants and trees is the way to go. however I'm stuck right now because I was looking for a solution that gets the whole farm going in one go, it might be more practical to start small as you said 10x10 feet. but at the same time I need to solve the irrigation problem for the existing trees too.
I have already done a couple of lab tests on the soil and the water. the water itself is rich with nitrates, potassium, sulfur and magnesium but no phosphorous. the soil itself lacks nitrogen and one indicator is that most weeds are nitrogen fixing weeds. To improve nitrogen I'll plant lots of legumes but for phosphorous I'm not sure what I can do other than chemical addition. Also since the water itself is rich in sulfur I don't need to add any sulfur, however I've heard lime or gypsum are great to help loosen up the heavy clay soil.
here are the water test results from lab:
EC: 2080 us/cm
Salt: 1.56 ppt
Ca: 168 mg/l
Na: 230 mg/l
Sulfates: 116 mg/l
Mg: 72 mg/l
K: 4.1 mg/l
Ba: 1.5 mg/l
Nitrates (NO3): 2.21 mg/l
Nitrites (NO2): 0.0049 mg/l