This may be in the wrong forum but I'm excited and wanted to share. For almost 2 years I've been working to get something established in the desert. I've been hand digging small swales, water catches, and just generally breaking up compacted bare soil. I've also tried planting many things, and I've tossed around every seed I could get my hands on. I've struggled with birds, insects, rabbits, ground squirrels, massive heat and little water.
The night of july 3-4 we got about an inch of rain. The 4th brought another 2+. Until then we barely had 2 inches the entire year. The rains caused flooding. About 10-12 inches of water flowed over miles of land for a couple of hours. We have a huge mess to clean up but here's the exciting part: sprouts are coming up every where!!
Tons of "weeds" and native plants, along with wheat, cucumbers, melons, beans, lettuce and who knows what all else. I'm downright thrilled to put it mildly, and I now have hopes that I'll eventually stumble over olives and appletrees in the future
that's awesome! I too took the plunge into "hands off" gardening a few months ago. After establishing my annual bed in the spring for my major crops, i took the remaining seeds (60+ varieties) plus some buckwheat and clover and broadcast it over an area that I loosened up but never ended up using. I just sheet mulched with moldy hay and left it alone to do as it will, as I have no way to water it and no time to "care" for it. Now, it's thriving and seems like it'll produce MORE than my regular annual beds. Nature... go figure.
Thanks guys, it really is amazing to watch I've learned tons over the past couple of years too. I've watched tributaries and trickles when we get more than a trace of rain for example, and discovered I can catch a heck of a lot of water just by digging strategically. I've learned that heat loving plants are actually just warm weather plants. I've been learning that dead shrubs are still useful for holding soil and providing bits of shade to seedlings. And plants prefer shade around here! Birds aren't as likely to eat all the seeds when they're tossed into brush and thorns; piles of branches covered in dirt are not hugel beds and will not stay put without roots; slowing, spreading and sinking the water creates outstanding results; and piles of twigs, branches and silt keep the ground moist even in 100+ temperatures. Oh yeah, and I'm in love with waffle garden beds, basins and swales
That's really great, will be exciting to see what might pop up and stick around. I've been doing allot of seedballs myself, I made my own seedball machine for making several thousand in a few hours and then when I get the time I just toss them around, once a heavy enough rain comes it will break it down and hopefully something will germinate. Been 2 years now in a high desert zone 5B with annual rainfall of 7-11" and I've found carrots, beans, peas, rye, barley, etc, and plenty others pop up so far. I'm just letting them be and seeing what happens. Also working on a dew pond and have done a few swales, also planted a dozen plus tree's using the Groasis waterboxx's
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
posted 8 years ago
That is very often the story of arid and semi arid locales. Too long between rains, and when they do come, it's too much.
With good swales and catchment, "too much" can be stored, rather than just watching the flash floods watching everything away. Your plot will still be alive and green long after your neighbor's turns to a crinkly brown mass of waste.
Congratulations. Enjoy the fruits of your labor.
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