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Reforestation - Growing trees in arid, barren lands - by Seeds and Clay cubes (no watering)

 
pollinator
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Great, good luck, thank you !!!

where are you Jason ?

Kostas
 
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In south Australia kostas. Our elevation is about 450m. I will keep a record of how many I plant and how many come up and their vigor. I also have a pile of apples from another tree growing wild so will plant apple seeds aswell
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Hello Jason,

Good luck - have fun.

Figuring out what your land likes to grow is the most challenging part - once you know that, planting closely spaced trees and shrubs will help heal the land quickly and create new soil.

When this fertility development process gets going, I think you can plant just about anything - it just takes time.

We look forward to your input and updates.

Kostas
 
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Kostas, can you do another video taking us back to the very first trees you ever planted? I'd love to see that!
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Will do Elle - give me a week or so to go around and do a summary so to speak

kostas
 
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Hi folks, thanks for the feedback.
We are at the peak of the dry season here in Western Kenya. Most of my tree seedlings did not survive... maybe 10% remain. Some were destroyed by grazing livestock, but the majority were killed by the heat and drought. Most of the survivors were Blue Gum - my least favorite.

It seems like if we want the trees to "stick" through the dry season, I'm going to have to work a little harder. Either planting seedlings instead of seeds - so that the trees get a "head start" on the drought, or taking time to tend the trees more after planting. I'm not sure how much time or energy I can put into this.

Well, at least 10% is better than 0%, right?

Maureen


 
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I had terrible survival rates getting trees started in my dry climate until I started using deep watering methods for the saplings. We use deep watering for the first year or so to get them going: http://www.permies.com/t/22657/desert/Wicking-Irrigation-Tree-Establishment

With those methods, we get 90% survival.
 
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The key to irrigation in arid lands is to water so the water goes deep and forces the roots down. When I plant big trees, that are expensive, I irrigate for the first three years to help trees get stablished. I irrigate two times a week but soak very well to force water down. With deep itrrigation you got that covered.

The other strategy is to plant seeds or cheap seedlings (likes the ones used for reforestation. They are very cheap if bought in great numbers) and not water at all. Then the year after, plant again where trees have died. Repeat until paradise ensues.

Maureen, did you do any water harvesting techniques at all? I don't think 10% survival for seeds is bad. The worse news is that the death rate was higher in the species you wanted most. Maybe you need to plant the tougher species before the others can survive.

Keep it up everybody!!

Cheers,
Lucía
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Hello everyone,

Here is the 1st of the video updates on the seeding projects in Greece.


Lessons learned - large clay cubes (5cm or so) reinforced with straw are needed to help the cubes survive heavy downpours, and

clay cubes that have bean like seeds need to have the seeds soaked overnight prior to making the clay cubes - what happened with small clay cubes, is the laburnum seeds expand in volume and crack the clay (laburnum seeds are like beans - poisonous to humans).

Kostas
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Here is the 2nd video - this a site near Thessaloniki



Kostas
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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The 3rd video



Kostas
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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The 4th and last video



Problems we encountered in the last 2 years, include:

1. An early frost in Oct 2013 killed many young trees
2. Workers placed the seeds about 10 cm in the soil and seeds could not sprout (poor supervision is the responsible party here (I) )
3. Wild rabbits eat the young trees - eating the tops of 20 cm trees does not kill them, but I wonder if they eat the trees as they emerge from the ground and that if this kills the trees?
4. Small clay cubes without straw cannot survive the heavy rains - around 5 cm cubes with straw and maybe some compost or manure is appropriate,
5. Laburnum seeds need to be soaked prior to encasing in clay - I did not plant Laburnum near the city - while country residents know enough not to eat poisonous seeds, I am concerned about city residents

We will await the results from Cyprus, Crete Australia, US and the other places to see what happens - we also need to monitor the trees over the summer and make observations - time will tell if this is a viable alternative to covering the dry bare earth.

Everyone's input is much, much appreciated - its a team project.

Kostas
 
elle sagenev
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Thanks so much Kostas. Looking through all your videos and loving it!
 
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Looks like pest control can be added to the list of challenges, could well be that rabbits eat the first shoots.
Does look like some of them made it through fortunately.
I wonder if perhaps focusing on a smaller area could increase succes rate, and make some form of pest control possible.
Had a look at some drones, and they might be usable for testing, not so much for larger area drops.
Did come acros this;
Seedstamp
Does look very dangerous with all that safety gear
 
Caduceus Freekt
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Something else i wondered, if the goal of scarring seeds is to mimic going through an animal's digestive tract, why not soak those seeds in a hydrochloric acid/water solution for a few hours?
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Hello Maureen,

Sorry to hear about your trees – 10% is a victory – congratulations - thank you for trying !!!

Anything that likes to grow in your area, can be used as ground cover. Wangari Maathai - used to say that the earth is a beautiful lady that does not like to be bare, she likes being covered in green (or something to that effect) – she was a wonderful woman !!!.

If we are to plant billions of trees – we need to go with seeds – for every part of the world, we need to identify what likes to grow there from seed, without any human input, and use that to re vegetate/cover the ground.

Once you have ground cover, you have lowered the ground temperature and are creating new soil – under these conditions, you can grow just about anything.

If trees or shrubs cannot survive in some places due to extreme conditions, then we can use plants to do the same job. Plants like alfalfa may be useful in some places – they drop roots down to six feet.

There are some plants in my area that like to grow only in the summertime when there is no water - these plants thrive in the summer - these include the cactus pears we discussed previously, bermuda grass (crabgrass etc) - people are horrified of this grass, but I see that in the areas that it grows, the soil improves. Ecballium elaterium is another plant growing around here in the summer, as is Mirabilis Jalapa - anything to cover the earth !!! I am sure there are plants like these in your area - look around - be observant, and you will see - if need be we can send you some seeds.

You may want to fence a 5 x 5 area, to protect it from grazing animals and try different seeds try some of the ones mentioned here (almonds etc). If you can reforest the 5 x 5 area, then you can reforest the whole of Kenya. Good luck – please keep us posted.

Kostas
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Hello Cad,

The problem with the wild rabbits is local to the city site - near the city hunting is not allowed and there are no wild animals that would be the natural predators for the rabbits, so we have a large population - I see some stray dogs have taken residence in the area lately, so I am sure they will impact the rabbit population.

Interesting idea with the seedstamp - we need to see how we can use it or modify it somewhat for our needs - thanks for the info.

Any info on the drones?

On the scaring of seeds, the hydrochloric acid maybe of use - carob trees are very important, and the hydrochloric acid may work on them - we may also try it on the olive pits.

Kostas
 
Maureen Atsali
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I am slowly trying to educate myself on the names and functions of the local plant life here. I'm an American ex-pat, so I don't know a whole lot about Kenyan ecology. (I'm from Vermont originally.) I'd like not only to establish some ground-cover and forestation, but also a situation which is symbiotically benefitting everyone - humans, domestic animals, wildlife, earth/soil, climate etc. Food security is a huge issue here, and currently something like 80% of the country is facing a "starvation crisis". Hard to get people enthusiastic about planting trees when they are hungry.. unless they see that those trees can feed them, or generate income or in some way give more tangible benefits. (Hard to "see" climatic changes and soil improvements on an empty stomach!)

What grows here and survives the droughts... weeds mostly. Blackjack, Mexican sunflowers, wild dagga. spiderwort. The weeds can be useful, if folks could rap their heads around them, particularly as feeds for their domestic animals. Goats love mexican sunflower, rabbits eat blackjack and wild dagga, and pigs love spiderwort. Fear of snakes has folks slashing down even the weeds. I'd really like to propigate more edibles - which do grow and thrive here if you can get them established: jackfruit, guavas, avocados, mangoes, oranges, pears - on the coast there are coconuts and cashews, and some other local indigenous fruit trees I can't remember at the moment. Also edible shrubs and vines... passion fruits, pineapples, etc. Many of these edibles grow wild here and are over-looked by the locals. Guavas for example, grow wild in abundance (where they haven't been clear cut - mostly along roadsides) and are left for school kids to pick over. I was sending my kids with buckets to pick the windfall guavas to feed the pig.. for free. There are cactus varieties here, but I don't know much about them - if they are edible or not. Also sisal grows here - another good useful growing thing.

Interestingly in their new constitution there is supposed to be some provision written in that all land-owners are required to convert at least 10% of their land into forest. Its highly unlikely it will ever be enforced, but it was a nice idea.

I do like the idea of fencing off a 5X5 area and starting there intensely. Our land is private, but we still have a problem with people (mostly inlaws and varying relations) grazing their animals there. Since we haven't plowed and cultivated maize or sugarcane it appears to them we are "not using it". I always tell my husband that "good fences make good neighbors!" I have also been toying with the idea of a managed firewood lot. Firewood can be a renewable resource if its managed correctly. The problem is patience - how many locals are willing to wait 5 years for their first crop to mature? - and management - actually replanting as you harvest.



Thanks for the ideas... I'll keep trying.

Maureen Atsali
Kenya
 
Lucia Moreno
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Konstantinos,

wonderful videos! Congratulations on such a wonderful success this far.

I see that the ground in the videso is very rocky. How deep do you thing the soil is? Are the big rocks I see mother rock that surfaces?

Parts of my land have emerging mother rock and I wonder if this system could work for areas with little soil on top of mother rock. Will the almond roots break up mother rock?

Cheers,
Lucía
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Hello Lucia,

Almond trees are great at going through rocks and tough soil - in my farm I have a subsoil which is like concrete - its not a typical rock, its solid white, and its nearly impossible to dig through it - almonds go right through it - so do olive trees, apricot and pomegranate trees.

I am hoping that the closely spaced almond trees will create new top soil and provide ground cover/shade - we will see how it works out.

I am told that the almond trees can survive a fire - they will re sprout if the tree has burned - does anyone know for sure? I know olive trees do that.

Kostas
 
Lucia Moreno
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Thank you, Konstantinos, this is great news. My strategy for building soil will be based, then, in almond trees and broom to colonize thin soils with shallow mother rock and offer some windbreak.

As for almond tree's ability to sprout after a fire, I've never heard of it. I hope somebody will have better news.

Cheers,
Lucía
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Good luck Lucia - I am sure it will go well.

Test also other seeds - its good to have at least 5 or 10 different types.

Keep us posted

Kostas
 
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Sheri Menelli wrote:Hi,

I haven't planted Palo verde from seed - just was given one from a friend. The Guaje (Leucaena leucocephala) seeds are growing well in a small pot. I need to transplant them soon to a larger pot or into the ground. I had to scarify it for them to grow.

I had tried Tipuana Tipu and got a few seedlings to grow last year but planted them when they were too small and they were eaten

Have you tried Pinto Peanut? I read a very interesting article on it from Nutri-tech Solutions in Australia

2. If you are an orchardist, dairy farmer or viticulturist and you live in a frost-free zone, you need to know about Pinto Peanut. This is a truly amazing cover crop. It produces a dense, yellow-flowered ground cover that only grows a few inches tall. It easily outcompetes weeds and requires no maintenance. Research at the Alstonville Tropical Fruit Research centre in Northern NSW several years back showed that there is no competition with the tree crop for moisture. Like all legumes, the Pinto Peanut delivers a significant supply of nitrogen, calcium and phosphorus, but this legume is unique in that it also delivers potassium. It appears that the deep-rooted legume mines potassium and delivers it to the feeder roots of the tree (in the top six inches). This was not just a token supply. One of the soils tested revealed a threefold increase in potassium just two years after the legume had been introduced. Potassium is the most expensive major mineral, so this is a huge cost-saving benefit. The legume is grown from seed, but once you have it established you just take cuttings and root them in a bucket to spread this little beauty everywhere (and believe me you will want to do this). During a seminar tour of Hawaii, I visited an iconic, mixed-species orchard where the botanist in control had Pinto Peanut on every available square metre of land. He even had several buckets full of cuttings rooting in water so he could replace his front lawn with this beautiful ground cover.



Hi Sheri,

I can't seem to find the original article or data anywhere on the internet, do you have a link? (The only article from Alstonville on pinto peanut I can find is this one about decreased yields in bananas - http://www.publish.csiro.au/paper/EA9941197.htm )

Thanks for your help!

David
 
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I love this idea! Thank you for your work Kostas. I live in a climate very similar to yours. The Blue Oak which was spoken of, we have a blue oak species here which grows in the driest place of all our native oak species (we have many native oak species in California). Not only this, but this oak produces the acorn with the least amount of tannins of all native oaks. This tree (Quercus douglassii) often grows with the gray pine (Pinus sabiniana) which is a short, scraggly pine which grows in very hot, dry, rocky, steep places, and produces a "nut" which is edible and attracts wildlife. As previously stated, another native genus which does very well here despite the 4-6 month Summer drought is ceanothus (California lilac), which is not a legume but it does fix nitrogen, makes beautiful and fragrant flowers and attracts wildlife, it is a bush or creeping shrub.

Some friends and I are trying to restore over-grazed, eroded slopes atop a big hill in Sonoma County, California. We have begun digging contour trenches and filling them with free organic material. We plan to sow it all over with barley, white clover, strawberry clover, alfalfa, daikon radish—we will make it all into seedballs, which we have been experimenting with, and cover it all with a thick mulch of straw. Our Winter rains give us some 20-30 inches of rain, with zero rain during the Summer months. However, during the wet season of 2014 we got only 2 inches the drought lasted for years. Luckily this year we have had a lot more than that, but still thew effects of the previous years are beginning to really weigh on the shoulders of the millions of people who live here. Once the soil is a built a bit we will plant fruit trees such as fig, pomegranate, mulberry, jujube, carob, apple, plum, apricot, pear, peach, almond, pistachio, walnut, pecan. We live in a major agricultural area, but it is ALL winegrapes, it is depressing. The land we have is on the summit of a mountain, surrounded by oak forest and douglas fir forest. The land which is not forested is degraded due to overgrazing and fire. This is land we wish to restore and turn into food forest with a medicinal herb/vege and berry understory.

My friend's grandfather planted ~400 olive trees here within the past decade, not from seed, and he is tending them conventionally, watering them abundantly. My friend and I have warned him against his conventional way, but we are happy with the orchard otherwise.

My question is this: why not annuals? Our climate tends to do well with annuals. Kostas, you are very familiar with Fukuokasan's work I believe—I have tried his grain cropping system here in California without irrigation. At the end of the dry season, in late September, sow seedballs of barley and clover, and cover them with a thick mulch of rice straw. The barley needs very little rain to thrive, and it will nurse the clover. Strawberry clover is said to tolerate the heat and drought of our Summers, living all the way through the dry season and managing to become perennial. This sounds amazing; I have not seen it myself yet, but I have planted a ton of it and it has sprouted. Fukuoka said that once you plant clovers, cereals, vegetables, and the soil is being built, then it can hold more water and then you can pant fruit trees, by seeds or otherwise. Tell me what you think of this idea please.

Otherwise, I love your ideas!!! Please keep it up. I would love to become the man who planted trees....just gota figure things out a bit first i suppose.

Caleb
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Hello Caleb,

You are on the right track and on a good journey, which I am sure you and your friends will enjoy - good luck - please share your experiences and results.

Fukuoka-San was a brilliant man - in the same league as Einstein and Socrates. His recommendations for improving the soil are right on target.
I have been using perennials to improve the soil at my farm - some annuals that self seed have been very helpful.

For reforestation purposes as mentioned in this thread we have been trying trees that survive from seed without watering, to develop ground cover, to improve the soil and to lower the ground temperature.
The plan is to scatter seed balls in between the young trees, once we have some shade.


You bring up an interesting point, which is why not include seeds of annuals and perennials along with the tree seeds in the clay cubes, or direct seeding.
It's something that needs to be examined and discussed.

California needs to plant millions/billions of trees - Masanobu used to say that rain does not fall on areas with bare soil - trees are needed for the rains to come - hopefully your drought will end soon and that a tree planting program will be undertaken.

Kostas
 
Maureen Atsali
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The rains are late here in Kenya... folks are starting to panic. If they fail completely, there will be a food crisis... again. Wish they would read/hear/absorb the fact that when there are no trees, there is no rain!
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Hey Maureen,

We need to be positive - the rains will come !!!

We also need to take steps.

Identifying which trees/shrubs/plants grow in our areas from seed, without assistance will help in the future reforestation efforts.
To identify the trees/shrubs/plants is a time consuming effort, that may take a few years to get results. It's something you can do in your area.

Some of the results we have in this thread can be tried in other areas to see how they do - they may not work, but then again

This is what I like about what we are doing here - we do not need to wait for a government agency or some big organization to do things.

Good luck - keep us posted.

Kostas
 
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Konstantinos, I have a devastated almond orchard in Mallorca...we are in the process of removing 500 almond trees (very old and diseased, we pruned them heavily last year with a hope of some regrowth but alas, no regrowth!) and I was already worried about how will I find money, time and labor to do this! I planted about 10 seedlings this January, along with some carob seedlings that germinated naturally in the property (great trees for the region with an additional benefit of nitrogen fixing, good looking evergreen trees too!). I was thinking about adding hazelnuts for their quick growth but not sure if they would survive the summer - any experience with them? Will now definitely add apricots. I threw in some flax, sesame and borage seeds to cover the soil - but weeds seem to be stronger. Will definitely put your method to work this autumn. Cheers!
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Hello Maru,

Sorry to hear about the old almond trees - did they die from old age or a drought?
Were they watered regularly in their lifetime?
Any idea how old they are?
Did the land in between them get plowed each year?

All of the seeds we tried here may work for you - almonds, apricots, wild pear, apples, cactus pears, laburnum etc. you should also look around you to see what likes to grow wild and see if you can use it.

Good luck

Kostas
 
Maru Malwe
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I do not know how old they are but think at least 35 - 40 years, they are clearly affected by some virus (a neighbour told me a name of it in Catalan that I do not speak - so no help). And your instinct is right, the trees were planted 20 meters apart and grains were grown between the rows, so deeply ploughed at least twice or three times a year. I know, however, it is not the dought that´s affecting the trees, depsite the fact that we got no rain for 8 months last year. Couple of young almonds that seeded themselves naturally ae completely unaffected and covered in flowers. Amazing, really.
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Interesting !!!

Let us know how things will progress for you and your land - let us know how we can help.

It will be interesting to see if you can convert this land into a food forest heaven, with plenty of fruits and vegetables and cool shade in the summer time.

Kostas
 
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Haven't read the full thread so excuse me if I am repeating, but one thing to also consider about Greece... Where my family comes from in the Ionian islands, on the islands of kefalonia and Zakinthos, but particularly in Kefalonia, as well as many other islands and the mainland, goats are left to run wild, destroying everything in their path. There has been a long history of this and they have literally eaten the country to nothing. So this tends to be a great challenge to reforestation projects in many places. What you have accomplished sound's amazing and I hope to visit and see what you have accomplished in person. Thanks for all the hard work!
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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You are absolutely right about overgrazing Gerasimos - something needs to be done - there is a book on history of forests by R Sands - Forestry in a Global Context.

https://books.google.gr/books?id=SqMKAwAAQBAJ&pg=PR5&dq=R.+Sands+Forestry&hl=en&sa=X&ei=4YbEVNKPNJfvaKSVgIgB&ved=0CCAQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=R.%20Sands%20Forestry&f=false

I read portions of it on Google books - I ordered it from Amazon and it got never got here (it may still show up). In any case he describes how the ancients forests in the Mediterranean region were destroyed overtime - for building ships and roofs, for firewood, by fire, and overgrazing.

Goats grazing year round on limited space, strip the land of all vegetation - they turn it into a desert - the people that own the goats are not making much of a living because the land cannot support their animals, and the land does not get a chance to recover.

If these areas are planted and allowed to recover for 20 - 30 years, then maybe the goats can be allowed to reenter the area and graze underneath the grown trees.

We need to have large pieces of land that are protected from grazing so we can reforest them. The local communities and authorities need to step up and do their part to contain grazing.

Kostas
 
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forest garden greening the desert trees
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Hi Konstantino,

First thanks and congrats on the job you are doing, and also for sharing this info and encouraging others who have also posted useful info.
I have about 4 hectares on the island of Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain. My land is rocky, steep and dry with no buildings, elec, water and difficult to get to. Most of the work I have done so far has been to the access road enabling me to get there in a raised 4x4. I've done some experimentation with rainwater collection and planting of trees, but haven't rolled out any planting in earnest as my time is definitely best spent improving the access at the moment.

Cactus pears grow well, tho are pretty nasty to handle, but great for fencing.
I have grown bamboo and gliricidia sepium with success. The G Sep is drought resistant, tho still needs some watering, nitrogen fixing and fast growing. It grows well from seeds or cuttings so long as temps are above 20-25C at time of propagation/germination. I've also grown hybrid poplars which need watering too but not as much as you'd expect. I'm almost ready to take what I've learnt and start planting on a bigger scale, and will definitely try some almonds too thanks to your suggestion.

I thought rabbits were eating some of my seedlings, so I put mesh around them and they still got eaten. Eventually I found out it was lizards eating stuff, so now I put a plastic bottle with bottom and lid removed around stuff as it sprouts and that works well, it also conserves water as condensation collects inside the bottle and runs back down to the ground.

We have so much unused land here it is criminal, people just think of it as desert and import most of what they need, then when it rains they let all the water run into the sea. There is some heavily subsidised agriculture which is aimed more at keeping money flowing to landowners regardless of how productive they are. They use a lot of diesel and manpower and chemicals to modify the land to try to grow things that don't grow easily. I much prefer your approach of identifying what will grow with what we've got, and benefit the land at the same time.

Hope to contribute more in the coming months. Great thread and idea you have here.

Steve
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Thanks for the kind words Steve - it is a group effort.

I hope you try some of these seeds out, and let us know how it goes - it looks like a tough environment (challenging).

This forum is great - it allows us to exchange ideas and share information.

We got to find ways to reforest that are more effective and less expensive than the conventional tree planting mono culture currently in place.

Kostas
 
Steve Farmer
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forest garden greening the desert trees
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Kosta, you've inspired me to do a little more research, and some seed ordering.

I've been googling for info on trees with some or all of the following characteristics

- deep tap roots
- nitrogen fixing
- drought resistant
- native to areas with similar climate to my own area
- fast growing

General reading has suggested a couple of things

- a mix of several/many different types of plants is beneficial
- trees grown from cuttings are far inferior in tap root growth and therefore drought resistance than trees grown from seed

So I've chosen to plant the following 6 types of trees very soon. All seeds are now ordered or already in my possession.

- mesquite
- leucaena leucocephala
- gliricidia sepium (I have some experience with these)
- acacia polyacantha
- desert willow
- hybrid poplar (despite what I said about cuttings vs seeds, these are from cuttings as I already have several of these trees, including some grown from my own cuttings)

Sorry for the mix of common names and latin names, that's just a result of my ignorance.

I can see how your approach of throwing down seeds witth no further care is the best way to achieve your particular desired results. For me I want to start with a small patch on my own land and then ramp up as my knowledge grows. So I am going to start all my trees off in containers at home and then move them to my land once they are a few inches high. This is basically to save time of frequent 1hr+ round trips to provide daily water in early days, and to better protect the young plants from lizards etc. The poplar cuttings are already in, all the other seeds will be arriving over the next week or two.

Now I'm going to do some more research and ordering for another 6 types of tree

- sweet almond
- apricot
- eucalyptus
- wild fig (I've read the world record holder for longest tap root at 120 metres is a wild fig tree, so couldn't miss this one off my list)
- texas umbrella tree
- Boscia albitrunca


In addition to the trees, I will be planting prickly pears (cactus pears as you call them) and blackberries, as I have these already growing in my garden successfully with low/no irrigation and I need thorny stuff for my boundary. And I love eating blackberries. I will try to ID and research some of the native growing plants, and see if these are something I should be propagating further.



 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Hey Steve - good luck with your trial - I hope they all do well !!!

Keep us posted - when is your seed planting month ? Here we put tree seeds in the ground around December plus or minus a month, and they begin to sprout about now - are you on the same month schedule?

Xisca Nicolas pointed out in this thread that with cactus pears, all you have to do is -just throw them on the ground - and they will drop roots - no need to dig. She is right - I tried it and it works - it makes "planting" much easier.

It's interesting that you mentioned tap roots - yesterday I transplanted about 50 apple trees seedlings - they were from last year's experiment with apple tree seeds, which was very successful - almost all of the apple seeds had sprouted and survived the summer without watering. In transplanting these year old trees, I found that they have "deep roots" - the young tree is only 3-5 cm tall, but its roots are at least 15 cm and probably a lot deeper.

Have you tried to grow fig trees from seed ? how did that go? We may also try wild mulberry tree to see how it goes.

Each one of us around the world should try different trees/seeds - each place is unique and its piece of land will have its own preference as far as to what likes to grow there.

For example in southern Greece at 1000 meter elevations - apricot trees love to grow there - almost 100 percent success - so far at least - we need to look at 10 year periods of trial and error before any solid conclusions can be reached.

I am hoping that for every place on earth that there are at least 10 types of trees or shrubs and like to grow there so they can give us ground cover - ground cover, lower ground temperature and the creation of new soil are the objectives. If that's accomplished then the land will give us plenty of food and water.

These are the principles of the great, Masanobu Fukuoka-San - serve the land and in due time the land will provide. Become the servant of the land - not its master.

Kostas

 
gerasimos christoforatos
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You guys would like this video:


http://www.theplaidzebra.com/this-man-singlehandedly-planted-a-tropical-forest-larger-than-central-park/

North eastern India, this man has been planting trees since 1979. Amazing individual.
In 2009 local photographer and journalist, Jitu Kalita, discovered a dense forest at the centre of Majuli Island’s barren western shores. As Kalita explored the shoreline, he was nearly attacked by a man who had mistaken him for a poacher.
After learning that he was a photographer, the man apologized to Kalita explaining his personal investment in the forest—namely, 30-plus years of singlehandedly planting each and every tree in the 1,300 acres of pristine tropic woodland. The man’s name was Jadav Payeng.
Payeng—who lives in a small hut in a nearby forest with his wife and three kids—began planting the forest in 1979 at the age of 16. Over the years, the North-East Indian forest has become home to 115 elephants, 100 deer, numerous rhinos, Bengal tigers, apes, rabbits and vultures.
Payeng first became interested in planting the forest after noticing the effects of desertification on the island’s wildlife.
According to the Water Resources Management journal, “An estimated 175 Mha [million hectares] of land in India, constituting about 53 per cent of the total geographical area (329 Mha), suffers from deleterious effects of soil erosion…”
2__man planted a tropical forest
Majuli Island sits in the body of the Brahmaputra River and is home to about 150,000 people. Every year, monsoon season brings the water level over the walls of the island, eroding the shores and encroaching upon the shrinking landmass. After the flood, the heat dries up the land, making it brittle and susceptible to further erosion—thus the cycle begins again. Since 1917, Majuli Island has shrunk to less than half of its original size.
Payeng and local government have tried numerous times to get the forest listed as a UNESCO world heritage site to no avail.
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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An amazing story indeed !!!

Kostas
 
Steve Farmer
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In Tenerife we don't have a seed planting month. Lowest winter night time temps are 8C in a cold year in Jan or Feb. Some seeds need 20-25C+ to germinate which can happen in any month but certainly April - Dec will all see 25C+ days. Rains come usually in 1 - 4 downpours per year between Nov & April. So anything planted now might need a hand with some water over the summer to get established. There are a couple of fig trees in the garden that were planted before we lived here, I'll try to find out something about how and when they were planted. I've got lots of prickly pears in my garden at home, there are plenty that are shooting up just one leaf or two near larger bushes, I guess they are propagating form the roots of the mother plant. My plan is to dig these small plants up including some root section and move them to my piece of land.
 
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