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Low Desert Arizona Projects  RSS feed

 
Kathy Burns-Millyard
Posts: 75
Location: Arizona low desert
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I'm going to try and follow the excellent lead of others here. It may be slow going because I use a cell phone for internet access and high heat limits my electronic usage at times.

This picture is of my first rain garden. I dug this down roughly 10 inches and it is watered by runoff and rainfall only. We get about 10 inches of rainfall each year so most of my projects are focused on water harvesting so far.

(grrr. Just remembered I can't attach pics on the mobile site. I'll add that in a few...)

 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9740
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Can you describe more what we're seeing in the pic, what plants you're growing, how they're doing, etc? Thanks!

 
Kathy Burns-Millyard
Posts: 75
Location: Arizona low desert
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Good point Tyler, the cell phone pics are low quality. This area is surrounded by native "weeds". Some is Amaranth, some I think is purselane. Small creosote bushes on the left and right.

Corn and pole beans are scattered throughout the bed. The corn is close to 3 feet high but the beans are still small compared to others I have growing in the shelter of dead shrubs. Several of the corn were knocked over by wind but the roots held and they still look healthy so I stood them up last night.

This bed also had a scattering of lettuce, turnip, onions and misc other stuff I can't quite remember.
 
Kathy Burns-Millyard
Posts: 75
Location: Arizona low desert
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Forgot the poppies! The orange flowers in the back is a mass of arizona poppies growing around a small swale at the back of the garden in the above picture.
 
Kathy Burns-Millyard
Posts: 75
Location: Arizona low desert
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Last year I tried to fence a small garden area with pallets. It didn't keep out the ground squirrels and proved difficult for me to access

 
Kathy Burns-Millyard
Posts: 75
Location: Arizona low desert
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This one may be too small. An acacia willow and other greenery are now in the yard area where the pallet garden was.

Poppy, struggling sugar melon and various wild grasses are in this area. Recently planted corn for attempted shade, along with buckwheat, mint, tomatoes, spaghetti squash, desert willow and strawberry seeds. This area does not get much water runoff
 
Kathy Burns-Millyard
Posts: 75
Location: Arizona low desert
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Better picture hopefully...
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9740
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Virtually everything I had growing in an exposed area died in last year's drought (we're still in drought here, just not quite as bad) and things are doing much better in my other garden surrounded by trees, so more of those acacias are probably a good idea in your locale!
 
Kathy Burns-Millyard
Posts: 75
Location: Arizona low desert
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This is the first rain garden on july 14. Just after I finished digging it. I'm amazed by how much water it catches even from a tiny sprinkle of rain.

Tyler you're right. Trees are critical out here and have become one of my biggest priorities.
 
Morgan Morrigan
Posts: 1400
Location: Verde Valley, AZ.
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are you burying wood beneath your new planting beds to store water, and hold long term nutrients?

if so, bury down some of the 2ft chickenwire then also.

those groundchucks will come for it, and will give you something to attach the upper fence to when you have to add the javelina fence. they can easily dig down a foot in less than 2 minutes.
if you also back it on the outside with some heavy plastic, you can plant the paths with mint or fuzzy thyme. both will keep ground hogs and rock squirrels from tunneling into your fab dirt in the future.
both can handle pretty heavy drought too.

 
Kathy Burns-Millyard
Posts: 75
Location: Arizona low desert
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I have very little wood to work with unfortunately. Just small twigs and branches from young creosote and mesquite. I'm leaving the dead ones standing to provide shelter for the new stuff until it gets established.

I've also taken a break from fencing attempts for now. I don't have the funds for much and everything is breached by one thing or another. Javelina and jack rabbits knock it down, bunnies jump, ground squirrels climb, quail slip right in. I don't like bird netting because it kills the lizards. So I'm trying the decoy approach. Hoping that with enough natives all over, they'll all have a harder time finding my stuff

I am spreading mint and other misc things for the ground cover, pest benefits and drought tolerance.
 
Angie Delaney
Posts: 11
Location: Tangiteroria, North Island, New Zealand
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Wow that's some tough conditions you are working with there! NZ simply has nothing to compare with that. I applaud your efforts, well done.
 
Kathy Burns-Millyard
Posts: 75
Location: Arizona low desert
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Thanks Angie It is a challenge but there are worse places. In far west Arizona they only get 3 inches of rain a year! This place is cheap, remote and private, but still close enough to family. Plus I can grow things practically year round
 
Morgan Morrigan
Posts: 1400
Location: Verde Valley, AZ.
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Best bet is to find someone who pours sidewalks or driveways, and have em come and trench down, then pour up a "curb". there is a specialty machine for that for landscapers that do it in 1 pass.

Then put up at least a 4ft chainlink on the inside, and fasten the bottom of fencing to the curb with hard fastners. Will keep the javalinas and bunnies out. Not the mule deer, but they will go for the trees first anyway.

Wont stop the raccoons or ringtail cats, but looks like your on the N. side of the Catalinas , and not many out there.

Yup, expensive, or hard work, but if you want to eat the stuff you grow, your gonna have to do it.
Keep your eyes open for a solar electric fence charger too. THAT will keep the raccoons out!
 
Kathy Burns-Millyard
Posts: 75
Location: Arizona low desert
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Thank you, those are great suggestions for when I'm ready for larger projects For now I'm breaking up hard packed dirt, slowing and sinking water when we get it, scattering seeds, watching, and learning. My budget is $40/mo until we get a well, then I can start expanding.

We're south of the catalinas and west of the tucson mountains.
 
Kathy Burns-Millyard
Posts: 75
Location: Arizona low desert
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I'm not sure where else on the board this might go so I'm adding it here. A comparison of two corn stalks. Both sprouted about the same time.

These pictures were taken a little after 5pm yesterday. It was 105 for the high. The last 3-5 days have floated around 105-109. We've had possibly 1/8 inch of rain in the last 3 weeks and these get no supplemental water.

The first is in great shape. It's planted in the first rain garden pictured in previous areas is this thread. It's in full sun and has a small pile of wood shavings around the base.

The stressed one is in a filtered shade area of dead bushes. It has no wood shavings but a living mulch of sorts. The covering is sparse.

So is the first one sheltered from the heat more due to being in a basin? Even though it gets the full force of the sun? Do the wood shavings make the difference?

Interesting to say the least
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9740
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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I'm guessing the one in the basin is doing better due to more water/ less competition for water. Corn is generally ok with intense sun but likes lots of water.

 
Kathy Burns-Millyard
Posts: 75
Location: Arizona low desert
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You're probably right Tyler, this area collects water well. I'm hoping it can collect enough to sustain the plants for the entire season. I have another basin on the other side of the driveway with corn and squash about an inch tall right now.

The pumpkin and beans are another story.

Despite being in a basin, the pumpkin cant handle temps above 100. The parts of the vines that are under bushes however, seem to be hanging in there but they prefer extra water.

The pole beans can't seem to survive at all without protection. With a little shade though, they're doing fine even though they're not in a basin and not getting extra water.

I'm definitely learning tons by trying stuff in. different areas
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9740
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Here in my region it's almost impossible to start new plants now (at least for me and my brown thumb), I consider this time of year to be analogous to "the dead of winter." It's "the dead of summer" because baby plants get killed. So if you're able to start anything you're better off than I am!
 
Kathy Burns-Millyard
Posts: 75
Location: Arizona low desert
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Yes we have two summer seasons: Feb/March and July/Aug start dates. Have to admit that is nice
 
Devon Olsen
Posts: 1066
Location: SE Wyoming -zone 4
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gonna have to keep an eye on progress, AZ seems to be a nice state as far as politics go so its either that or CO thats to eventually be my place of residence... unless another state pulls its shit together and does more than AZ is right now to push the federal government back into its proper boundaries

i like the idea of the western AZ cus its closer to my family in NV and southern UT. the trick is finding a place with decent rainfall and no building codes to speak of... dont like someone telling me i have to build my home a certain way
 
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