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Greening an old gravel pit in the high desert // I am using and also selling waterboxxes!

 
Posts: 3
Location: Taos, NM
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Hi all,  I have been a permies lurker for a very long time and I have learned so much!  I am finally jumping in as I recently became the New Mexico distributor for the Groasis Waterboxx, and I wanted you all here to be aware of that, and also just to connect with this amazing resource of a community.

In March 2021 I planted 4 trees in Waterboxxes.  Unfortunately they all got eaten down to the top of boxes that fall.  They all survived and bounced back during the growing season this year, 2022. We had a horrible past spring here in Taos.  It didn't rain or precipitate for 3 months and the wind was at an all time high.  We have no wind breaks out here, it's just open sagebrush land, and it was brutal.  As hard as it was, I didn't water any of the plants that had been in the Waterboxxes, for research purposes, and they all put on a lot of growth this year!  I got a lot of goji berries off my little 3 year old plant.  

Another tactic I'm using here is to just let everything that wants to grow here, grow (except for Russian thistle tumbleweeds! I do really admire their resiliency though).  This land is in the process of repairing itself, and the more roots we can get in the ground, the better.  Of course, I'm trying to steer the healing a bit in the direction of plants that are useful for me.  Nature knows best!

I had a decent, experimental vegetable growing season this summer.  I did a trial of 7 different kinds of beans, and runner beans came out FAR ahead.  

Thanks so much for letting me advertise to you all on my first post!  For anyone who's interested in purchasing Waterboxxes, my website is: http://www.badlandslab.com
waterboxxyard21.JPG
March 2021
March 2021
wbtimeline5.JPG
October 2022
October 2022
wbtimelinen.JPG
Western Sand Cherry Oct. 22, this plant was in a Waterboxx 3-21 to 3-22, never watered it after that
Western Sand Cherry Oct. 22, this plant was in a Waterboxx 3-21 to 3-22, never watered it after that
 
Posts: 36
Location: phoenix, az
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forest garden trees greening the desert
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You think tumble weeds would be good to keep? They leave their roots and the top section breaks down easily into mulch and compost material. It probably wont last once other plants get established. Stands of it would be a bit much, but its succession.

Have you considered earth banks to break wind

I still haven't tried the grow boxes yet, hopefully soon
 
Jesse Riggs
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Location: Taos, NM
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That's a very good point about the tumbleweeds.  There were so many growing on our 2 acres that there was roughly 1/2 acre area in the back where I just let them grow.  I will use it as an experimental zone to see if more plants begin to get established there!  And last year's tumbleweeds are great for putting around baby plants until they get big enough to become unappatizeing to the wild animals.  Those painful sharp points are good for something.
Tumble mustard grows fairly extensively here as well, which is more than welcome.

Earth banks are a great idea too, thank you!
 
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You can also eat the very young Russian thistle plants before they get too spiny. Look into planting other edible desert “weeds” if you don’t have them already.. lambs quarter (called quelites in Nuevo Mexico), amaranth, and purslane, to name a few. I used to live down south in Socorro County, outside of Magdalena.
 
Jesse Riggs
Posts: 3
Location: Taos, NM
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I had no idea young Russian thistle was edible!  It really is incredible to me how those seeds germinate anytime, anywhere, in the absolute worst conditions.  Definitely encouraging all the quelites and verdologas I can!
 
master pollinator
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Location: Due to winter mortality, I stubbornly state, zone 7a Tennessee
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Here's green dean's article on tumble weed.
 
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