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Ichabod Shorthouse
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Driving though Texas to Terlingua and back to Florida I had a chance to take a good hard look at the desert soils. Not easy stuff to try and change the soil or to wrestle with sun, wind, rain, relief.

You can make it produce by using tried and true methods including mulching compost extra stored water and so on but on a large scale it is daunting. every thing is an uphill battle literally. If the idea is food production in the form of annual vegies like tomatoes and such it may be your only option . If however it is to grow some hardy trees protect your property from erosion provide some shade and added beauty, changing the soil might not be needed.The soils on most of the hills from and a good part of the basins are similar from El Paso To San Antonio.

If oaks, pines and junipers can grow on the same soil with only a slight amount of moisture difference and the same soil (rock) then to keep small amounts of added moisture to the soil should be my attempt.or at least stopping it from going away down hill. What the could be a primarilly hands off low labor effort to esablish some of these trees on my site? Small swales, may not do it as the evaporation defeats this type of attempts it seems. Bored holes and small swales? One single water trench at the top of the relief? Dunno


Any ideas
 
Tom Davis
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do you have any pictures of your place?

rock piles will pull some moisture out of the air too.
here are some pics i took in Hawaii of a place that was basically a natural asphalt parking lot. I saw a shady rocky area that was full of plants on an otherwise arid landscape (granted the air in HI is much more moist than Terlingua, but it may have some application for you). It was dripping water from the top onto the rocks b/c the temperature in the shade was sooo much lower than the surface rocks.
The pics, of course don't really show how verdant it was in this spot. It was basically an upheave, shaped like a bridge and the wind passed though it and condensate formed when the air cooled.

And let me tell you, I have lived in desert b/4, they day we were walking was abou 85-90 F in the sun, and my mouth was dry b/c the air was so arid.

You've seen geoff lawton's work in Jordan "Greening the desert"?

What about John Lui? He has done awesome work on super degraded land in China. Some of the oldest, annual agriculture land on the planet, so you know it's lifeless.

What about Palo Verde trees? Mesquite?
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Ichabod Shorthouse
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http://www.permies.com/t/5982/desert/desert-permaculture-design

Here is a link to a similar post a couple of years ago. I have amended my thoughts to even smaller scale seeing the dry time of year. The pitch oth the hills is not shown real well meaning it is pretty steep and water runs quickly. The pictures look like some flat spots but they are cut deeply with dry washes. the soil is very rocky and shallow in most places and is essentially degraded volcanic stone. In other places it is bedrock still growing grasses and other plants.

What I was thinking is some trees. They are growing on solid rock just a few miles away maybe a slight more rain but still dry and rocky so I should be able to get them but can I with minimal work.

The humidity is nill. It is dry and sucks the water out of everything. shady spots in the morning may have a slight more but i dont think much more. There are deep canyons with a couple trees not the ones i'm wanting/...mesquite little sumac a acacia or two very zeric and dry species.

I'm not going to move mountains for this one, I have a twenty acre plot a few miles away real rocky but has about ten acres of flat to work with. But this one I would like tpo see some trees is all. Probably will build a house or cabin up here on this lot in the mountains maybe for hunting or a retreat but it isn't suitable to farm



I am familiar with their works. Lawton was working with soil on bottom land. terracing would work but that is moving mountains. Daming the creeks would still but the water quite a distance from where I would want the progress and cut down on the game trails which are the creek beds they are quite steep also which puts the 40 or so feet below me dunno if the water would help perculate up rock tahat far
 
Tom Davis
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10" of rain a year. Tucson gets about 12" and has palo verde and mesquite all over the place. Your desert doesn't look much different. I was imagining all rock.
Have you calculated how many gallons of water will fall on the size of your spot?
have you marked out your contours?
I would do some swales, rock piles and infiltration basins.
what have you tried?
http://www.drylandsolutions.com/Erosion_Control_Field_Guide.pdf
great resource.
good luck, and have fun.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://stoves2.com
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