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dry subtropical Mediterranean climate: Who has one?

 
pollinator
Posts: 1822
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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Hi guys!
I thought that would be awesome to compare my place (and what grows here) with some other permies.

I am sure many people have a very similar climate, but still with some differences!
Let's explore the similarities and the differences...
Who will have the closest climate to mine?

And that would be soooooo exciting to compare what we can grow and what thrives, and what we have chosen to plant...

-------------------------------------

I guess that:
- the most similar climates to mine will have some occasional light frosts and hotter usual summer temps...
- and others will be close but with summer rain!

Let's see!

------------------------------------

My latitude is aprox 28° (north, but sure south would be similar!)
I am at 500m above sea level.
All this is for the theory, because these are not climate details.

I am roughly in a dry subtropical area.
I can also say it is "Mediterranean" = winter rain.
But I have no summer rain storm at all, and no frost at all.

There is usually not a single drop of rain for 5-6 months.
I have no idea of the rainfall, it might be 350-400mm...
We can have an occasional strong wind-storm, usually in winter, especially november december.

I do not have usual dry places' temperatures just because my climate is also "oceanic".
My mini temp is 8-10°C = 48-50°F
I usually have 18°-28°C along the day = 62-81°F, in summer.

But it can also be 24°C in the morning and up to 45°C during the day!
(68°F and 107°F) this comes from the Sahara influence.
This can be once a week in summer, or less, or more, and last from 1 to 3 days...
It happens less often in winter (but is then welcome!)
I think this characteristic is the most specific to our climate.
There might be somebody who will prove me something else!

-----------------------------------

I am lower than the natural range of the tagasaste, though I have some.
My main natural trees around are almonds and figs, also some pines.
Opuntia grow super!

 
Posts: 488
Location: Foothills north of L.A., zone 9ish mediterranean
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We are probably not too different from you. Bit hotter in summer and colder in winter. We get a few light frosts per year. Rainfall looks pretty similar. We are at 300 meters.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1497
Location: northern California
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Similar to the above poster, but we do have a few frosts in the -7 to -9C range. Olives and almonds and figs thrive, but it is marginal for citrus (meyer lemon, kumquat, and mandarin can usually survive but not the others). We are just now coming out of a week or so of highs of 40-43 C!! Highs of 35-37C are common for weeks on end. But the winter rain (50-60 cm. per year) is enough to support a native woodland of blue oaks....which give me abundant acorns...different trees in different years, that I am learning to incorporate into my diet.
Got 3 tagasaste planted...they seem happy; along with locust(Robinia), Acacia decurrens, dealbata, and karroo, Albizia julibrissin, Casuarina cunninghamiana, and Grevillea robusta (all these are nurse/shade/coppice trees), and for edibles chestnuts, pistachios, almond, pomegranate, fig, olive, kumquat, meyer lemon, satsuma mandarin, Pink Lady and Gala apple, Bartlett pear, Methley plum, apricots, nectarine, Oriental persimmon, jujube, grapes (fresh, wine, and raisin varieties), blackberry, blueberry, goji, artichoke, asparagus, and an assortment of annual vegetables and herbs. I'm excited by the drought and heat tolerance of a few vegetables native to the Southwest....the tepary bean, and the Hopi blue squash. There are some big Mediterranean stone pines bearing (though it's hard to beat the squirrels and birds to them....the cones form way over my head), and there is a native nut pine (the gray pine, P.sabiniana) in the area.
Opuntia cactus isn't real common, but it does occur, as do the large Agaves. Both are good firebreaks....fire prevention is a big issue in design here.
 
pollinator
Posts: 356
Location: Portugal (zone 9) and Iceland (zone 5)
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Hi Xisca,

I also come from a Mediterranean climate (from Portugal), and although I live in Iceland now, I was doing growing some food when I was living back in Portugal. And I know for many friends, what can be grown.

Basically, we have a zone 9 climate, winters are mild and rainy (sometimes heavy rain), and ocasionally with minor frosts (usually down only to -1°C by the coastal areas, but it can be down to -8°C in the mountains in the interior). Snow is uncommon and usually temperatures are around 5-15°C. The south coast of Portugal is even milder, it almost never has frosts and is a zone 10. Summers are very hot and sometimes with long droughts.

In the north climate has more rain, it is a transition between the Mediterranean and the temperature region. Forests are more compact and green and usually pine, eucalyptus, mimosa and acacia (invasive species), and fruit trees like orange and grapevines. Inland there is less vegetation, and there are more chestnuts, almonds, figs and oaks. In the center, the forests are less widespread, has a lot of olive trees, figs, oaks and also pine, eucalyptus and acacia. The south has a savana like landscape (mostly dry grassland with a few cork oak, holm oak and carob). In the south coast, by the sea, you can find widespread palms and more subtropical vegetation (it has more moisture due to being next to the sea, but never frosts). The south can be very dry (like the Canary Islands) and you can easily find Opuntia and other desert species. Almost everywhere in Portugal (except inland in the north), bananas can be grow, although fruit does not grow that much. Probably in the south coast, they have a much better change. We have many doing permaculture across Portugal, so it is easy to know what can be grown.

Another thing, almost everywhere in Portugal, orange and lemon trees can be easily grown and give a big crop. No problem at all with the citrus.

Madeira island has a subtropical climate (no frosts and always nice and mild/warm). There is not very hot weather, and despite being a little bit in the dry side, the island has frequent moisture to keep lush forests. Let´s say it is most often between 15 and 25°C. The Azores have a moist climate but still sunny, and more around 10 to 20°C. In these islands, you can grow bananas, pineapples, cherymoya, strawberry guava, tea and passionfruits. I think that we do not clearly know the potential of these islands, as they have only a small population and I never heard of anyone trying permaculture there.

By the way, the forecast for Portugal for tomorrow, is up to 44°C highs, which is near the historical record of 48°C. But usually the highest summer temperature is around 35°C in the north, 40°C in the south.
 
Posts: 137
Location: Galicia, Spain Zone 9
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We´re hitting 35-40 in Galicia, even on the coast which rarely gets above 30 because of the gulf stream effect.

I think our climate is becoming weird because of cliamte change, this area is normally cool maritime but I think it is becoining like a temperate rainforest-mediterranean climate with heavy, heavy rainfall in winter and then a warm dry period form July to October or so. We just got 1500mm+ of rainfall from November-June and now Im sure it will be dry until october again.

 
Posts: 21
Location: Encinitas, California
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My climate sounds quite similar to yours. I live about 4 miles from the Pacific Ocean at 33° N. I get about 10 inches of rain per year almost exclusively in the winter. We do have a very prominent marine influence including fog. Overcast mornings burning off to clear blue afternoons are common. Our average temperatures are similar although where I am stays slightly cooler and gets a little colder. High temperatures above 95°F are rare, frosts even moreso. The terrain here is full of hills and slopes so microclimates are abundant and vary dramatically. I'm only at maybe 150 feet or so in altitude and fruiting plants that require more than about 200 chill hours are unlikely to flower here. I do work at a botanic garden where we grow plants from similar climates around the world so I always enjoy discussing what grows where with people.
 
Xisca Nicolas
pollinator
Posts: 1822
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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Great!
I found out that I should plant from :
California
South Africa (not all parts, mainly west, as east has summer rains)
West Australia and some parts of soouth
Mid Chile
Morroco and around Mediterranee.

I don't know well their climates, but what grows in Mexico and India seem ok.

I do not want to rush into a delightful discussion there... the question that I imediately had...
Shall we organize discussions about our specific plant choices?
In this topic, I would like to stay at the level of identifying who has this sort of climate, and see how useful this can be for our cultural experiments...

I have already opened a threat about tall canopy for dry climates, in the greening the desert forum.
I hope you have a look and give some more ideas...
"Which tall tres" were for me more difficult to decide, there are much more small tres for our climate.

I almost never have real fog, only some passing like fire smoke! But fog is comon at higher altitudes in the north and east of the island.
There, with the chilling hours, they grow apples, pears, kiwi, walnuts, chesnut...
 
Jonathan 'yukkuri' Kame
Posts: 488
Location: Foothills north of L.A., zone 9ish mediterranean
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Xisca Nicolas wrote:
I almost never have real fog, only some passing like fire smoke! But fog is comon at higher altitudes in the north and east of the island.
There, with the chilling hours, they grow apples, pears, kiwi, walnuts, chesnut...



Don't be afraid of apples. A lot of what was thought to be true about them regarding chill hours simply is not. There are a lot of apple growers in Southern California, I have 2 young trees which are multi-grafted with varieties that do well here (Fuji, Gordon, Beverly Hills, Anna, Golden Dorsett, Pink Lady, Ein Shemer)

Kuffel Creek has an interesting site: http://www.kuffelcreekapplenursery.com
 
Xisca Nicolas
pollinator
Posts: 1822
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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Well, I did not go into details about it, and they just have bigger apple trees and different varieties.
Also they can grow them without watering.
That is the big difference!

Here, for the zone called "de costa", we do mainly Anna, then Dorsett golden (that I learned from Kuffel Creek was the polinator of Anna) and fuji.
My Anna just produce 2 crops per year... There is the last apple to eat now, and it is flowering!
Then the big test, I have to bury half of the trunk and I hope it will root more! (some little roots were anyway showing on the trunk so I let it do!)
 
Alder Burns
pollinator
Posts: 1497
Location: northern California
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I think that India and Mexico are mostly summer-rain climates. Parts of both are quite dry, desert even, but what rain they do get falls in the summer.
That said I have had good luck with some annual vegetables native to the US Southwest which like Mexico gets most of what rain does fall in the summer. The Hopi blue corn (maize), blue squash (a winter squash) and the tepary beans all grow on half the irrigation, or less, than do their counterparts originating in wetter climates.....
 
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Hello,
I just wondered how your Tagasaste is going?
Kym 270 484 6585
korrock@att.net
 
Alder Burns
pollinator
Posts: 1497
Location: northern California
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My tagasaste are pretty much done for.  My healthiest happiest one just suddenly died completely, and the smaller one is struggling.  If I had to suspect a cause I would blame the gophers, which eat the roots of many things and I've learned to plant anything important in a wire basket sunk into the ground, but I did not know this when I set the tagasaste out.  They never seemed to be as vigorous as the literature describes....the biggest one did bloom and set seed but I definitely wouldn't have imagined coppicing it for forage or something like that (which I might consider with things like the locust, Albizia, Acacia, etc.)
 
Kym Orrock
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HI,
Thanks for the response - Scott Bice, - https://redwoodhillfarm.org/the-farm/tagasaste/
Seems to be the only one that has successfully incorporated the Tagasaste into his farm feed supplement program.Sebastopol, CA 95472
He has several years under his belt now. I'm working hard to establish a protocol for Tagasaste on Ranches for Cattle, Sheep & Goats in Texas in Conjunction with the A&M Farm at Prairie View, Tx & others.
 
Xisca Nicolas
pollinator
Posts: 1822
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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Alder Burns wrote:They never seemed to be as vigorous as the literature describes.


Their original range probably is very narrow !
I live in the original place of the tagasaste, but not in its natural habitat if not planted. They thrive just a few kilometers away!

Here at my exact place, I have seen only one that managed to sprout and live on its own in a place without watering. They live in dry places but with winter rain and summer fog. Here people say they like to be trimmed. They are a major food for goats, and guinea pigs eat it too. Some people eat the young leaves.

I have had a nice guild of tagasaste with basella rubra vine, and also air potatoe in it. But the tagasaste just suddenly died. I think from excess water. It was around 5 years old.
 
Xisca Nicolas
pollinator
Posts: 1822
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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Kym Orrock wrote:- https://redwoodhillfarm.org/the-farm/tagasaste/


The seeds were scarified, germinated, and a new era of cultivating our own goat feed began.
We learned the hard way that tagasate hedges do not like “wet feet” and good drainage for the root system is a must.
Also, the second shipment of seed refused to germinate.

How did he scarify? The local way is to toast them in a saucepan! They germinate more after fires...
And as I said, I also learned about the wet feet dislike....
 
Kym Orrock
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Generally just placing the Tagasaste seed in near boiling water, let it cool then soak overnight has worked very well. I will try the saucepan method myself soon. I've got a lot of opportunities happening all of the time here now in many situations. I set about an acre yesterday into a deep ripped furrow in sand, with moisture below, then hand watered. I'll go on & set another acre soon. I have another group planting seeds & seedlings near me as well I'm working with, then I set seed directly into deep ripped furrows in West Texas last week on a Ranch trial.
 
Xisca Nicolas
pollinator
Posts: 1822
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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I will ask some palmero people who have done it so that they can tell me how long they do it. Fires are frequent and stimulate the sprouting, this is a known fact here, so they just reproduce this...
I will also ask if they soak them afterward.
 
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Adelaide, South Australia is similar to your description.

We have no humidity at all, we go months without rain in summer, but have plenty rainfall in winter. We don't get snow but almost down to 0 degrees C on the coldest nights.

Stone fruit trees are common here (peach, apricot etc.) and figs. Basil does well half the year, then in winter it yellows and dies off. Eggplants are hard to grow here because by the time the plants get big enough it starts to get too cold to grow fruit, so you have to time your seed planting at just the right time. Tomatoes grow pretty easily though.
 
Xisca Nicolas
pollinator
Posts: 1822
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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Can you grow tarragon?

Here the air is also humid from sea being close, and your place?
Here we can keep eggplants to next year, and peppers too, just just cut them where they got dry, and they regrow much quicker than restarting from seed.

How much rain do you have in winter? Here it is not plenty because it is not eften a lot at one time!
 
Tim Kivi
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Adelaide's very dry, no humidity at all. We get plenty of rain in winter so it's about impossible to dry your clothes on a clothesline because most days are cold, rainy and cloudy. We still manage to have some tropical flora grow here, but probably slower- mango, lemongrass, avocado, passionfruit, bananas.

Tarragon grow here. I took cuttings months ago and they're very slowly growing roots.

We have a fantastic botanic garden here with a section on medicinal plants and another on culinary plants. As they grow in the open they all grow well in this kind of climate.



 
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Sonoma County, Northern California.  Very Mediterranean.  38 degree N.  75 centimeters (30 in) rain.  No rain May through October.  Temps below 0C for a handful of nights.  Temps up to mid 30s C during summer.  Heavy, heavy clay soils.  A challenge with no moisture for so long.
 
Posts: 17
Location: Algarve, Portugal
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Algarve Portugal, definitely Mediterranean with the dry season usually being anywhere between 5-7 months although last year we barely had any rain in Autumn and the real rain only started end of Februari and lasted longer than usual and we even had a 20mm rainfall event the 30th of June which is very unusual, we did get a almost 400mm so far so well on track to reach our annual average of 500mm. Although I have my doubt that is the real annual average if you only look at the last decade, my guess would be that it is less but I have only started measuring this year and recorded data is very unreliable because the differences from place to place here are huge.

Hottest we get is up to about 47C here but I have to say I'm in a nasty microclimate pocket that is sheltered from the cooler ocean breeze. By a small "mountain" range, I'm at about 150-160m elevation on a South facing slope which cause hot dry winds to sweep my place in summer and also my place can get frosts down to about -8C because of cold air sinking down from higher up the hill which makes growing the more tropical things challenging.

Something that I have identified as absolute champions here are pistachios, guavas in various forms including pineapple guava that isn't really a guava :p (still waiting for the guavas to fruit but growth, frost, heat and drought tolerance is good at least), sorghum and I'm quite pleased with the performance of the nitrogen fixer Desmanthus illinoensis. I have one tagasaste but it isn't growing all that much, Leucaena is a bit hit and miss and it seems that the winter frost knocks some of them back down although the pattern isn't clear and it could be wind as well that does them in.

'Native' stuff that grows here and needs little care if any at all are almonds, figs, olives, carob and strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo).

 
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