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hi from the California Low Desert  RSS feed

 
Donnalda Smolens
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New here too. I live in the Southern California Low Desert outback. I have been mulching my garden with dry leaves stripped off of my date palms when I prune them. I am having a hard time finding out if these are good or bad for my garden. I don't want to use hay because it is GMO here. So far everything is surviving that has not been eaten by lizards. I had lima beans, green beans and watermelon all germinate in 112 degree weather. I am also planning on doing the hugelkultur thing with tree prunings and palm fronds.
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my tire garden in June
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Leila Rich
steward
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Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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Welcome Donnalda
I'm always impressed by people that garden in climates like yours; it's good to be reminded how easy I've got it sometimes!
I haven't used palm fronds. I don't imagine they're all that nutricious, but they'd certainly protect the soil and it's community from the elements.
 
Jonathan 'yukkuri' Kame
Posts: 488
Location: Foothills north of L.A., zone 9ish mediterranean
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Nothing wrong with palm fronds. My observation is they take an awful long time to break down, even in a humid climate like FL, which is one of the reasons they are used in traditional roofing in the tropics. In the desert, they will take even longer.

Burying them will speed the process along, but, as mentioned above, they are fine as a mulch to keep the ground covered.

 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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Location: Phoenix, AZ (9b)
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Hi Donnalda:

I'm in a similar climate here in Phoenix, AZ.

I admire your use of tires and palm fronds. We get a lot of both here in a desert city. Our city green waste recycling doesn't even accept palm debris - piffle. I do know several folks who use them like shade cloth over the top of their veggie beds in the middle of summer.

As for tires - quite frankly I'm surprised they're working so well for you. I would think that they would heat up pretty severely in the summer being black. Do you water frequently? Do they take more water than other beds? I did use tires one year for potatoes but that didn't work well for me. I found that even with lots of mulch, I was still watering more than in my other, sunken beds.

There is a tire garden here in Phoenix. http://www.communitytiregarden.org/Home.html They seem to have solved some of their problems by painting the tires white to reflect heat/light. However, they are still above ground which I would assume would drain water away from the plants more quickly than in ground beds. From my experience here, my two raised beds (which I keep simply for experimenting and show-and-tell) get drier, faster and the soil compacts more readily as well.

Would love to see your garden progress over time and hear your input and thoughts.

Best,
Jen in Phoenix

 
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