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Desert Permaculture?

Posts: 6
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I'm interested to know what a thriving permaculture set-up would look like in a dessert environment.

Lets assume the following scenarios (which may or may not be real...):

Land Size: 150 acres
Avg. annual rainfall: 13 inches...
Elevation (3000 - 4500 ft)
Temperature Range: (15F - 95 F)

I know this might sound silly, but I want to know what kind of permaculture strategies come to YOUR mind.
Also, if you don't feel like playing this game but you have some pointers or know some useful websites or books, send me the URL link!

Look forward to your comments!

Posts: 2679
Location: Phoenix, AZ (9b)
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Sounds like a post I started about 2 months ago - you can see the answers here: One piece of advice for desert permaculture

Where are you located?? Sounds a lot like the high desert - you get more rain, less heat than I do here in a sprawling desert metropolis (Phoenix).

I ALWAYS recommend:
Brad Lancaster's books and website.
Geoff Lawton's work in Jordan.
Allen Savory's work with Holistic Range Management
Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration
John D Liu's various films on dryland projects, especially the Loess Plateau in China.

...just for starters!
Posts: 206
Location: Eastern Washington, 8 acres, h. zone 5b
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Chase, is the land flat or is there a lot of up and down? How far down is the water table?

I'm at a lower elevation but get a similar amount of precipitation. I've begun by cutting terraces on the slope and building ground cover on the soil in the flat areas. I'm using livestock to do part of the soil enrichment (pigs and chickens).
Posts: 3113
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
forest garden solar
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With 13inches of rain per year. You can practically grow anything without supplementary watering.
Hopefully that water comes evenly ever year and not as 50inch ever 5 year and 4 inches the other years.

Create swales to hold and infiltrate the water when it does fall.
Plant daikon radishes to help with infiltration and to pre "drill" holes for the plant roots to use to access the water stores in the soil.
Mulch with woodchips.
Plant close to 75% of the area with nitrogen fixers.
Plant drought hardy species/cultivars.
Creekbeds/gullies are your most productive areas.
Watch greening the desert on youtube.
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