I'll be honest, I am going to be posting so much, seriously, people will likely be completely sick of me. This year is my 'everything changed' year and I'm coming into this with a house and a pool on .67 acres, lots of enthusiasm, some energy, and almost no money.
I'm going to convert my pool into a pond (in-ground pool, maybe 20,000-30,000 gallons). I know very little about this, so it's going to be a FAST learning experience, as I have to have it drained, have anything I want inside already set up, and have it refilled before the monsoons come in mid-June. I have a construction oriented friend who can help me a little with anything that is cement oriented, but there's likely not going to be much, at this point, because again...almost no money. But I've got to do this now because the filter on the pool finally died and I have to get this done this year if I don't want to live in mosquito land.
I'm looking to try and figure out how to make a food forest, desert-style, Geoff Lawton-style. This is going to be a huge, crazy project, I think, especially as there's so little water here that getting things to decompose instead of desiccate is difficult, and will obviously affect the vegetative density a lot...not sure how that will go. I've got some ideas of my own (plus Brad Lancaster's books on harvesting water) and I'll be picking the brains of any other desert dwelling premies, I'm sure. The good thing is that aside from a couple trees, I honestly don't care what I grow, as long as i can eat it, use it, or it helps the soil.
I am ALSO trying to keep part of my yard as a native desert species only area, with plants that need more full sun and less shade. I want to support a lot of the native bird species (which utilize the thorny plants for habitat) plus grow a lot of native species of medicinal plants that I can use. There's also some native javelins and a bobcat that come by and visit periodically that I have to account for, too. I've got a little bit of a start on this in the research area, but have a long way to go.
And I'm also trying to harvest more of my water, and grow a little garden with traditional plants, and after THAT, I hope that I'll have enough money saved up to tackle altering my home to get things like grey water and all sorts of fun stuff. Basically, I have enough projects to last me until I die, LOL.
I feel like I've been waiting for this my entire life. I've been sick since I was 16 years old, so while I could go outside and garden a little, any big projects were always beyond me and I'm 41 now, so it's been a long haul. But I FINALLY got diagnosed with a rare disorder a few months back, and the diagnosis has enabled me to slowly get more functional again. However, I will likely be bound to my home and yard for the majority of the rest of my life (really not an issue, because this is not that different from how it's been for years now, anyway). Because of this, it's so important to me to make my own little oasis, you know? I want a place where I will walk out my door every day and be thrilled at whatever I find outside.
So I should probably say thank you in advance for all the help I'm sure I'll find here, and a big hello to all the lovely folks I'm sure I'll be getting to know! ^_^
You might check out the Sonoran Permaculture Guild in Tucson. Brad Lancaster's place is probably one of the best examples of a near-sustainable urban property that I've come across. He has been disconnected from city electric, water and sewer for quite some time now. It's pretty awesome.
I was just in Tucson last month to complete Watershed Management Group's Water Harvesting Certification. Brad Lancaster is on staff there. One thing they could not say enough is "Plant the WATER before the trees (or other plants)" We in drylands have a special challenge that if we don't plant the water first, we run the risk of increasing our area's water insecurity rather than decreasing it. Watershed Management Group has a Green Living Co-op program that can help you develop a plan to harvest all the water you can through a variety of rainwater harvesting and greywater harvesting projects. They even have a guy on staff, Mark Rangle (sp?) who turns swimming pools into underground rainwater cisterns. While the co-op runs on a barn raising model (you help at other projects and then host a project of your own after so many hours) you can also hire them outright to help with design. And, I too suffer from a rare autoimmune condition and am mostly blind. There are ways to gain co-op hours without doing physical labor! And you don't even have to do the physical labor on your own project. This was a huge boon to me as I had just undergone several eye surgeries when I hosted my last workshop.
Your partner in crime...
Jen in Phoenix!
Subtropical desert (Köppen: BWh)
Elevation: 1090 ft Annual rainfall: 7"
Location: Sonoran Desert, USA
posted 6 years ago
I had not heard of Total Habitat, John. Thank you!
Jennifer, thank you so much for the 'plant the water first. That makes a lot of sense. I've done little bits and pieces in some places, but I think it would be better to perhaps dig in a bit more before looking at the trees and such. I have a couple trees that need to go in soon, so I'll have to do that, but I may focus more on digging and setting up catchment areas right now.
And so sorry to hear about the sight, Jennifer. So many challenges to deal with when there's a disorder or disease involved, yeah? Although I think that with so many losses, it can make the gains with things like this that much more precious, you know?
look! it's a bird! it's a plane! It's .... a teeny tiny ad