• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • Nicole Alderman
stewards:
  • Mike Haasl
  • r ranson
  • paul wheaton
master gardeners:
  • jordan barton
  • John F Dean
  • Rob Lineberger
  • Carla Burke
  • Jay Angler
gardeners:
  • Greg Martin
  • Ash Jackson
  • Jordan Holland

9.34 inches of annual rain is enough. Dryland strategies

 
steward
Posts: 7926
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
318
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
"Hey, man. That's not a swale. That's just the trench I dug to plant my potatoes in next spring."

 
Posts: 273
12
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This what I would do if it were me: Swale the crap out of the land, I mean huge swales around the entire property. At the base of these swales (in the ditch) plant vetiver grass. Vetiver grass is extremely, extremely drought and flood tolerant (it is my favorite permie plant). It also has roots that can reach 12 feet straight down within one year. It establishes itself in only one month. Plant during the raining season and then forget it.

Next: Plant the berm with hardy nitrogen fixing species I recommend paulownia elongata (my second favorite permie plant). It is the worlds fastest growing tree and produces biomass like no other. It can grow up to 30 feet in one year, is drought tolerant and extremely hardy. It is invasive in some areas but this can be countered by your climate and by cutting it down to the ground each year (it won't flower if you do this and thus will not be invasive plus you get all that biomass and it will grow back, up to 30 feet each year). Now we all know monocultures are bad so throw in some other species such as acacias and locust in the mix for diversity. Then you could put in drought tolerant fruit trees like jujube, dates, figs, etc.

Lets see big dams and ponds etc etc. Vetiver grass will also form natural terraces over time. I think that would be a good start. It will probably take longer to establish than areas with more rain fall but it can be done.

paulownia ... one years worth of growth.

 
Posts: 168
Location: SoCal, USDA Zone 10b
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I personally would never buy land in UT. It's directly down wind from the Nevada Test Site. Plutonium has a half live of 88 years, which means more than half of the plutonium that fell over UT is still there, especially since there is so little rain to wash it away. http://www.nuclearcrimes.org/022/022.htm
Sorry to be a kill joy, but we need to consider all the facts before we raise kids somewhere.
-greg
 
pollinator
Posts: 1981
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
purity forest garden tiny house wofati bike solar
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Morganic, can you tell us if you bought this land and what you are doing?

Apart from laws, as I think about water harvest too, I see something I do not like: one take all the water from a place, to concentrate on the growing, and so it deprives the grass around. I can grow in my place because I have water rights, and this water comes from the mountain, and would end up fast in the sea if nobody catch it.

We have no flat land here, so water and soil and nutrients go to the sea very fast, even if we have a forested island.
In a flat land, collecting water means depriving part of the land to favor another part.

James, I am glad to see that at least someone knows vetiver! I spoke about it before, with no reaction.
BUT, I do not know the place enough... Utah is frost-free?
 
James Colbert
Posts: 273
12
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have read that Vetiver Grass is cold hardy down to -5 degrees Celsius. I don't have direct experience with that though. I think you could hydrate land very quickly planting Vetiver on contour. I saw this video on Youtube where they planted Vetiver in Kenya in with in 3 years I believe they had fresh water springs shooting out of the side of a hill year round. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytZ1xgdie5Y&list=FLSJFs7_pVmNAMy2RCMnMnbw&index=2&feature=plpp_video
 
Xisca Nicolas
pollinator
Posts: 1981
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
purity forest garden tiny house wofati bike solar
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Kenya is equatorial. Yes vetiver is slightly cold hardy, but not for long winters. I grow it and fill my farm with it, and it grows here slower than what I read. It is tropical to subtropical.
www.vetiver.org
 
Posts: 156
7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Yeah, I think one can make the argument that swales are erosion control -- water harvesting? not me.
I have similar questions for a similar area -- one suggestion I received was to contact a water rights lawyer.
 
Posts: 1143
Location: Central Wyoming -zone 4
21
hugelkultur monies dog chicken sheep
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
for a more permanant solution i suggest working to change the laws in UT to allow you your rights on your land
obviously this wont happen overnight so the lawyer option may well be a decent option... as well as trying to find a way to "purchase water rights" while this all happens
until then, erosion control and wind blocks it is:)
 
Tom Davis
Posts: 156
7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think you could call the swales raised beds too.
 
pollinator
Posts: 519
Location: Salt Lake Valley, Utah, hardiness zone 6b/7a
5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Could we have an update on this project? Sorry, I joined permies this year, after this subject was posted, and missed the discussion.

I would also caution against committing to property without water rights, however, there are things you can do that will improve your land's ability to retain those few inches of water and improve it as grazing or dry farming land. Swales and/or a Yeoman keyline plow could be a good investment.

As far as setting up a homestead on arid land without water rights -- not a good idea. You may have the right to drill a small-bore well for culinary use, but the right to drill does not guarantee that you will find an aquifer -- after spending 15 or 20 thousand dollars. If Millard County follows the trend in other Utah counties, they will insist that you have a well or connection to a treated culinary water system. Cisterns have not been acceptable in other counties. Also, keep in mind that well and spring water in Western Utah tends to have elevated levels of heavy metals, particularly arsenic, and some water also has high levels of radon in it, so you might want to invest in a still or a reverse osmosis unit and an activated charcoal filter.

Millard County is pretty big. Can you give a little more detail as to the location of the property? My mother was born in Oak City (We kept the old church belfry in our yard in Bountiful for 20 years. My mother donated it back to the city for a monument) and I spent some time out in the Thomas Range when I was a teenager. Beautiful country, but very arid.

If you are close to a town (within 30 miles), you might want to look at buying a comfortable home there and commute out to the property when needed.

Runoff agriculture can be successful, but you need more land for catchment area, at least a quarter section.
 
Is that a spider in your hair? Here, threaten it with this tiny ad:
Greenhouse of the Future ebook - now free for a while
https://permies.com/goodies/greenhouse
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic