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Desert food oasis

 
Heather Ward
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Hi all, I live in a high-desert area where trees aren't really adapted except in a line along the Rio Grande. Therefore, I concentrate on dwarf trees, coppiced trees, and bushes that require less water than large trees, but produce a lot. I am working on nuts currently. Piñon pines grow nearby so I don't need to grow them myself, and I have a nice almond tree that bears heavily. Any suggestions for shrub-sized plants that bear nuts? I would also love to hear from other desert gardeners and foragers.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands
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bee chicken food preservation fungi greening the desert
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Heather: You might look into pistachios as a nut crop. They are male or female, so you need at least one of each for fruiting.

I'd love a short tutorial on harvesting Piñon nuts. The critters always seem to beat me to them. Where do they get hidden. Any way of recruiting the critters to harvest for me?

 
Heather Ward
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Hadn't thought of pistachios, Joseph. I will investigate.
Regarding harvesting of pinons, in my area there are a number of elderly New Mexicans who make a seasonal job of harvesting the nuts and don't charge all that much, so I tend to go through them, but we also have a lot of ground squirrels. I have in mind that, when my favorite piñon harvester quits, I will try laying some lengths of horizontal pipe on the edge of my property and try to "trade corn for pinons" as the squirrels do their thing. They seem to love any pipe or conduit 8" or more in diameter. My observations indicate that the pipes need to be 4' or more long to attract them, and I plan to try just lifting the pipes to be sure the squirrel is not home, reaching out their cache of pinons, and leaving a larger amount of whole corn kernels to "pay" them for their labors. But do note that I haven't tried it yet!
 
Xisca Nicolas
pollinator
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Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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It rains little here, but my temps are not desdrt like because of the sea. But I think we can grow roughly the same.

Almonds and pistacio yes.
I cannot find pistacio seedlings, because they sell only the "better" varieties that need watering!
At the moment I have some wild ones, because I know they can be grafted.

Jojoba?

Then if you can locate some marula seeds, they are from south Africa and both the fruit and the nut are edible. I think its roots go far away from it, so this might be a problem. In its environment, I think it is quite isolated.

I did focus on nuts during a while, and I am back on fruits again, for nutrition reasons. Nuts are all full of omega 6, and this is not good to have a lot in the diet. Macadamia is an exception, but they need watering! Then I am lucky, avocado grow in my area.

Then some nuts are not nuts, like legumes, mesquite...
 
Heather Ward
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Xisca, I have been looking for pistachio trees that last few days, and can't find anything that isn't fearfully expensive. I did order a package of raw Pistachio vera seeds from Turkey via EBay, and I will try planting them in an out of the way spot and see what happens. Areas of a Turkey that produce pistachios commercially seem to have a climate similar to mine.
 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
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