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food forest with no irrigation?

 
Lori Ziemba
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Location: Northern California Mediterranean climate zone 10b
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Hi all,

I'm in zone 10b, Mediterranean climate. Right at the coast of San Francisco, CA, USA. Cool, foggy summers, windy spring. Due to the ongoing drought, the city is no longer maintaining or watering the roadside hill across the street from my house. There is a small clump of Monterey cypress, along with a lot of myoporum which is dying from drought stress and thrips. The grass is dead.

I have been thinking about putting in a mini guerrilla food forest, with olives, mesquite, seaberry, artichokes, asparagus, native wildflowers, etc. The problem is, apart from carrying a few gallons over by hand, I'll have no water available to irrigate. I just ordered some olive seeds, I have a few mesquite, pinyon pine and seaberry seedlings, and the other stuff is easily obtainable.

Do you think this can be done? Can these baby trees be put in in the fall, watered with rain thru the winter, and then left without irrigation? I'd be starting on almost bare ground. Soil is very sandy. I could bury a plastic bottle next to each seedling and keep it full like an olla.

Ideas?
 
Steve Farmer
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A 6 mth old tree will most likely not make it thru the dry period with no irrigation. But it can make it thru with very little irrigation. I have got 1 and 2 yr old trees thru our 6-9 mth dry season with 2 litres per tree twice a week.

My stuff is in full sun.
 
Lori Ziemba
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Steve Farmer wrote:A 6 mth old tree will most likely not make it thru the dry period with no irrigation. But it can make it thru with very little irrigation. I have got 1 and 2 yr old trees thru our 6-9 mth dry season with 2 litres per tree twice a week.

My stuff is in full sun.


Oh, that is encouraging! My pines and mesquite will be 1 year old this summer. The seaberries are just coming up, and I haven't gotten the olive seeds yet. I am thinking of burying a plastic jug next to each tree to use as an olla. I have been experimenting with this in my small guerrilla garden and my community plot, and it works very well. Each jug holds 2 liters. Because the water soaks out underground, there is no evaporation.

Canary Islands are near Africa, yes?
 
Craig Overend
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Ollas and bottles are great but are not easy to regulate the flow so may need regular manual filling and the alternative in very slow gravity drip systems usually block.
I've been meaning to try the flow adjustable hose clamp around wicking rope idea for Efficient Irrigation Systems by David Bainbridge. There's also a paper. He had a website too but I can no longer find it. He also used a deep wick in order to wick subsoil moisture UP to plant roots. Also, if you do plant, decompact and aerate the subsoil as deep as possible in order to help the plant send roots down deep to any water there, I'm thinking post hole digger. Also, If you have it, put any organic material down as ground cover to keep moisture in the surface soil, and shape the soil around the plant to collect any run off.

It may not be applicable for you, however an improved wick/drip system I plan on trying is one that harvests rain in a container with concave lid with center hole and then wick irrigates with any harvested rain in-between showers, thereby reducing or eliminating manual filling. A test I did showed a single pin prick drip on bare soil wicked about the diameter of my extended thumb and index finger in my hard packed clay soil, it may be less in sandy soil, so keep the wick, bottle or Ollas close if you go that route. When I do my trial over our summer I'm also considering a loop or helix wrap of the wick rope around the root system about 6" or 150mm in diameter to ensure coverage of the root zone.

Another technique I'd like to explore is fog/atmospheric moisture harvesting using fine stainless tubular mesh windbreaks for young plants that double as water harvesters or permanently as a structure for companion plants to climb. A study I read about optimum atmospheric moisture harvesting gave me the idea.
 
Dillon Nichols
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A couple thoughts:

-Your trees might benefit from rockpiles or other condensation collection mechanisms, since you mention fog.

-If possible you might consider starting at the top of the slope, as that way successful trees will be better able to self replicate downhill over time.

-Carrying water by hand sucks. What about a backpack? I assumed someone would be selling a flexible water container built into a pack, like a camelbak but scaled up, but I don't see such a thing at a glance. I suppose the DIY version would be a bunch of milk-jugs in a hiking pack... or maybe something like this bucket-pack... http://five-gallon-pack.myshopify.com/collections/all
 
Cristo Balete
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Lori, what kind of soil is on this hill? what is the slope of the hill? What direction is it facing? How windy is it if the fog is not in? Do you have a big source of mowed grass for mulch so you can get it really thick around these trees?

There probably ought to be two ola watering jugs per tree.
 
Joshua Parke
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Another technique to perhaps put in to practice is to......line your tree holes with cardboard, wet it down.....and of course put thick mulch around the tree after it's planted. This is a technique that I learned of from geoff lawton in one of his videos. He did this in his site in the Jordan valley I believe it was. And of course he was using drip irrigation...but I would almost wager that the rainfall there, is significantly less than the rainfall you receive in your area. He said that he only lost two trees.....one of them, the dripper clogged, and the other was....the people in the area wanting to see what would happen if they didn't use mulch.....so he did one tree without mulch, just so everyone could learn first hand.
 
Lori Ziemba
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Location: Northern California Mediterranean climate zone 10b
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Craig Overend wrote:Ollas and bottles are great but are not easy to regulate the flow so may need regular manual filling and the alternative in very slow gravity drip systems usually block.
I've been meaning to try the flow adjustable hose clamp around wicking rope idea for Efficient Irrigation Systems by David Bainbridge. There's also a paper. He had a website too but I can no longer find it. He also used a deep wick in order to wick subsoil moisture UP to plant roots. Also, if you do plant, decompact and aerate the subsoil as deep as possible in order to help the plant send roots down deep to any water there, I'm thinking post hole digger. Also, If you have it, put any organic material down as ground cover to keep moisture in the surface soil, and shape the soil around the plant to collect any run off.

It may not be applicable for you, however an improved wick/drip system I plan on trying is one that harvests rain in a container with concave lid with center hole and then wick irrigates with any harvested rain in-between showers, thereby reducing or eliminating manual filling. A test I did showed a single pin prick drip on bare soil wicked about the diameter of my extended thumb and index finger in my hard packed clay soil, it may be less in sandy soil, so keep the wick, bottle or Ollas close if you go that route. When I do my trial over our summer I'm also considering a loop or helix wrap of the wick rope around the root system about 6" or 150mm in diameter to ensure coverage of the root zone.

Another technique I'd like to explore is fog/atmospheric moisture harvesting using fine stainless tubular mesh windbreaks for young plants that double as water harvesters or permanently as a structure for companion plants to climb. A study I read about optimum atmospheric moisture harvesting gave me the idea.


Hi Craig,

You have to understand, this is a guerrilla garden, not my own land. So things need to be...let's say, discrete. Anything too noticable will attract attention, either from the city or the homeless.

Compaction is not a problem, soil is almost all sand. This is the beach!
 
Lori Ziemba
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Dillon Nichols wrote:A couple thoughts:

-Your trees might benefit from rockpiles or other condensation collection mechanisms, since you mention fog.

-If possible you might consider starting at the top of the slope, as that way successful trees will be better able to self replicate downhill over time.

-Carrying water by hand sucks. What about a backpack? I assumed someone would be selling a flexible water container built into a pack, like a camelbak but scaled up, but I don't see such a thing at a glance. I suppose the DIY version would be a bunch of milk-jugs in a hiking pack... or maybe something like this bucket-pack... http://five-gallon-pack.myshopify.com/collections/all


Rocks would be great, but they are in very short supply around here. All we have is sand, sand, and more sand. Not too bad to carry a gallon or 2---it's right across the street.

I was thinking about a third of the way down to protect the little plants from the spring winds, which are fierce and continuous around here.
 
Lori Ziemba
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Cristo Balete wrote:Lori, what kind of soil is on this hill? what is the slope of the hill? What direction is it facing? How windy is it if the fog is not in? Do you have a big source of mowed grass for mulch so you can get it really thick around these trees?

There probably ought to be two ola watering jugs per tree.


Hi Cristo,

The soil is very sandy; I'm right at the beach. I'm not sure how to measure slope, but it's fairly steep---maybe 40*? It faces east, and winds are fierce in the spring, mostly coming straight off the ocean, which is west. They stop in June, when the fog comes in. I can usually get bark type mulch for free; only limitation is collecting and carrying it.
 
Lori Ziemba
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Joshua Parke wrote:Another technique to perhaps put in to practice is to......line your tree holes with cardboard, wet it down.....and of course put thick mulch around the tree after it's planted. This is a technique that I learned of from Geoff Lawton in one of his videos. He did this in his site in the Jordan valley I believe it was. And of course he was using drip irrigation...but I would almost wager that the rainfall there, is significantly less than the rainfall you receive in your area. He said that he only lost two trees.....one of them, the dripper clogged, and the other was....the people in the area wanting to see what would happen if they didn't use mulch.....so he did one tree without mulch, just so everyone could learn first hand.


Hi Joshua,
That's a thought. I was thinking of putting cardboard around the base of the tree, with mulch on top. Didn't think of putting it in the hole. How much do you put in? What about just planting the tree in a box, and then planting the box? I saw a really cool video of a guy who puts cactus pads in the hole. He chops them up a bit with a spade, and plants the tree on top. They provide moisture. I may be able to get a few cactus pads.
 
Lori Ziemba
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Another problem, a big one, is gophers. I may be able to score a bit of wire mesh to build a root cage. Otherwise, I was thinking of using a big tin can as a planting pot. If I put a lot of holes in it, do you think it would rust out in time for the tree roots to break out the bottom? Or would it constrict them too much?
 
Blake Wheeler
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Just gonna throw this out there, mulching with cardboard may be a bad idea. Sure, it helps eliminate evaporative loss, but cardboard takes PLENTY of water to saturate. Not a big deal in an area that gets plenty of rainfall, but in areas where it has a chance to dry out it may cause a problem. The now dry cardboard will just sheet off any any water that hits it, and given its on a slope just means it's going to send it downhill, instead of at the trees roots.

Young trees need irrigation to establish, simple really. If already established, mature trees with mature root systems are dying or stressed a new transplant doesn't stand a chance. If you're set on this idea, and you have to be discrete get ready to pack plenty of water back and forth, the sheer act of which won't stay discrete for long.

Definitely DO NOT plant the tree in a tin can. It'll rust, just nowhere near fast enough, especially in sandy, well-draining soil during a drought.
 
Cristo Balete
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Lori, so sandy, salty soil, salty ocean wind, the homeless....what you are talking about planting will take years to mature. Is that what you want? Most things don't like salty winds, and are very slow. You don't want to attract attention, but green stuff will when everywhere else it's dying back.

I've found cardboard to be a total backfire where it doesn't rain in the summer. and fall The cardboard curls up, wind gets underneath it, it sucks up all the water and then dries out, the soil gets nothing.'

Is this where the sand occasionally drifts onto the roadway? That's how sandy it is?
 
Lori Ziemba
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Blake Wheeler wrote:Just gonna throw this out there, mulching with cardboard may be a bad idea. Sure, it helps eliminate evaporative loss, but cardboard takes PLENTY of water to saturate. Not a big deal in an area that gets plenty of rainfall, but in areas where it has a chance to dry out it may cause a problem. The now dry cardboard will just sheet off any any water that hits it, and given its on a slope just means it's going to send it downhill, instead of at the trees roots.

Young trees need irrigation to establish, simple really. If already established, mature trees with mature root systems are dying or stressed a new transplant doesn't stand a chance. If you're set on this idea, and you have to be discrete get ready to pack plenty of water back and forth, the sheer act of which won't stay discrete for long.

Definitely DO NOT plant the tree in a tin can. It'll rust, just nowhere near fast enough, especially in sandy, well-draining soil during a drought.


Yeah, I was wondering about the cardboard. I'll just stick with mulch, I guess.
 
Lori Ziemba
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Cristo Balete wrote:Lori, so sandy, salty soil, salty ocean wind, the homeless....what you are talking about planting will take years to mature. Is that what you want? Most things don't like salty winds, and are very slow. You don't want to attract attention, but green stuff will when everywhere else it's dying back.

I've found cardboard to be a total backfire where it doesn't rain in the summer. and fall The cardboard curls up, wind gets underneath it, it sucks up all the water and then dries out, the soil gets nothing.'

Is this where the sand occasionally drifts onto the roadway? That's how sandy it is?


Ummm...yeah. That's the place.
 
Lori Ziemba
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Tomorrow, I will take a picture of my little guerrilla garden, and I'll post it. It's in the same spot, on almost pure sand. I brought in lot's of mulch, and I buried 4 ollas. I fill them about once a week.
 
Cristo Balete
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I don't know how much money you want to put into this, but since those cypress trees have found water that isn't too salty, you might try a Zone 10 white eating grape (not a wine grape). They are tough, and when helped with your watering and a lot of mulch they can go down and find that water the cypress are in.

You might try a Sharpblue blueberry (southern highbush) that works in Zone 10, with amended soil.

Both of these are low profile, the grape is deciduous and shouldn't attract too much attention.


Ribes speciosum, Fuchsia Flowered Gooseberry grows well in sand

For the short term, for fun, a couple of tomatoes and some squash? I think pumpkins are too noticeable, and you don't want kids on Saturday night throwing them at passing cars.

To bring in beneficial insects you might try some of the flowering natives, Gold Coin Achillea filipendulina, yarrow (which I am collecting seeds from now in June, so the roadside ones might have seeds) catnip (not a native, but it's really good) Maybe if you stick to just yellow natives there won't be a noticeable riot of color on the hillside.


You might also look into harvesting fog as a water source. Don't believe everything you read about it. It takes the wet, drippy fog to work, which doesn't happen every day. But if you have an old tarp that is dark brown, a plastic-type surface that the fog will condense on and drip off of, painted wood, (plastic bags don't last long in the sun) something dirt colored held down on the soil above the plant, the fog turns into water and drips.

You might try this in your own yard, where you can put a bigger dark brown tarp on the ground, slightly slanted, or if upright, make sure the tarp is at a slight angle, not completely vertical so as the fog drips straight down it will touch the tarp rather than drop parallel to it. A piece of patio plastic roofing does it, too. If you want to buy one, only buy the clear stuff. The other colors block out too much light. You can use it for lots of things, windbreaks, etc.

If you want to see how much water you can collect, put a piece of gutter along the lowest edge of the tarp of plastic and run it into a plastic container. I had a car canopy with a 20x16 tarp over it, tent style with two gutters on the 20-foot sides, and collected a gallon in one night of really wet fog.


 
Cristo Balete
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Lori, for your own yard, have you seen the grey water, wet bark chip paths that the plants next to the path can get water from? Here's a YouTube video of a guy in Petaluma who got it legalized.

https://youtu.be/PBMpaWq4EKE
 
elle sagenev
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Depends on how you plant it I suppose. I dug mini kraters this year and the trees and bushes planted in those look amazing. I haven't watered yet.
 
Lori Ziemba
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Cristo Balete wrote:I don't know how much money you want to put into this, but since those cypress trees have found water that isn't too salty, you might try a Zone 10 white eating grape (not a wine grape). They are tough, and when helped with your watering and a lot of mulch they can go down and find that water the cypress are in.

You might try a Sharpblue blueberry (southern highbush) that works in Zone 10, with amended soil.

Both of these are low profile, the grape is deciduous and shouldn't attract too much attention.


Oooo, a grape! That's a good idea. I don't know much about grapes. Can you recommend a variety? I have a blueberry in my community garden. It never seems to have a lot of leaves on it, but it gets lots of berries. Go figure.

Ribes speciosum, Fuchsia Flowered Gooseberry grows well in sand


Can you get gooseberries in CA? I thought they were illegal?

For the short term, for fun, a couple of tomatoes and some squash? I think pumpkins are too noticeable, and you don't want kids on Saturday night throwing them at passing cars.


I'm thinking they need too much water. I could try, tho. I have tomato and calabacita seeds.

To bring in beneficial insects you might try some of the flowering natives, Gold Coin Achillea filipendulina, yarrow (which I am collecting seeds from now in June, so the roadside ones might have seeds) catnip (not a native, but it's really good) Maybe if you stick to just yellow natives there won't be a noticeable riot of color on the hillside.


This spring, I threw down a lot of native flower seed balls. I think I did it too late, tho. There was almost no rain in the spring. I should have done it in the fall. I'm wondering if those seedballs will lay dormant, or if I need to do that again?

You might also look into harvesting fog as a water source. Don't believe everything you read about it. It takes the wet, drippy fog to work, which doesn't happen every day. But if you have an old tarp that is dark brown, a plastic-type surface that the fog will condense on and drip off of, painted wood, (plastic bags don't last long in the sun) something dirt colored held down on the soil above the plant, the fog turns into water and drips.


Hmmm. It would have to be pretty small and inconspicuous.

You might try this in your own yard, where you can put a bigger dark brown tarp on the ground, slightly slanted, or if upright, make sure the tarp is at a slight angle, not completely vertical so as the fog drips straight down it will touch the tarp rather than drop parallel to it. A piece of patio plastic roofing does it, too. If you want to buy one, only buy the clear stuff. The other colors block out too much light. You can use it for lots of things, windbreaks, etc.

If you want to see how much water you can collect, put a piece of gutter along the lowest edge of the tarp of plastic and run it into a plastic container. I had a car canopy with a 20x16 tarp over it, tent style with two gutters on the 20-foot sides, and collected a gallon in one night of really wet fog.


To my eternal sorrow and the shame of the universe in not giving me a house, I have no yard of my own I do have a plot in a community garden.


 
Lori Ziemba
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Here are some photos. First 2 are of my little guerrilla garden. It's about 8' across. Last pic is the hillside, which is next to the garden. All the plants in the garden except the poppies and lupine were started from donated cuttings. They are doing really well with 2 gallons of water/week.
P1070718.JPG
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Guerrilla garden
P1070722.JPG
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guerrilla garden
P1070721.JPG
[Thumbnail for P1070721.JPG]
hillside
 
John Saltveit
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I would definitely think about autumn olive Eleagnus umbeliffera I think. It is quite drought tolerant, produces yummy and highly nutritious berries, and most people won't know what it is, which is highly desirable in a guerrila garden. In addition, it is not invasive at all in dry summer climates. It will fix nitrogen for your other plants. Once you have started to establish nitrogen fixing and other plants, like autumn olive, the soil will dry up less. Rosemary and winter savory would be good ideas too. Like you said, plant in November and hope they establish by summer.
John S
PDX OR
 
Lori Ziemba
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John Saltveit wrote:I would definitely think about autumn olive Eleagnus umbeliffera I think. It is quite drought tolerant, produces yummy and highly nutritious berries, and most people won't know what it is, which is highly desirable in a guerrila garden. In addition, it is not invasive at all in dry summer climates. It will fix nitrogen for your other plants. Once you have started to establish nitrogen fixing and other plants, like autumn olive, the soil will dry up less. Rosemary and winter savory would be good ideas too. Like you said, plant in November and hope they establish by summer.
John S
PDX OR


OK, that's a good idea! I have seaberry plants, too.
 
Cristo Balete
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Very nice little garden. I see you are more in town than I pictured. Looks like there's lots of foot traffic and probably bike traffic coming down that hill onto the street. One thing that's going to happen, I hate to say, there are City street crews who know that area like the back of their hands, and when they see what you are doing they are probably not going to let that triangular section between the two pathways stay. The pinecones make a nice edge, and it looks a little like a memorial for someone, which maybe is why no one is messing with it. But if you build it up with non-native plants, it runs the risk of being something pedestrians and bicyclists could crash into, or trip on the pinecones, then the City would be liable for any injuries. You would faint straight away if you saw the paperwork it takes to plant one plant on a City street, even without a drought.

You might be able to do a low-key herb garden around the bases of the junipers, sage, lavender, yarrow, rosemary, where people don't walk and they are not quite so noticeable.

Is the green grass up on the top of the hill being watered? That might be gathering somewhat around the bases of the cypress trees, and could help support drought-tolerant herbs.

It might be a fun project in your community garden to set up a tarp and harvest fog, show everybody how it's done.

 
Dan Boone
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John Saltveit wrote:Rosemary and winter savory would be good ideas too. Like you said, plant in November and hope they establish by summer.


Rosemary roots easily from cuttings in a glass on your windowsill -- just cut it into 4-to-6 inch chunks and keep the bottom half in water. Once you see substantial root development, plant them in soil. You can get up to 20 or so plants from a generous $2.00 bunch of rosemary at your supermarket or farmers market. I'm told that in climates where they overwinter easily, they can become substantial drought-tolerant bushes. Sadly in my climate they are very iffy about surviving the winter; I am still working on a microclimate that will make one ridiculously happy.
 
Lori Ziemba
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Cristo Balete wrote:Very nice little garden.


Thanks!

I see you are more in town than I pictured. Looks like there's lots of foot traffic and probably bike traffic coming down that hill onto the street. One thing that's going to happen, I hate to say, there are City street crews who know that area like the back of their hands, and when they see what you are doing they are probably not going to let that triangular section between the two pathways stay. The pinecones make a nice edge, and it looks a little like a memorial for someone, which maybe is why no one is messing with it. But if you build it up with non-native plants, it runs the risk of being something pedestrians and bicyclists could crash into, or trip on the pinecones, then the City would be liable for any injuries. You would faint straight away if you saw the paperwork it takes to plant one plant on a City street, even without a drought.


I've thought of that. The guy that mows has left it alone. Of course, no one has mowed in several months. I've seen the city truck go right by it. On the right side is a paved path. The left side is not a "real" path, just a lazy path. Last I heard, the city pulled the gardener off of this section and hasn't replaced him. They no longer water, either. I haven't seen anyone at all (except the mower) work on that area in several years. I heard a rumor that the city had given it over to the feds, who have no one to care for it at all. Further south along the same street, there are actual raised, concrete rings with similar plantings in the same kind of triangles. That's what gave me the idea.

Is the green grass up on the top of the hill being watered? That might be gathering somewhat around the bases of the cypress trees, and could help support drought-tolerant herbs.


It's not grass, it's iceplant. I bought a little lavender plant to add to the garden, and an aloe vera. I don't mind spending an occasional few dollars on it. Can't spend a lot, tho. I wanted to get a few succulents, but they all had tags saying they had been treated with neonicatoids. I didn't want to buy those because of the bees.

 
Lori Ziemba
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Dan Boone wrote:
John Saltveit wrote:Rosemary and winter savory would be good ideas too. Like you said, plant in November and hope they establish by summer.


Rosemary roots easily from cuttings in a glass on your windowsill -- just cut it into 4-to-6 inch chunks and keep the bottom half in water. Once you see substantial root development, plant them in soil. You can get up to 20 or so plants from a generous $2.00 bunch of rosemary at your supermarket or farmers market. I'm told that in climates where they overwinter easily, they can become substantial drought-tolerant bushes. Sadly in my climate they are very iffy about surviving the winter; I am still working on a microclimate that will make one ridiculously happy.


You read my mind! I can get all the cuttings I want for free from the community garden. Hard to find winter savory.
 
John Saltveit
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Winter savory is not hard to find in seed. That's what I did and it's perennial, as opposed to summer savory, which is not.
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Cristo Balete
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Lori, yeah, it may seem ignored, but legally it belongs to some agency that has the obligation to keep it free and clear of unexpected tripping hazards. Those paths show it's a heavily traversed area. People in a city aren't expecting 30 pine cones where they are used to walking, or on crutches, or biking, or disembarking from parked cars, sometimes with little kids running around, and in the dark it becomes something really unexpected.

That's why up the hillside, closer to those trees your plants would be out of the way, but still noticeable, and whatever you plant up there stands a chance of staying.

A really good message to everyone who passes by, and the agency that owns that land, would be a great display of natives that adapt to the current difficult conditions. No, gooseberries are not illegal! They make great pie. Some of them have foliage that smells like sandalwood and citrus. Not sure what kind of native plant you are thinking is illegal?
 
Lori Ziemba
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Cristo Balete wrote:Lori, yeah, it may seem ignored, but legally it belongs to some agency that has the obligation to keep it free and clear of unexpected tripping hazards. Those paths show it's a heavily traversed area. People in a city aren't expecting 30 pine cones where they are used to walking, or on crutches, or biking, or disembarking from parked cars, sometimes with little kids running around, and in the dark it becomes something really unexpected.


Well, along with the thrills, the dangers of guerrilla gardening are many and varied It's one reason I haven't put much money into it, besides the fact that I have no money, ha ha ha. Another reason was as a sort of a test, to see how well the plants would do, and if they would hold up and stay unmolested.

That's why up the hillside, closer to those trees your plants would be out of the way, but still noticeable, and whatever you plant up there stands a chance of staying.


Yes, it was always my plan to expand up there, if the small garden did well.

A really good message to everyone who passes by, and the agency that owns that land, would be a great display of natives that adapt to the current difficult conditions.


I'm collecting seeds from some lupines that are growing right in the dunes. I also made seed balls out of native seeds, but nothing came up because I did it too late because of the lack of rain. I'll have to try again. I'll try and do cuttings when I can, but I don't get out of the city much.

No, gooseberries are not illegal! They make great pie. Some of them have foliage that smells like sandalwood and citrus. Not sure what kind of native plant you are thinking is illegal?


I didn't know we had native gooseberries. I looked up the one you mentioned, and the fruits are spiny How do you eat those? I remember seeing a notice in a plant catalog under gooseberries, which said it couldn't be imported into CA. So I looked it up, and I found this: "Ribes species are host for White Pine blister rust, which causes few problems for gooseberry, but is lethal for 5-needle pines, including California natives such as Western Pine (Pinus monticola) and Sugar Pine (P. lambertiana). Gooseberries are banned in counties where these pines are grown for lumber. So I guess Frisco is OK.

Do you live where they grow? If so, could you send me a few cuttings?


 
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Lori, very nice garden there. One way to use cardboard that I noticed no one mentioned is to literally plant it vertically, this creates a wall for holding water back when done in a drier area and works pretty well in sandy soil like you have there.
You might be able to do a line below your garden or do a couple to three above the garden on the slope, the above the garden method will create mini water plumes that will feed the garden from above.
If you did one below the garden it would act more like a dam and hold water for the garden at least until the sand below sucked it all away. I would go for the above the garden type since any water collected by the cardboard would stick around longer.

I notice that the sand has covered the sidewalk that is there, so as a public service, if you swept that sand back off the sidewalk and put in a cardboard barrier to help keep the sidewalk clearer of sand, you probably would not receive any reprimands from the city.
That "barrier" could go deep and provide a dam effect below the garden. If the city did say anything, cardboard is biodegradable and usually crushes underfoot easily so it is not as much a hazard as concrete.
 
Lori Ziemba
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:Lori, very nice garden there. One way to use cardboard that I noticed no one mentioned is to literally plant it vertically, this creates a wall for holding water back when done in a drier area and works pretty well in sandy soil like you have there.
You might be able to do a line below your garden or do a couple to three above the garden on the slope, the above the garden method will create mini water plumes that will feed the garden from above.
If you did one below the garden it would act more like a dam and hold water for the garden at least until the sand below sucked it all away. I would go for the above the garden type since any water collected by the cardboard would stick around longer.

I notice that the sand has covered the sidewalk that is there, so as a public service, if you swept that sand back off the sidewalk and put in a cardboard barrier to help keep the sidewalk clearer of sand, you probably would not receive any reprimands from the city.
That "barrier" could go deep and provide a dam effect below the garden. If the city did say anything, cardboard is biodegradable and usually crushes underfoot easily so it is not as much a hazard as concrete.


Thanks! Not sure I follow you about the cardboard. Do you mean bury it like an underground wall? Like basement wall? How deep? More than a few inches would mean a lot of digging.
 
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Yes, like a wall, the deeper you can set it the more effect it will have. I have a hill that is south facing and by using a pick I was able to set some heavy, solid cardboard (non corrugated) to a depth of 16".
I left 6" protruding from the ground and it has done a good job of slowing down the run off as well as creating the water plume effect.

If you could do something similar, you might get your garden more water with out any further effort.
 
Cristo Balete
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Well, along with the thrills, the dangers of guerrilla gardening are many and varied


I guess I thought you meant by "guerrilla" was that you were using land that wasn't yours to put a garden on. but pine cones are like ballbearings, people can hurt themselves, especially in the dark. I don't think that's what you had in mind?
 
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