Joy Banks

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since Jan 13, 2012
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urban chicken greening the desert
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Southeast Arizona, USDA zone 8b, 4200 ft elevation, 12-16 in. rain annually
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Recent posts by Joy Banks

I give this seed source 10 out of 10 acorns for the methods they use in every facet of their work. Their seeds are ethically harvested from organic farms and wildlands by trained staff, and chosen for their most useful traits, such as creating habitat for endangered pollinators, reducing erosion, and ease of care.

I visited the plant nursery in 2016 and was delighted with the huge selection and low prices. They were beginning to grow out walnut and pecans from local historic gardens, and were very interested in propagating pomegranates, figs, apples, and quince that early settlers brought to the region. All stock looked healthy and viable. They also offer complete permaculture design and erosion control consultations, including materials and labor if desired. Just a marvelous organization worthy of support.

Once my site is ready for planting, I will report my experiences with their seeds and nursery stock.
6 years ago
This thread is all about Borderlands Restoration Native Plant Nursery and Seed Lab. They offer seeds for sale via their website, by mail or by email. Live plants available only at their nursery in Patagonia, Arizona, 65 miles south of Tucson.

Borderlands Restoration manages a full-service Native Plant Nursery & Seed Lab, providing restoration practitioners & residents in the Madrean Archipelago eco-region with a source of high-quality native plants, seeds, and consulting services.

The Borderlands Mission:
To foster ecological and cultural place-based learning and leadership, restore and support healthy, regenerating water sources and flourishing plant and animal communities, and support prosperous borderland communities by expanding a vibrant restoration economy.

Native Grass Seed

Native Seed Mixes

Wildflower, Tree & Shrub Seeds

Native Plants & Seed Catalogue 2017-18  -- PDF download

6 years ago
Hi Jocelyn!

Super-cool that you are helping this couple! Love all the posts so far.

I'm a licensed caregiver with a family history of dementia, so I've researched this topic extensively. There was a study done in 2014 that blew the socks off anything I've ever seen. It used a small cohort of patients (10) and the findings showed beyond any doubt that a simple multi-pronged approach stops cognitive decline, and actually *reverses* it, if implemented in the early-to-mid stages. You can choose to focus on the dietary part but the whole thing is easily do-able, depending on interest. Why it's not being implemented everywhere and larger studies done is sheer medical malfeasance in my humble opinion. Everyone who cares about their elder loved ones, themselves, or society as a whole needs to download this and share it. It's only a few pages, with some technical lingo.

Reversal of cognitive decline: A novel therapeutic program
6 years ago
Oh, the love /hate relationship with invasive species in the desert! They are so tempting when first moving to barren land devoid of anything except overgrazed creosote-bush and thorny stuff.... we did that too, 23 years ago..

The giant reed is Arundo donax, it creates highly-flammable monocultures that choke everything else out. It does grow fast esp. if irrigated and makes a tall bamboo-like dense wind-screen.. but after 20+ years of this stuff on my SE AZ property, I now regret planting it.. Every piece of root can & will create a new clump and it's very hard to get rid of. It loves being cut down, dug up, and will resprout continually... WARNING: If pieces get into natural riparian areas or washes (say, by getting uprooted and tumbling many miles downstream in a flood event) it will take over and destroy native ecosystems...

Siberian Elm sends out seeds that sprout in every moist crevice... the roots sucker like crazy... I planted 50 of them in my 'wind-break-zeal' days... 80% died but the ones that survived are beetle-infested, top-dead, and native birds don't like them. They are bad news for septic systems and water lines. I will post pictures someday of what they've done to a house we were building...

It's hard to imagine what used to grow, how the land used to be, in the spaces we are reclaiming... they are nothing like what they were before the advent of widespread cattle grazing, modern farming, roads & fences, etc... Do your homework first and find out, it will help you have more compassion for your land and for native species..

Deserts are so fragile, something that's taken me all these years to learn... Go with native plants for screening /shade which will feed native birds & insects and survive eventually on rainwater alone and stand up to local predators... get those going well and they will help protect you, your house, your fruits, nuts, veggies etc...

Planning and mapping come first.. go slow... observe.. do some earthworks and see what happens...

Velvet mesquite has the best pods for eating, see here:

If I had it to do over again I'd have planted desert willows and mesquites... coyote willow..  done more earthworks... been more careful of where we put roads and how we maintained them.... Grading dirt roads is the worst thing, don't use it for maintenance or you'll have an eroded impassable riverbed someday...

6 years ago
Hi Sam,

Wow! You're diving in with both feet! Looks like Barstow Desert Discovery Center is having an Earth Day event with plants for sale. Local garden clubs, etc. are the best way to find people /plants already acclimated, plus outlets for your future bamboo sales, etc.
6 years ago
This thread is one of the most valuable things on Permies! Joseph, your approach to gardening, seeds, life... it's super-inspiring and freeing.  Love that you post so frequently and I hope you consider doing more interviews, or a podcast or something, cuz you've got a ton of knowledge and a great audio presence. Here's the link for the Seed Broadcast show in case others missed it:

Joseph Lofthouse's Seed Story
7 years ago
It's available on YouTube for $2.99  

Pearl Sutton wrote:...I saw how to look at buildings, and see "what patterns are working here, which are not, and why?" and I have used that to design our OWN patterns for ourselves. I took some of his patterns, some intact, some modified, and figured out some of my own, and used them...

...To me the best part of the book was the CONCEPT "there are patterns, look for them, find your OWN." ...seeing what patterns we we responding to when we loved or hated a feature or a whole building. I also took the pattern idea into our base permaculture layout, made sure the patterns that matter to us are designed into the landscape NOW, before the work on the dirt begins, so when it's farther along it will be growing up to be OUR patterns in the trees and land (as well as base permaculture patterns like "here be swales") and not the ones other people want or need... of my MAJOR patterns that other people call "a godforsaken mess" is "tools within my reach" I use a lot of tools, in all my things I do, from computers and saws, to sewing machines, medical stuff, and a lot of kitchen supplies. If it's not within reach, I make it that way, whether it makes a "mess" or not, I'm a master of the "pile of chaos" system of living... Learning JUST that one thing about myself was worth the price of the book....

....I cried when I read it, there is SO much potential for neat, human friendly designs, and it's not common in this culture. I read his comments about what it would look like if it's allowed to continue like it was headed (70's I think, when it was written) and then I looked as I drove around, saw soul dead strip malls, suburbs not made for humans... And I cried, for what we COULD have, versus what we do.

Pearl!!! I too cried when I read Alexander's books! My heart said 'YES!' in a big way, like coming home to the homey-est home in the friendliest neighborhood I could ever imagine.  It became a huge part of my worldview immediately, and still informs my life two-plus decades later. Everything man-made that crosses my path is run through my personal Pattern Language framework either consciously or at a gut level. I'm forever 'remodeling' every place I live or visit, picturing in my mind how changing something would make the place more useful, beautiful or people-friendly. Next week I'm joining our town's Planning and Zoning committee so maybe I can make a difference in one small section of suburban blight

OMG--- your personal pattern of 'A godforsaken mess'! Thank you for this insight! I've never heard it spelled out like this before.  I, too, must have my tools and raw materials easily at-hand, with wildly diverse interests competing for my time and attention. Most of my 'genres' overlap but some don't play well with others and need their own space. My tools and supplies are a constant source of delight and feed my soul with an almost spiritual connection I can't even describe... either that or I'm a deeply-entrenched hoarder....
7 years ago

Zach Weiss wrote:
It is very important to note that Sepp is only using very rot resistant species such as Black Locust and Larch, this is the primary reason that these earth stables last so long.  I would expect a structure like this to last around 50 years, potentially much longer in drier climates.

In the arid southwest and California, eucalyptus might be a great alternative. They are common in urban areas and grow fast. Many old trees need severely cut back /taken down as they threaten power lines, homes, etc. and the wood is probably free for the taking. Anybody have experience using eucalyptus underground? I will experiment when time allows.

Edit: Just found this helpful PDF comparing 19 species in above-ground rot-resistance trials held in Wisconsin and Mississippi. Eucalyptus ranks as one of the 'most resistant'.
7 years ago

R Ranson wrote:

tel jetson wrote:

R Ranson wrote:It's very thick jelly in a jar.

This website has instructions in how to use it as paint...

Kakishibu Paint ~ "Nu-ri" - Care Points -

1. The color will be darker after the time passes, especially the surface with sunlight directly. It is better to make little lighter than you think.

2. Kakishibu will have chemical reaction with "Steel". Please do NOT use containers made by steel.

3. In case you have small air bubble during the paint, please take off with fabric.

4. There is no effect for "waterproof" right after you paint. Please make it dry out, and Kakishibu creates natural water proof effect by being oxidized in the air.

5. Kakishibu will be firmed like jelly by fermentation in the bottle. Can not keep for long term.

8 years ago