Alan Smithe

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since Apr 28, 2013
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Recent posts by Alan Smithe

Jennifer Wadsworth wrote:Hi everyone:

If you have ever lived in a desert, you know that our dry climate and temperature extremes can be challenging. Not all permaculture standbys work for all climates. A really telling example of this is the Herb Spiral. Herb spirals are a poor choice for dry climates because anything raised is going to dry out more quickly. If you combine dry with HOT - it gets even worse. You've exposed your plants to a super-heated, super-dry microclimate.

So, desert permies, if you had ONE PIECE of advice to give someone new to desert permaculture, what would it be?



Two factors need to be accounted for: Shade and Water Preservation. I live in the Mojave Desert and when I went to Austin for a month I had some of my gardener friends check on my garden and make sure the watering system stayed working and when I got back I was bombarded with "How in the heck did you get tomatoes to produce like that in 119 degree heat?!" They may be full sun plants in their normal environment but their shade plants in the Mojave Desert. Then I allow sweet potatoes to cover the ENTIRE ground to help prevent moisture from evaporating. No nursery or gardener around here have ever heard of sweet potato plants for eating, just as a landscape (non-edible) plant. I had to drive to Los Angeles to get an organic sweet potato to grow slips from. The nice thing about here is the LONG growing season, I'm still mass producing tomatoes.
5 years ago
I use the 5 x 3' concrete reinforcing mesh panels tied to 8' pvc pipe with tie wire. I started doing it in Oklahoma where we'd have F5 tornadoes, and hailstorms that'd riddle the ground with 3' deep holes. This method was indestructible and could withstand 80 mph winds, which is great because I hated having to reset up the traditional trellises. I stick a tube of the 8' pvc pipe into the ground about 3-4 feet (it typically would slide right in) tie one end of the mesh (I'd tie it tall instead of wide) then where ever the end of it was I'd stick another pvc pipe and tie wire it to the mesh. I'd keep zig zagging the mesh and pvc pipe through out the area I needed the trellis.
5 years ago
We'll see if how it affects their production, I've always been good at growing tomatoes, eggplants not so much, I'll get 4-7 eggplants per plant on average which I don't think is all that great, but WOW those eggplants are loving those sunflowers, they were about 8 inches high and looking "normal when the sunflowers sprouted. The sunflower got about 12 inches and the eggplants perked up but were still about 8 inches high (last week) now both the sunflowers and eggplants are over 24 inches, it's almost like the eggplants are trying to race the sunflowers. And several blooms on the eggies.
5 years ago
First post, new to the permaculture concept but it seems to be an idea that makes a lot of sense. I've been trying to find out what benefit sunflowers give to surrounding plants, if any and haven't found anything so far. The reason is that I recently planted quite a few of thme as I have a lot of doves and was growing them to feed the doves later. However, in the last few weeks I've noticed that my tomato, cucumber, and eggplants that are within a foot of a sunflower plant are growing twice as fast as the ones NOT near a sunflower and am curious as to why.
5 years ago