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PIP Magazine - Issue 19: Ideas and Inspiration for a Positive Future
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Steve Farmer

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since Apr 01, 2015
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forest garden trees greening the desert
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Recent posts by Steve Farmer

100 people require c. 250,000 calories per day.
Mature avocado tree produces 1.5 avos per day = 375 calories.

250,000/375 = ~667 trees

Man cannot live on avocado alone but it gives you a ball park for calorie provision from trees.

So plant a variety of 1000 trees that give edible produce and 1000 more support trees eg N fixers, shade, habitat etc then with the non tree crops you can interplant you should be doing great in a 2000 tree food forest.
5 months ago
nice thread, have only scanned it but will go back and watch more of the vids.

the lenses seem like a good idea however one drawback is you've ended up with huge spaces between the trees. not sure you need to change the lenses but maybe plant the very hardiest trees higher up the crater. you want 3 or 4 trees or bushes per sq yard so they can shade the ground and invade the soil with biomass. you can have favourites and cull extra as the favourites grow. you want your trees to touch at the edge of the canopy from the outset.

moringa isn't partuclarly drought tolerant as a sapling. once it's a year or two old it stores water in a thick taproot. mesquite is a good choice. can you plant yucca, prickly pear and agave too, these are the ultimate drought survivors.

try fig trees. like moringa they need water for their first year but once man high they are expert at finding deep water.

what you're doing seems to be working, particularly the attitude of trying a methodology, observing and adjusting. i think you are near the point where the success will snowball.
7 months ago
I'm on a subtropical spanish island next to the Sahara desert. Can grow all year round. Melons, corn, moringa and papayas don't do a lot during "winter" (which is like a north european summer but with short days). spinach, peas and lettuce struggle during summer unless in shade of trees. just grow stuff a couple of zones down in winter but remember daylight hours will drop.

in general stuff grows in conditions where google says it won't, given enough trial and error, so try it and help out with windbreaks etc.
9 months ago

David Baillie wrote:...the stand by losses of the large inverter are a constant...



agreed esp as the OP here mentioned a 10kW inverter. this is likely to run an operating system, wifi & bluetooth modems, temperature monitor, lcd,/led panel....

A 2000W brick inverter is likely to have none of this, just maybe a green light and a fan that shouldn't have to come on at low load.



9 months ago
yes, you can use an inverter at below its rated capacity. it's good to do so as that inverter is built for way more amps than you're putting thru so will run cooler and more efficiently than an inverter that's only just sized for your appliance.

get a pure sine wave inverter. these are MUCH more efficient than square/modified inverters.

be careful of ruining your car batt. if you run it below 12.4V and/or leave it discharged for any period of time then it will quickly deteriorate.
10 months ago
do you have difficulty starting the car with a deep cycle batt after running the voltage down to 11.8? or have you always had an opportunity to plug in and recharge?

consider the scenario of an unscheduled engine off eg a police stop just before you get home. it depends on how beefy your batt is but i'd be tempted to keep it above 12.4V both for confidence in starting and longevity of batt.

something to consider is flicking the switch to charge whenever slowing down with engine braking or coasting downhill.
10 months ago
start with what you know works - fig trees. plant loads of them and give them water to help them thru the first two or three summers. experiment with other plants amongst and below the fig trees. fig trees are easy to propagate, grow fast, tolerate aggressive pruning, and send deep roots, they are a gift as a pioneer tree in your setting.
10 months ago

Michael Cox wrote:I have recently returned from a trip to Tenerife which has similar fresh volcanic rocks.



Tenerife, my home.

the problem with lack of volunteer plants starting in the rock is the wind and lack of rain. and goats, lizards and rabbits.

a little help by excluding animals and providing water in the first summer or two can give a tree a great start, and then it will survive on its own.

the terraces are built from native rock. big rocks making the walls and crushed rock making up the "soil". the crushed rock, which i guess is like, or maybe the same as scoria, is called jable. its very light  floats in water until it becomes water logged and has a porous structure with huge surface area a la biochar. its great but needs to become established to get the life going. there is probably no place on earth as productive as a tenerife jable terrace, once you have it started. most sun hours per year of any place on earth, no winter and volcanic rock dust for free. i pay 81 cents per cubic metre of water. mountain ranwater via a reservoir and agricultural pipe network.
10 months ago
that soil is great. same as mine. no need to import soil. dig or drill down, add water, plant a small pioneering N fixing tree in the dust or sand created by digging/drilling. place a 2 gallon plastic bottle over it (after cutting off top n bottom of bottle) to protect from critters.

let the roots of stuff you plant grow your soil.

there's plenty of green stuff in your foto which proves you can grow there.
10 months ago

Brett Andrzejewski wrote:I had come to the same conclusion about the concrete pots.  I never plan to waste my time with them again.



I have some ideas on pot design for subsurface irrigation and concrete is easy and cheap to prototype with. I'm aware concrete is porous and might need to be sealed. Just how wasteful are such pots? It's only the base that will be concrete whilst the upper part exposed to the air will be an off the shelf plant pot.

I'd rather lose a bit of water than double the complexity by sealing the concrete. After prototyping I'd be more willing to seal or perhaps avoid concrete altogether.
1 year ago