Steve Farmer

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since Apr 01, 2015
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forest garden greening the desert trees
South Tenerife, Canary Islands (Spain)
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Recent posts by Steve Farmer

Very interesting, particularly the calcium chloride battery. Does its performance vary as the solution strength varies with changes in ambient temp and humidity? Any headroom for capturing the water vapour that leaves the solution as temps increase, effectively adding an air well functionality?
17 hours ago
Definitely look for a dc pump. The saving on inverters batteries and pv panels will easily justify a new pump. I dont know how much water you need to pump but it sounds like you dont have to pump to any height, so a cheap DC RV pump (ideally two for resilence) will cost you well under $100
18 hours ago
Is the plastic blowing about and thus in danger of ending up in waterways and eventually the sea? If not I'd just leave it. Contrary to urban myth, and as you have discovered, plastic breaks down in the environment. It came from the earth and can go back to it - as far as i know - without causing any problems. Plastic in the sea is a huge problem. This is not plastic's fault or man's fault but the fault of a minority of individuals who allow it.
18 hours ago
That black rubber thing looks like a bog standard toilet floor fitting and costs abiut 3 euros. Any reason you cant just replace it?
Short of water but growing banana and papaya plants? Is this because the short time to fruit and the price you can get make it worthwhile despite them being so thirsty? Bananas pretty cheap tho?
How about avocados? Fairly thirsty too if you want fruiting trees but if you produce and sell grafted trees rather than the fruits then you can make good money in less time with less water. Grow rootstock from seed and get one hass and one oro negro tree to take cuttings for scion wood. Would this work and be marketable where you are?
I have no locusts but do have leguminous trees in the pea family - mainly leucaena leucocephala & gliricidia sepium. These grow well in our hot dry climate, but peas dont, especially in summer when it hits 40C+
Maybe I can graft peas onto these trees, in the shaded area of the lower branches?
1 week ago
perhaps cheaper than getting an inverter to fit your solar backup source to your existing AC air pump, get a cheap battery powered DC airpump and connect your solar panel to the battery terminals, making sure the panels are of the correct voltage ie the batteries' charging voltage. Make sure the solar panel has a diode to stop it form discharging the batteries at night, and make sure the solar panel is not of a voltage that will overcharge the batteries, with concern for fire risk if lithium batteries.
If however, the solar panels plus batteries are the first steps in a fledgling solar setup that will do more than power the pump, then an inverter will be handy, but in agreement with other posters, the prices you have been quoted are ridiculous.
1 week ago
My PKM1 sit there and do nothing until the temp hits 25C+, then whoosh up they go. With the possibilities of a whole breeding cycle within one summer maybe you can come up with a landrace that prospers in colder weather, good luck.
1 week ago
Great thread here, your plan of what to plant over the first three years looks really good, avoiding the temptation to go for food/fruit off the bat and choosing wisely the drought tolerant N fixers. Leucaena is a staple of my plantings due to fast growth AND drought resistance. In the animal buffet though it seems to be first choice. I take an 8 litre bottle, cut off the base and stick it over the seedling (with lid off). This retains humidity and protects from rabbits, goats and lizards. Do not underestimate how much damage lizards can do to small trees, they need to eat too, and can get thru mesh. They can also tunnel but only if you make it really easy for them. About growing leucaena seeds... I take the seeds from pods that are just starting to split on the tree, and soak them in hot water. Half fill your vessel with tap water and then top up with water from freshly boiled kettle giving you a rough temp of 60C which I found works best. Leave them in the water for 24 hrs. Once planted, they will germinate as soon as the temp is in the high 20s C.

A tree noone has mentioned yet is gliricidia sepium. It is more drought tolerant and fast growing than any other tree I know of. And finally yuccas... actually a cactus rather than a tree, these don't grow as fast as the N fixers but are super drought and wind resistant and can form a very effective eventual security barrier. Mind your eyes on the leaves tho so be careful if children about.

Also like your fruit tree choices. I would add fig (as already mentioned by others), and consider moving moringa into year 2 unless you are prepared to devote quite a bit of water to them. Moringas aren't too great in the wind either, especially in the first year. Maybe grow a couple at the outset in a wind protected area to get started and give yourself a source of fresh seeds for year 2.
2 weeks ago
Disclaimer: I'm not massively experienced in growing olives and only have young trees from nursery and planted out fairly recently.

What I have found in my limited experience is that olive trees smaller than those in your photos already have root systems that would be suited to pots bigger than the ones you have. Can you get bigger pots? or maybe trim some of the foliage and buds. It might be a choice between 100 flowers that don't result in olives, or removing 80 of them so that the remaining 20 do.