Jeffery pinkston

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since Feb 16, 2017
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books food preservation greening the desert
I'm a transplant from Illinois to Southern California. Trying to set up a permaculture garden in very unique conditions near the base of a mountain outside of Palm Springs. Hot, windy, granite boulders, winter rains/silt, wildlife.
Snow Creek Village, CA
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Recent posts by Jeffery pinkston

I'm looking to start my permaculture garden in an arid region and to start I'm looking into the local Coachella valley municipality for large quantities of mulch and compost to get things under way. They have varying degrees of screened compost and soil. The mulches they offer are "Forest fines-ground trimmings" "Forest mulch-ground trimmings" "Desert Bedding Mulch-Composted" (I read that its been declared weed free and acceptable for organic use) and "Desert erosion mulch-Ground Palm fronds" The ground palm fronds are free, everything else is $8-$10 cubic yard, min 10 yards delivered. I haven't measured my gardening surface area, but the property itself is half an acre.
Is palm frond mulch a no-no? will it hurt established shrubs and trees?
How paranoid should I be about allelopathic trees in the forest mulch?
What questions should I ask the purveyor?
This year I broke down and got a heat mat from amazon, vivosun heat mat and sprung for the vivosun temp controller.

The temp controller has a little probe that is hard to keep in the soil of my 72 seed tray, when I was trying to harden off the seedlings and taking them outside yet keep them warm to help along the stragglers that weren't germinating. In hindsight, I planted too many different things in one large tray and should have used smaller trays. Things I germinated: Lavender, chamomile, malabar spinach, chile pepper, cucumber comfrey, tomato, kale, rosemary, hollyhock. Those were all in one tray. Then I had two pie tins each onion seedlings and I successfully germinated some honey mesquite from a large specimen in a park from some old pods that were on the ground.

I like having the controller for consistency and record-keeping, to figure out what works best for different plants. If I were germinating on a larger scale I'd probably go the route of soil-warming cables, which I think would work best in a greenhouse situation.
Do you have thermal mass in your greenhouse?
Hello Everyone

I am gardening in a very unique and beautiful place outside of Palm Springs, California. I'm not sure the exact zone, 9ish. I'm at least 1,000 ft elevation, we get a few degrees cooler.

My question has to do with gardening under trees. Since we get the hot desert sun midday and afternoon filtered shade are good for most plants. We also get high winds and trees offer some protection. I chose a site in next to a Palo Verde and an Olive with an acceptable amount of rocks and started digging out the larger ones. Although I didn't go deep enough to encounter any large tree roots, I stopped swinging my pick-axe thinking maybe I had chose the wrong spot.

A web search turned up the conventional answer, gardening under trees is not good because the roots will start to grow into your beds and compete with the veggies. Solutions were to dig deep down and bury sheet metal to prevent the encroaching tree roots. Digging boulders in another part of the yard sounds like more fun.

For this bed I wanted to put in flint corn underplanted with tepary beans. In permaculture it seems like growing under trees is common practice, if you have the right combination of plants.
As a new-ish gardener (I last had a garden 7 years ago in Illinois, but I'm a plant geek and houseplant hoarder), I am willing to experiment and accept failure, but I do not want to disturb the trees.