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Urban desert permaculture

                                            


Joined: May 03, 2010
Posts: 31
Hello all.  Was great finding this forum this weekend.  Discovered moringa because of it and thought there must be more great stuff that people know about that I've never heard of.

I'm going to be moving to a 1/3 acre lot in redlands, ca which is very close to a desert.  I get about 10 inches of rainfall a year and summer highs are in the 100s and almost all the rainfall comes in the winter. 

Currently the property has grass, a few small fruit trees that have not been taken care of that have what amounts to a large concrete sidewalk/patio around them.  Also there are 3 large trees (i have no clue what kind of trees they are except I know they aren't edible) that shade about 1/3 of the yard at any given time.  Also, the shaded areas are overgrown with TONS of english ivy.

I'm wanting to plant about 10 fruit trees in total, have about 4 chickens, several berry bushes and as many vegetables as i can.

I do plan to run my shower, washer, and kitchen sink out to the yard as greywater.  I'll use biodegradable plant safe soap and as little of it as possible.  I figure that'll be about 90 gallons of water per day. 

I would like a small pond (about 5 feet across and 3 feet deep maybe) because I think they look nice - unless someone thinks its a bad idea...

I was planning on making some small raised beds to start and filling it with stuff...  I dont know what stuff to fill it with.  The stuff i have access to is:  I could mulch the ivy I have, I have access to horse manure, I could probably easily find wood chips and there is a 15 foot pine tree on the property that i'll probably chop down.  That's the extent of stuff I could get for free or for very little.

Then I was going to plant several moringa for eating, feeding the chickens and the mulch. 

I would really like blueberries but they require alot of water i've read so I guess my greywater will go to them.  I also learned from this forum that coffee grounds are good for making the ground acidic.  So i figure there are about 20 coffee places in my town... someone will probably give me their coffee grounds.

So my questions are:

1.  what should I fill my raised beds with.
2.  Should i put my raised beds in the shade, sun, or partial shade?
3.  What fruit trees are best in my area.  I know citrus, figs, persimmons.  I really like apples but I think it doesn't get cold enough here for apples.  I like peaches too but do they require alot of water?
4.  What should i plant around the fruit trees?
5.  Do mulberry trees grow well here?  do they need alot of water?  I was hoping to plant some to keep the birds off the blueberries and to feed the chickens.
6.  Think I should put the pond in the shade or in the sun?
7.  What should i do with all that ivy I have?
8.  Should i chop down the big trees to make room for more fruit trees or is the shade they provide more valuable?
9.  Any plants that are especially good for my situation and area?  hot, dry, with currently poor soil?

thanks a ton.  I'm sure I'll have lots more questions as i get going on this.

I've started a blog about it as well.

http://iehomestead.blogspot.com

http://iehomestead.blogspot.com
                                            


Joined: May 03, 2010
Posts: 31
i was looking back at the pictures I took when I put in an offer on the place and there are four citrus trees.  can't tell what kind tho..  oranges and lemons I believe.  What are good guilds to plant around them?  Can I graft any citrus to another citrus?
tel jetson
steward

Joined: May 17, 2007
Posts: 3087
Location: woodland, washington
    
  53
with 90 gallons of grey water each day, it might not be a desert anymore...

I'm not anywhere near a desert, so I don't have a whole lot of advice.  just that the pond is a good idea.  ponds have the potential to be extremely productive.

plant some lotus (Nelumbo spp.) and wapato (Sagittaria spp.) and more aquatics with floating leaves to reduce evaporation into the desert.  I like to add duckweed (Lemna minor) and azolla (Azolla spp.) to ponds as well, but not everyone is fond of those.

there are plenty of other tasty and otherwise useful things that will do well in and around a pond.

also, if it's not cold enough for apples there, then it's warm enough for bananas.  though they are greedy for water...

what about date palms?

mix things up a lot.  plant flowers so there are blooms for as much of the year as possible.  mix plants with differing root structures.  make use of all your vertical layers.  consider moisture-capturing strategies.  consider a soil test and find plants that accumulate minerals you're deficient in.  feed those chickens minerals.  shade and windbreaks might be important in an arid spot.

I don't think you're going to get a specific prescription for your entire lot from anyone here.  too many unknowns.  look around, though, and you'll find strategies for planning.  asking more specific questions will probably be more productive.  for example:

neoplasticity wrote:
Can I graft any citrus to another citrus?


no.  but quite a few are compatible, so you may as well experiment.  oranges and lemons don't suit you?


find religion! church
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be antisocial! facespace
                                            


Joined: May 03, 2010
Posts: 31
ok I have a quick video of my backyard that i made so I could get some estimates from tree services.  I'm a bit overwhelmed and don't know where to start.  if anyone wants to take a gander at the video and have any ideas of how I should deal with all the brush and ivy I have and start turning my backyard into a garden, i'd love to hear them.  I was thinking about just covering the ivy with cardboard to smother it but the vines are pretty big now and im guessing it would take a while for them to decompose

anyway, i'd love to have any help on how i should go about this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ofTTD0wqj5s
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
I can't recommend these two sites highly enough for folks interested in greywater and desert permaculture:

http://oasisdesign.net/

http://www.harvestingrainwater.com/


Idle dreamer

Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    8
Gaia's Garden has a really good section on greywater useage ..going out into filters and ponds and then overflowing to water the garden..you  might find it interesteing.

I'm not really familiar with desert areas as where i live is in Michigan and we have a high water table..but we also have droughts..and we are in a 2 year drought right now where things are pretty dry...but still nothing like  a desert


Brenda

Bloom where you are planted.
http://restfultrailsfoodforestgarden.blogspot.com/
                            


Joined: Aug 13, 2010
Posts: 27
Location: Southern California, Zone 10
Hi, neo.  I lurk around here a lot but your posts inspired me to register so I could respond. 

I'm in southern California, on about 1/3 an acre like you.  We get an average of 17 inches of rain here, almost exclusively in winter.  When we moved to this property it was mostly dirt, ivy, and untended citrus trees, very similar to yours in the video.  I'm fairly new to permaculture so I don't have tons of great advice, I can only say what has worked for me so far.

Citrus, pomegranates, and avocados grow really well here with little help once established.  I'm trying figs and jujubes, which are also warm-weather fruits.  I recently discovered low-chill fruit trees from a company in Paso Robles called Trees of Antiquity.  Their website has great information about chill requirements, blooming times (so you can ensure pollination), etc.  I bought apples, pears, peaches, pluots, etc. from them this past year and so far the trees are doing well.  We almost never get frost here, but I know from neighbors' yards that plums, apricots, and peaches do fine here without it; I believe walnuts and almonds do as well.  We'll see how the low-chill apples and pears turn out.   I also have blueberries, boysenberries, and blackberries in an area that gets greywater drainage; the peach, plum, and pluot also get greywater.  The blueberries (also low-chill) seem pretty happy in the filtered shade under the citrus trees.  Grapes also do very well in this climate.

I don't know much about ponds (I don't have one), but assuming evaporation in the 100-degree summers will be an issue, I would think that it would be best in shade.  As for the big shade trees (including the magnolia and pine in your video), I would keep them, at least until the fruit trees start making some good shade of their own.  The heat of summer in dry weather is brutal on the ground -- shade does wonders for keeping some of the moisture in and keeping plants alive that would otherwise wither and die in the heat.  I'm guessing your roof is shaded by them for part of the day as well, and that shade probably does a lot for keeping the house cooler than it would be otherwise.  Also, before getting rid of the wood from that big dead tree, read the thread on here about hugelkultur (sp?).

I wish I could remember how I got rid of our ivy.  I'm pretty sure we just hired some guys to come take it out manually.  New sprouts were pulled or chopped as soon as we saw any.  Our next-door neighbor used another neighbor's flame thrower on his ivy which was pretty entertaining, but not as highly effective as he had hoped.

Anyway, there's my two cents.  If you have questions, I will do my best to answer them.  Good luck!
tel jetson
steward

Joined: May 17, 2007
Posts: 3087
Location: woodland, washington
    
  53
a couple of thoughts:

looks like there's plenty of room to get some projects started without clearing all the vegetation you detailed in your video.  then, as you expand, you can remove things that are in your way as needed.  getting everything cleared in one fell swoop is going to create an awful lot of work for you all at once instead of gradually increasing the space you're working with.  I also suspect that all that vegetation is moderating the microclimate on your lot substantially.  taking it all out is going to mean dealing with much harsher conditions until some of your new stuff grows in.

I would also try to identify and do a little research on the plants you're wanting to remove.  you may find out that some of them are fairly useful.  I suppose if they had fruit on them you wouldn't be wanting to tear them out, but all those bushes look a little bit like a Natal plum (Carissa macrocarpa), which I might suggest planting if you don't have any.  tasty fruit, easily used for a hedge, and native to South Africa, so I bet it could handle your climate.

why do you want to get rid of the olive?  I understand that olive trees can make a mess, but eating olives you cured yourself sounds pretty great.  and an olive tree/grape guild is a classic for hot mediterranean climates.

ivy: the cardboard could work if you used a couple layers and made sure to avoid any gaps.  that's a lot of cardboard, though.  try appliance warehouses for refrigerator boxes.  you'll definitely still get some ivy struggling through, but you should be able to handle it.  include some compost/mulch/manure/etc. and you'll have a nice place to plant.

a friend who worked on a habitat restoration crew sort of liked when there was ivy involved.  he said if it's growing thickly enough, it can be rolled up like a carpet, chopping roots as you progress.  it's still work, but not as bad as chopping vines willy-nilly.

dead trees: I imagine you're worried about them falling and damaging property.  maybe consider just taking the top off that one in the back corner so it isn't at risk of falling over on something.  standing dead trees are great habitat for all sorts of critters that might be nice to have around.

I like Henevere's suggestions, though I might favor some of the myriad warm climate plants over more temperate climate crops that might be temperamental where' you're at.  I would definitely add finger limes (Citrus australasica) to your list of things to try, because they sound pretty awesome.  I bought a finger lime tree for some friends a couple of years ago, and now I need to visit them so I can try one.  there's a nursery someplace in California that sells them, though I can't recall the name just now.

looks like a great place you've got, though.  plenty of room and some productive trees already established for you.  have fun and good luck.
Joel Hollingsworth
volunteer

Joined: Jul 01, 2009
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
I might add to the olive discussion, that chickens love to eat fruit and pit, and get a lot of calories from both if they have access to enough grit.

Too bad it's English ivy, rather than Virginia creeper...what you have would be toxic to chickens, unfortunately. I agree mulching it, and letting it decompose, is probably the best way forward.

Make use of that concrete: some tomatoes growing a few inches from the north edge of a concrete slab, in a well-mulched bed, may well be perennial and able to survive without irrigation, assuming enough storm water finds its way under the slab in other parts of the year, and some favas or similar are grown around them in the wet season.

Gypsum can help loosen up clay soil. You might experiment (start very small) with scraps of drywall, if they are available from a construction site and you trust them not to have been painted with lead.

Fava beans in the winter are another important feature of Mediterranean gardening. Like potatoes and garlic, they can find their way through thick mulch (though not, of course, cardboard). If they aren't tasty to you (or unsafe, due to heredity) they're at least good for the soil.


"the qualities of these bacteria, like the heat of the sun, electricity, or the qualities of metals, are part of the storehouse of knowledge of all men.  They are manifestations of the laws of nature, free to all men and reserved exclusively to none." SCOTUS, Funk Bros. Seed Co. v. Kale Inoculant Co.
                                            


Joined: May 03, 2010
Posts: 31
Thanks for the helpful replies everyone.

I think I will keep the trees for now.  I do need to get rid of the ivy asap because rats are living in the ivy.  So if i cover them with cardboard, i'll have to cover the cardboard with something right?  if i dont, the cardboard will just act as a roof for the rats.  covering this with dirt or manure is alot of work. 

Maybe it would be easier to dig it up and bury them in the ground?  Anyone tried mowing them into the ground?

Henevere, you must live nearby.  The rain in the winter and none is the summer is a bit of downer.  how did you setup your greywater.  I was thinking about it and I think i will be forced to use a pump for greywater which is less than ideal.

i didn't know that chickens eat olives.  that's useful.  I think my olive trees dont make too many olives because I haven't seen many olives on the trees.  In fact, in one in the backyard has no olives that I can see.

and i'll definitely have to look into getting those natal plums
jacque greenleaf
volunteer

Joined: Jan 21, 2009
Posts: 464
Location: Burton, WA (USDA zone 8, Sunset zone 5) - old hippie heaven
Have you made use of the designer recliner yet?

My gut reaction is that you may not need to do near the work initially that you are thinking of doing.

Regarding the trees and overhanging limbs you are thinking of removing, how about just thinning the canopy instead? I don't recognize many of the trees and shrubs, and you give no indication of whether you have identified all of them. In your enthusiasm, you might be taking out things that, with time, you will wish you had kept.

Doing a good pruning job will give you time to live with what you have, and see how the community in your yard works. If you are afraid of pruning, don't be. Get Cass Turnbull's book, and you'll do a better job than 90% of the landscape maintenance companies you could hire would ever do.

I think your initial work should be ripping out the ivy. Unfortunately, in my experience, a layer of cardboard will not do it. That ivy looks old and established, and it may have thick roots 2 or 3 feet down. It might take a couple of years to exhaust those deep roots by religiously pulling up all sprouts as soon as you see them - yet another reason to take things gradually. I wouldn't compost any ivy branches that weren't thoroughly dead, either.

You don't mention harvesting rain water, but that should be on your list of things to check out.

That looks like a nice big yard, and you should be able to grow lots of food there.

john smith


Joined: Aug 14, 2010
Posts: 70
Location: western u.s.
I'm curious how you plant and grow your moringa trees.
This is the first that I've heard about them. 
The 12 inches of rain, in this moderate cali climate, is also all in the winter.

Maybe use a scythe to chop down the ivy.  It would make short work of anything on the ground.
You could use a machete on the bushes.  It is good exercise and they'd be down in a flash.
A small crosscut saw (Harbor Freight) could be used to cut small trees and branches.

You could have the big trees cut down into 16" rounds, and then split them with a maul for firewood. 
I got a 6# maul from HF and quickly split a medium sized tree that was cut down by the city.
The neighbors should arrange for trimming their tree that is coming into your property.


how to convert a chest freezer to a fridge

Where liberty dwells, there is my country. -- Benjamin Franklin
Joel Hollingsworth
volunteer

Joined: Jul 01, 2009
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
If you get chickens that are large enough relative to the rats, they will tend to hunt them for food. This might motivate them to tear up the ivy.

Similarly, you might borrow a couple of pigs to root through, unearthing all the rat burrows and hunting them down. It would make a mess, but perhaps it would be easier to use a rake than a scythe plus a rake.

In either case, it's important to account for the poisonous nature of the ivy, but others on this forum will have more experience with animals and their wisdom about plants. Perhaps pigs that have seen English ivy before, as well as rats.
john smith


Joined: Aug 14, 2010
Posts: 70
Location: western u.s.
There are quite a few links on killing english ivy.
Apparently it is a fire hazard too.  Flames can shoot right up the stems.
http://www.whatprice.co.uk/gardening/ivy.html

1)  Cut the stems, everything beyond the cut dies and is easier to remove;

2)  Prune aggressively close to the roots, this weakens the roots so they'll die;

3)  Scrape off the dead tendrils and suckers;

4)  Scrub off any residue.
                            


Joined: Aug 13, 2010
Posts: 27
Location: Southern California, Zone 10
Fruit rats tend to live in ivy here, and once you get rid of your ivy they will go live in your neighbor's ivy or some other covered area.  There's no getting rid of them, as far as I can tell, but you don't have to offer them free housing either.    The chickens won't eat them because they don't come out until the chickens go to sleep.  (BTW, it's usually best to trim your trees so the branches don't touch fences and don't touch each other--it forces the rats to walk along the ground to get where they want to go, which they are much more reluctant to do, especially if there are open spaces they have to cross.)

As you noticed, neo, I do live nearby--west of you, near L.A.  The dry, hot summers are kind of a bummer with respect to the lack of rain, and for a long time I lamented the fact that I couldn't have a lovely garden of the type that grow in areas with decent rainfall.  But then I discovered that what we have is a "Mediterranean climate," and I figure that if people in the Mediterranean climates of Europe/North Africa, Chile, South Africa, and Australia can do it, so can I.  I just need to reject the "ideal" of a lush, green garden and go with the beauty of Mediterranean-adapted plants or varieties of plants I know do well in this climate--citrus, pomegranates, persimmons, olives, etc.  Also, the cultivars of apples and plums I have were initially discovered in a neighboring city with a very similar climate, so I would expect them to do well here too.  I'm hoping that between smart planting and use of greywater, I can minimize or eliminate the use of fresh water to keep my plants alive.  I'm not there yet, but I'm getting closer.

To answer your greywater question, I use mostly laundry water at the moment.  The washer drains to a drum, which drains out a hose, which ends in the backyard.  My house is uphill from the backyard, so it's just gravity-driven.  We also collect some water from the shower, cooking, etc. and pour it outside where needed.  We're renovating parts of the house, and when we do the bathroom we're planning to install greywater drainage, which should help get more water outside.  I'm also looking into harvesting rainwater, but since all of our rain comes in a few months, and then there's no rain for many months, I'm not sure how practical a collection system would be here in suburbia.  We'd have to have a cistern large enough for a whole year's worth of rainfall, and then the water would sit there for many months while being used bit by bit.  I'm just not sure it's workable, but I'm looking into it.  Also, we're considering installing an outdoor shower, so when it's warm we can shower outside and the water will drain into the ground, with some system of directing it to nearby areas that need it.

Hope that helps.  Keep us posted on your progress -- I'd love to see what you make of that yard!

Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
There's nothing wrong with water sitting in a cistern even for years, as long as the cistern is opaque.  The water stays perfectly fresh. 

We currently have 11,000 gallons capacity of rain storage, though I still have to connect a tank to the new porch roof.

It is much more economical to store water in a pond or in the soil.  Rain tanks are expensive! 
                                      


Joined: Oct 02, 2010
Posts: 12
go to the library and ask for the Denver Water Boards' three books on Xeriscaping.
READ!!!
Paul Cereghino
volunteer

Joined: Jan 11, 2010
Posts: 847
Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
    
  14
I agree with the caution to not de-vegetate before thinking it through.  By doing it slow you can retain all your biomass on site.  Some plants could be retained for organic matter production while your transition.  I suspect grey-water is your magic ticket since all live will be limited by water in your climate -- research well.  Ivy is pretty easy to kill and pile up... hack with a machete and leave to decompose for a future planting site.


Paul Cereghino- Stewardship Institute
Maritime Temperate Coniferous Rainforest - Mild Wet Winter, Dry Summer
                                            


Joined: May 03, 2010
Posts: 31
just and update for anyone.  I've cleared out most of the ivy now and just kill it as i see it regrowing here and there by pulling it up.  I chopped down the non olive bearing olive tree and a magnolia tree that was growing too close to the house and a large overgrown ficus tree that shades too much of my yard as well as about half the plum trees which were planted too close together and i pruned the remaining trees.  Therefore I have ALOT of wood here.    Anyone have any great ideas of how to use the wood?  I think the small twigs and branches I'll just send to the city compost pile.  But the larger branches and trunks... maybe I can build something with them?  Has anyone built a chicken coop or something useful with green wood?

I know many of you didn't want me to cut down any trees but I left most of the trees up and just cut down 4 of them.  And I needed the space to plant fruit trees and shrubs.  I've planted 3 pomegranate trees, low chill apple, peach, and nectarine.  An oro blanco citrus tree and a quince tree was also planted.  Then I planted 3 grapes and 3 blueberry plants, and a barberry and some strawberry plants. 

I also started a garden and planted a bunch of brassicas this winter...  kale, collard greens, swiss chard, etc..  SOMETHING ate them all up.  I thought it was cabbage worms and maybe it was but I looked and looked and could not find any.  Anyone have a clue what it might be?  It's not rabbits.. it's definitely an insect of some sort because the leaves look moth eaten with holes everywhere...  what can i do?!
                                


Joined: Feb 07, 2011
Posts: 30
Location: Ontario, Canada
neoplasticity wrote:


I also started a garden and planted a bunch of brassicas this winter...  kale, collard greens, swiss chard, etc..   SOMETHING ate them all up.  I thought it was cabbage worms and maybe it was but I looked and looked and could not find any.  Anyone have a clue what it might be?  It's not rabbits.. it's definitely an insect of some sort because the leaves look moth eaten with holes everywhere...  what can i do?!


Sounds like it could be flea beetles.  They love brassicas.  Does the damage look like these pics?

http://www.google.ca/images?oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-USfficial&client=firefox-a&q=flea+beetle+damage&um=1&ie=UTF-8&source=univ&ei=LPlRTcG3B9O_tgf8_LT5CQ&sa=X&oi=image_result_group&ct=title&resnum=2&ved=0CCwQsAQwAQ&biw=1280&bih=560 ?
                                            


Joined: May 03, 2010
Posts: 31
ya looks just like that except alot worse!
Roger Merry


Joined: Nov 28, 2010
Posts: 109
Hi
Glad you didn't remove all the trees and shrubs - they're giving you a cooler, moister microclimate and are a big plus. lifting canopies a bit over time maybe worth while but you're not short of sunlight !!

only remove what you can replace straight away - "slow and steady wins the race" and all that 

Why are American gardeners so fond of English ivy ?? its a pain in the butt here, seems an odd choice of plant to take out to the US .............. sorry on behalf of English men every where !!

once you've removed the top growth of ivy ( I use an old mower) then chickens will clear the remnants as it grows back, if you keep them on a small area at a time. But you'll have a big seed load in the soil that'll regrow over the years ............ get a good hoe and keep it sharp 
I've got flea beetles too  they're a pain but if you plant out seedlings a bit bigger than usual and space further apart it helps.

Good luck and keep us posted

roger 
Varina Lakewood


Joined: May 15, 2012
Posts: 116
Location: Colorado
    
    1
Roger Merry wrote:Hi
Glad you didn't remove all the trees and shrubs - they're giving you a cooler, moister microclimate and are a big plus. lifting canopies a bit over time maybe worth while but you're not short of sunlight !!

only remove what you can replace straight away - "slow and steady wins the race" and all that 

Why are American gardeners so fond of English ivy ?? its a pain in the butt here, seems an odd choice of plant to take out to the US .............. sorry on behalf of English men every where !!

once you've removed the top growth of ivy ( I use an old mower) then chickens will clear the remnants as it grows back, if you keep them on a small area at a time. But you'll have a big seed load in the soil that'll regrow over the years ............ get a good hoe and keep it sharp 
I've got flea beetles too  they're a pain but if you plant out seedlings a bit bigger than usual and space further apart it helps.

Good luck and keep us posted

roger 


Having grown up in Northern California, personally I was raised to consider ivy a dangerous weed, never to be let near houses or trees no matter how pretty it looks. No real ideas on that, other than don't let it reroot. Maybe burn it.
As for flea beetles, we get scads of them around here. Fortunately, diatomaceous earth works very well and is harmless. Though it does have to be reapplied fairly frequently. The first year we tried it by dusting all the affected plants, which worked fairly well, though any missed spots got chomped, especially down low. Which was a pain, since having to apply dust you don't want to breathe while bending over to reach the bottoms of the tomato plants every time you water or it rains, or the winds get too high was endless. Unfortunately water basically dissolves the stuff, making it useless. If you use it, make sure your ground is not wet when you reapply it after watering. Even using drip hoses, it needs reapplication.
The second year, I got lazy, and just started dusting the ground underneath the plants instead. Surprise! It was not only far less work, it didn't need to be reapplied quite as much, the wind didn't pick it up, since it was under the plants, AND it worked farbetter. The reason for this is apparently simple: flea beetles live in the ground. While my mom did it the hard way in her garden and struggled, flea beetle populations in my garden started dropping off. By the end of the summer, I hardly had any. We'll see how this year goes, though its mid-May already and I haven't had the hungry, lace-making hordes descend on my tomatoes or potatoes yet, they haven't started munching on the hollyhocks either, so they probably just aren't out yet. But I have diatomaceous earth readily at hand and I know how to use it liberally. <laugh> Despite using so much of it, we've had the same bag of it for two or three years now. I expect we'll get to the bottom of it and need a new bag this year. It really IS cost effective.
I live in Colorado, between the foothills of the eastern slope and the drier plains, approximately 5000ft above sea level. We get winter temps of -13F regularly, so cold obviously doesn't harm those flea beetles, and get summer temps in the mid 90sF on an average year, upper 80s on a cool year, and upper 90's to 105F or so on a hot year. Its rather arid up here, and we get winds that are easily from 70mph-90+mph. Water is precious up here, and I do use drip hoses whenever possible. Although this area does get more rainfall than neoplasticity's does.
Hopefully you've found this info since your last post here, but I thought I'd add it anyway.
Morgan Morrigan


Joined: Oct 16, 2011
Posts: 1400
Location: Verde Valley, AZ.
figure out your water feature yet?

my favorite is a sandstone fountain. looks like a double stacked sandstone patio when not turned on.

dig down and bury to just below ground surface a big plastic water trough.
drop in a fountain pump, and run an outlet up to just above finished cover grade.
put in a sloping grade to center with round pea gravel
Put some plastic around the top, and silicone it down to drain water into trough.
cover the top with a gridwork of square tubing, at least 3/4 to 1 in.
Layer sandstone over it, at least 2 layers, with 1/4- 1/2 spacing

fire up the fountain, and stand underneath it for an outside shower!
birds and kids of all ages love it. Can't find the original one, but here is a simple version
You actually want multiple layers, and out at least 8ft.

http://www.sultanfountains.com/Flagstone_Fountains.php


evaporation is a lot lower than you would think, and there are some nice little solar fountain pumps out now.
evap near plants around 8oz a day, and keeps water aerated, so not as much growth down there in the dark.
http://ag.arizona.edu/AZWATER/arroyo/073fount.html
M Marx


Joined: Feb 14, 2012
Posts: 57
Location: Los Angeles
There are some folks in the greater LA area with a backyard food forest: Vanilla Bean Tree, Pakistani Mullberry, White Mullberry, figs, blackberries, rasberries, Peaches, Suriname Cherries, Cherries, Apples, Citrus, Bannannas, Comfrey, Mangoes, Jujubes, Papya, Loquat, and a bunch of other stuff.
Guava grows great here too.
Recently went to their open house, they are suppper nice - prices are a little high on some things, but they have stuff that is hard to come by -- I mean, who has Ice cream bean tree?
They gave us a bunch of free stuff.
Let me know if you want their contact info.
They kind of didn't know about permaculuture, but they were doing a food forest basically.
Sounds like you have a cool place.
 
 
subject: Urban desert permaculture
 
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