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The urge to move is so overwhelming

 
pollinator
Posts: 2374
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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It's unlikely we will move. I preface this rant with that. Both sides of our family are here and our kids are quite happy in their school, etc.

However, I just have this emptiness living here. I want to grow things. I try SO HARD to grow things. It's just impossible. Maybe if we lived in the city it would be a bit better, what with all the wind blocking. I'd have less space then, though. And neighbors. Yuck, neighbors. It's just defeating. I plant and plant and plant and it dies dies dies. Even things being irrigated don't make it. If it doesn't die it grows from the root. So no fruit is likely to be had off my nine million plants, ever. It makes me want to cry. Why can't I live somewhere things grow???
 
master pollinator
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I'm sorry you're having a hard time. Your description reminds me of times in my life where I've been in the wrong place.  It colors everything. Little splinters.   Moving has usually helped unless I carry the problem along with me.

It may be that this perception filter is affecting your attempts to grow things. Which can be quite challenging.  Im still learning the basics.  

I have two suggestions for you.  One is to read the book Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew and do everything it says, no exceptions.  You can grow straight on concrete with this method if you desire.  It removes a lot of the variables.

If that doesn't work for you for whatever reason, grow in large containers and fill the bottom third with log sections.  As big as you can fit in there.  This is a buffer against moisture issues.  

Then plant the easiest thing you can think of.  Maybe try radishes, lettuce, parsley, whatever seems straightforward for your region.  See if you can get a success then grow on it.  
 
steward & bricolagier
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HUGS HUGS HUGS
I have no wise words of wisdom for your stress....

However, if the wind is your problem, maybe a greenhouse will block the wind? Make it very little glass and a LOT of berm, buried if you can, might help

HUGS HUGS HUGS

Edit: Or a shelterbelt of trees to break the wind! I bet half of permies has some tree that is amok and can have suckers removed and sent to you! Might get enough of a windbreak made to start changing your microclimate.
 
pollinator
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I've heard from several people how impossible it is to grow things in Wyoming. I've actually been wondering if it could have to do with the soil microbes more than the location? One of the books I read described a similar situation with trying to grow trees in Siberia. Even the ones that were hardy enough to handle the cold and the wind, either didn't make it or were sickly all their lives. Then someone took a tree from a healthy forest, with the soil still around it, and transplanted it there. Not only did that tree survive, but the trees around it started getting healthier.

In all the things you've tried, did any of them involve soil innoculants?
 
gardener
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Elle, I hear your frustration. You've spoken of your struggles with growing before, so I'm wondering if what you're trying to grow is ahead of what the land is willing to grow.

If Wyoming is like Alberta and Saskatchewan which are north of you, it is former prairie - flat with a lot of wind. If you're on the high table land it has likely been scoured by the last Ice Age also. If the land was abused by overgrazing before you arrived, or if it had been clear cut allowing the soil to be degraded, the first step would have to be to heal that land. You may need to think of it as a cold desert and consider what people have done to heal deserts.

Here are some steps as I understand them:
Step one is to slow the wind - my understanding is that blocks with gaps do a better job than solid surfaces. This thread - https://permies.com/t/8617/fence-pallets - shows a fence with minimal cost  as most of the materials are salvaged pallets. I recently made a 3 bin compost - soon to be expanded to 4 or 5 bins - using salvaged pallets and tied together with salvaged baling twine, but I do recommend you use a level. (look for pallets that say "HT" for heat treated and avoid ones that were chemically treated)
Step two - I would research whatever trees and shrubs have potential to survive or originally survived on the land pre-1500 BC. I would look for modern analogues if necessary and I would do such as "The Man Who Planted Trees". The video is embedded here: https://permies.com/t/60616/Podcast-Man-Planted-Trees  Seeds are cheap. The trees that grow are going to further calm the wind, encourage more snow to stay on the ground and sink in, and provide biomass. Plant expecting only 1 seed out of 50 to survive. These need to be planted in the lee of the skids, but if the snow will be deep, they need to be trees which can "grow from the roots each year", as deep snow will break many branches.
Step three is building soil - I recall you mentioning pigs elsewhere? When I first moved to my land, I told people I got into chickens for a really shitty reason - it was for their manure for my garden. We get heavy rain all winter when there's not enough light to grow and with my best efforts to cover the soil usually removed by the local HUGE slugs, the soil easily becomes depleted. Permaculture has helped with that, but I still find that for me it is easier to get "greens" high in nitrogen rather than "browns" high in carbon. Getting more carbon into my soil has been a slow learning curve and understanding how important it is, equally slow. I know that there are dangers and downsides to adding cardboard and paper to your compost, but if that's all you can get cheap or free, it may be worth it. Luckily we can buy a couple hundred organic coffee sacks from a local coffee company for about $20 Can. and I've used them generously to build the carbon in my soil. If I think the nitrogen has been lowered, I can always add liquid gold. Be cautious of hay or straw if it's possible it has persistent herbicides in it. Dead leaves are fairly safe.
Step four - as I realized how the water cycle and the growing cycle did not coincide in my climate, I've made more effort to bury wood under any space I'm growing on. Adding mushroom spores, duck shit, urine, earthworms etc to encourage that wood to decompose is helpful. There's no way I can make a tall hugel - too many rocks, many outweighing me times two. So I dig down removing most of the rocks and replacing them with wood. I leave areas to be "compost holes" where I dump scraps to decompose in place and I can dump dirty water to feed local roots under the soil. People talk of doing holes like that 3 feet deep - not on my land! If I can get it 1 1/2 to 2 feet, I'm ecstatic.

In the short term, I've used a lot of half plastic barrels to plant a few fresh things that I appreciate. Today I harvested a serving of Maxibel Filet beans from two that are just starting to produce (although the deer have found one of the barrels and I'm not sure the defenses I added today will be enough). I've got three barrels with tomato plants that have set fruit, and two more with potatoes in them. The tomato ones had lettuce as well in the spring, and I should start more but life's been busy. These have given me a sense of being able to grow some food while I've been mostly growing soil. This year I cut some skids in half, in filled the gaps on one side, made some angled brackets out of scraps of metal to make two raised beds about 4' by 4' and almost 2 feet high. Filled with punky wood, finished compost, dead chickens (it happens) one bed is growing strawberry plants and carrots and the other has tomatoes, sunflowers and tomatillos. I only got a few berries this year, but have hope for good production next year. The other bed went in late, but the toms and toms are blooming so I have hope.

Too often I've read about "permaculture working miracles" and wondered why it seems that I struggle and barely move forwards. Working alone against a challenging environment which requires its ownsolution, not some solution from Australia or Texas, is the frustrating side of permaculture. The learning curve is huge and it's far easier to do it wrong that magically get it right. I hear your frustration and hope you can find a solution for your special, but frustrating, piece of land.
 
gardener
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Sorry to hear, Ellie! Very frustrating.

I am with Jay on this - what if you make a small garden area to leeward of any existing structures that will act as a windbreak. Or maybe a 24x24 6’ solid wood fence. A small area, and probably pricey, but one area you can really focus on building the soil and doing some intensive gardening.

It becomes your own little secret garden!  Some espaliered fruit trees, flowers, veggies, herbs, maybe a bubbling fountain and a bench or comfy chair. Make it a real sanctuary and a place you enjoy being in. Nobody bothers Mom in her secret garden, under penalty of bed!

Just a thought. Sometimes too much space dilutes our effort, and constraints become a way of focusing our efforts.
 
master pollinator
Posts: 1531
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Children complicate things.  I won't pretend to know if what worked for me will work for you. But,  from personal experience, the best thing I ever did was to move from my homestead in Mn to southern Il.
 
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Elle, I hear you. I'm in SW Montana. Dry, windy, poor desert/prairie soil. My first suggestion is raised beds. Old pallets, or sawmill wood slabs are free or very cheap materials for that. Build your base bed that you will fill with soil you make. Then put upright posts or boards going a couple of feet high. Staple chicken wire or other wire to that. Then staple clear or opaque heavy mil plastic over the wire. That will break the wind yet still let light through the sides. The wire supports the plastic so it won't just rip off & blow away. On one long side, I made the wire a drop down door & stapled the plastic inside so I can get in there to weed & prune. The windbreak also helps keep moisture in & the frame gives you something to throw sheets or tarps over in the spring & fall cold nights. Plus the raised bed gets your roots up out of the cold ground & extends your grow season marginally. Then build soil. I use 1/3 native soil, 1/3 sand I get from a seasonal flood wash nearby & 1/3 horse manure (2 yrs old, well composted). Plus I add some of my household compost & litter from the chicken coop. The horse manure works kind of like peat moss to hold moisture & fluff the soil, and it's free. It's a lot of work, but only has to be built once & beats fighting the elements & watching your work go to waste. Good luck. Imagine being one of those poor pioneer women who had no choice but to make that soil produce food!
 
John F Dean
master pollinator
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Pearl has a good point. I would never homestead again without a high tunnel.....especially  where it is cold and windy.  If you do get one, anchor it well.
 
master steward
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Elle, I feel your pain and everyone has given you great advice.  After reading everyone's comments I want to ask what have you done to improve your soil?

I don't have soil so I started growing stuff in caliche.

From Wikipedia: "Caliche is a sedimentary rock, a hardened natural cement of calcium carbonate that binds other materials—such as gravel, sand, clay, and silt."

Dear hubby found a deposit of clay to which he added store-bought garden soil, store-bought well-composted manure and leaf mold from under our oak trees.  This was all mixed in a wheel barrel and added to raise beds since it is very windy where we live.

I also add all our spent coffee grounds, occasionally.

Making compost to add occasionally will also help.

I learned a lot from Dr. Bryant Redhawk so I would like to recommend his soil series:

https://permies.com/wiki/redhawk-soil

 
Posts: 7599
Location: Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep clay/loam with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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We have not moved often but when a 'reassessment' of our lives called for it I have never had any hesitation (my guy has been more reluctant because he is the 'bang your head against the wall' type and does not give up or give in That balance works for us.

The first move was after living a decade or more in a cabin and five acres in a ravine with no utilities and road accessibility, our children were young then...then we lived in a rented house for a few years before my mom needed full time care and we moved her to live with us for a decade in another house that we bought along with ten acres that was closer to civilization and our sons were in high school.  The next move was after her death (and our sons were off to college) to forty acres that would have been our dream place in our twenties but we were in our fifties then so enjoyed for fifteen years but were frustrated with keeping vehicles running over the rough roads and feeling like we were always 'behind' ...we sold that place to a younger couple who had more cash flow and were permies!

Where we have been for the past almost five years is on the edge of a small rural town that our son and his family has lived in for years.  We have eyed it for awhile and found the perfect small old house on almost an acre.  For us, having less land to focus on has been a blessing.  We have planted more perennials than ever and huge gardens....and after forty years of fighting rocks where ever we dig, we have no rocks...I can dig a hole in the ground without a pry bar and pick....and we are actually closer to family.

My point to this long ramble is it's hard to differentiate between feeling stuck and feeling challenged or feeling like a failure.  There is nothing wrong with thoughtful life changes...it is not failure or giving up, it can be life changing and open up a whole new world.
 
gardener
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Judith Browning wrote: it's hard to differentiate between feeling stuck and feeling challenged or feeling like a failure.  There is nothing wrong with thoughtful life changes...it is not failure or giving up, it can be life changing and open up a whole new world.


This is a really wise sentiment and one I espouse heartily. Been there, done that, and the best metaphor is that I was planted in the wrong kind of soil. Every single blessed thing was a fight and a failure. I managed to "transplant" myself and things changed significantly.

Even if moving is just a fantasy for now, keep in mind that this all is not for lack of effort or worthiness on your part. It seems like growing animals works, so keep on keepin on with that, and maybe start thinking about the extended future and where you want to and could be.
 
John F Dean
master pollinator
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Hi Judith,

Yes, we decided we could bang our heads against the wall and try to overcome the many disasters we were facing, or we could face the fact that overcoming obstacles is one thing, but repeatedly facing off with the same disasters year after year was foolish.  We sat down for several days and did a systematic analysis of what we liked and didn't like. Then we searched.  Even after we found the general location, we rented, found work, and then conducted a detailed search. The search included land, hospitals, weather, codes, neighbors, access to cities, etc.  It may sound foolish to research weather on a micro level, but in MN my truck could be covered with frost while a co-worker had none.  Our current house in on the eastern side of a large hill.  There was a history of tornados skipping over it.
 
elle sagenev
pollinator
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Ah, what have I done. At this point what haven't I done would be a shorter list. I have swales. I have berms. I have above ground hugels. I have below ground hugels. I have wood chips. I have paper mulch. I have leaf litter mulch. I have mini kraters. Many mini kraters. I have cover cropped many, many times. Alfalfa, sainfoin and a particular grass are doing very very well on 10 of our 40 acres. Well they were doing really well but this year was not a good one for anything and they were all very small and sparse this year. Still, they're growing.

I have planted damn near everything qualified for my zone. Hazelnuts, apples, plums, peaches, cherries, goji berries, aronia berries, apricots, pears, medlar, pawpaw, almond, pistachio, cranberries, elderberries, raspberries, black berries, huckleberries, currants, grapes, kiwi, and on and on.

Don't think I just plant something once and quit either. If it doesn't live I will try again in a different location with a different method. Some things I have planted every single year (6 years now) and still no success.

I have planted my vegetable garden in 8 different places. Determined to find the perfect spot.

There are lots of reasons for my failure. Wind. Cold. Drought. Rabbits. So many rabbits. Ground squirrels. SO MANY GROUND SQUIRRELS! I moved a garden that was doing well one year because the ground squirrels found it, dug it to shit and then we were finding them dead which looked like they were diseased. Not wanting to risk growing food there I moved it.  This year my greenhouse and such would be doing ok except I've had grasshopper and ant issues. I am bagging up the veggies that are growing to help keep the bugs out but then of course it hailed ping pong balls and ripped up the squash anyway.

Our wind break finally came under attack of pine beetle. Pine trees are the largest part of our treeline, though not the only one. The caragana is dying and I don't know why. The lilac looks like crap and again, I don't know why. The juniper trees which were getting really large have broken under the weight of snow two years in a row now and some of them are just pathetic looking at this point.

This place SUCKS for growing things. I want to grow things. I want to so bad. I can't.
 
John F Dean
master pollinator
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Hi Elle,,

I am going to shift gears here to help provide a tool that might help you organize your thoughts and actions.

What do you want?

What are you doing?

Is what you are doing getting you what you want?

If it isn't, what do you need to change?

If you keep doing what you are doing, you will keep getting what you have got.
 
Angela Dansie
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Elle, your place sounds just like mine. Read my previous post. The window screen lids really help with the grasshoppers & hail. I do raised beds, but you could build them underground & do a hugelkulture hybrid system for the ground squirrels. When they found my sunchokes, they went insane & even ripped through chicken wire I laid down under my beds. The only fix I've found is the heavy woodsided beds & screen or chicken wire lids. The window screens you could probably get from a local window installer or builder. I have a bunch saved from some window replacements my sister did working as a contractor. And, definitely keep adding lots of organic matter.
 
steward
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Elle, It sounds to me like your heart is no longer in the place you live. How does your husband feel? What I’m getting at is people can make a life anywhere. There are other nice schools all over the country that I think your children would acclimate to and really enjoy. I think you’re smart and can get a great job with a legal firm anywhere. I don’t know anything about y’alls family, but I believe families support family, even if they may not understand. It can be difficult for you and your husband to leave what is familiar and start something new in a new place, but people adapt. Perhaps this yearning to move and have an abundant and successful garden is something within you trying to get your attention and hinting it’s time to move on to new things.
 
elle sagenev
pollinator
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James Freyr wrote:Elle, It sounds to me like your heart is no longer in the place you live. How does your husband feel? What I’m getting at is people can make a life anywhere. There are other nice schools all over the country that I think your children would acclimate to and really enjoy. I think you’re smart and can get a great job with a legal firm anywhere. I don’t know anything about y’alls family, but I believe families support family, even if they may not understand. It can be difficult for you and your husband to leave what is familiar and start something new in a new place, but people adapt. Perhaps this yearning to move and have an abundant and successful garden is something within you trying to get your attention and hinting it’s time to move on to new things.



We have looked at moving many many times. The kids get hysterical at the prospect and we see our families A LOT. Like dinner at his parents house every single Sunday and my parents at least a few times a month. Lots of cousin time, etc. It would be a massive blow to take the kids away from that. My husband grew up without any extended family around and he values the connections we have here. Maybe we'll move eventually but right now I just don't see it happening.

Never mind the fact that we can't agree on where to go. He wants to go to Nevada because of the no state income tax. I ask him why he wants me to move somewhere with even less water and growth prospects. Does he hate me? I want to move south east and he'd rather die. So, there's that keeping us here too. I've been looking at La Fruita Colorado recently.
 
elle sagenev
pollinator
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John F Dean wrote:Hi Elle,,

I am going to shift gears here to help provide a tool that might help you organize your thoughts and actions.

What do you want?               To grow fruits and vegetables

What are you doing?             ALL THE THINGS!!!

Is what you are doing getting you what you want?                 Nope :(

If it isn't, what do you need to change?      Probably location

If you keep doing what you are doing, you will keep getting what you have got.

 
Judith Browning
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Why would the move need to be so far away?  
Maybe there is something within family and school range that has better prospects for growing things? and doesn't have oil drilling so near by?
...less land maybe but more exciting possibilities?
 
John F Dean
master pollinator
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Hi Elle,

Your dilemma strikes me close to home. While I was in the process of relocating from MN, I had the opportunity for a job in Thermopolis.  I ruled it out in favor of my present location.  I can understand both the attraction as well as the frustration.
 
gardener
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I like the move somewhere nearby option.

My grandfather owned 2 100 acre properties within easy walking distance of each other.  One was all swamp and gravel hill, grazed by cattle, trees wont even grow on a lot of it despite not being grazed or cut for 40 years. The other was a productive and fertile farm good for growing corn, soy, hay, etc. There might be somewhere better nearby?

I would personally prefer to own 5 acres of decent soil than 40 acres of difficult soil.

Also - I hear you about everything dying. The house i grew up in had maybe an inch of topsoil over maybe 1 ft of orangey subsoil over hard granite bedrock, 100 acres of rock and scrubby pine trees. Everything died, things froze, late frosts, etc. Dad grows nice tomatos... in pots. The apple trees are 12 + and have never produced anything.  If I were you, I'd consider one or two nice raised bed for veggies, and stop stressing over growing anything outside of those beds.

I pity the original farmers, who left no sign of their presence other than a few incomplete rock fences.
 
pollinator
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Try not to think of your land as 40acres but as only 2 acres.
With acres 3 - 40 your wild area and by wild, I mean bare empty desert.

With 10ft centers you can plant 871 trees on 2 acres. That's actually still a ridiculous amount of trees and shrubs. I would have z hard time dgging that many holes.
Next I would get woodchip, biochar and drip line irrigation.
Then I would start digging 4ft wide x 4ft deep holes for my plants (not just for a apple tree but also for a goji-berry).

It sounds like you are less frustrated with your legally irrigated 2 acres and more so with unirrigated 38 acres of naturally desert.

 
elle sagenev
pollinator
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S Bengi wrote:Try not to think of your land as 40acres but as only 2 acres.
With acres 3 - 40 your wild area and by wild, I mean bare empty desert.

With 10ft centers you can plant 871 trees on 2 acres. That's actually still a ridiculous amount of trees and shrubs. I would have z hard time dgging that many holes.
Next I would get woodchip, biochar and drip line irrigation.
Then I would start digging 4ft wide x 4ft deep holes for my plants (not just for a apple tree but also for a goji-berry).

It sounds like you are less frustrated with your legally irrigated 2 acres and more so with unirrigated 38 acres of naturally desert.



Oh no. The irrigated trees are doing horribly 80% of them did not come back this year.
 
S Bengi
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I wonder why the irrigated/pampered trees did not make it thru the winter. It's one thing for a late frost to kill all the blossom (thus fruits) and another for 80% of the trees to die.

Do you buy/plant bare roots trees? Do you have a list of which cultivars you have planted?

Lets see why they could be dieing
Not enough water (nope they are irrigated)
Water contains too much salt/mineral (possible but if you drink it, just as unlikely)
Soil contains too much salt (possible, might need to flush the soil)
Wrong Rootstock for soil type (possible, maybe you can buy the right rootstock and do your own grafting)
Wrong cultivar for climate (grow from seed, double check cuktivars, buy local seedlings, graft on native species/etc)
Pest (Don't grow stone fruits or apples, they are too weak, unless they are native species like sand cherry seedling/etc)

There is a 80/20 rule. Can you list the 20% that did survive. Do they have anything in common. e.g are they all rated for zone 3 or were they all next to xyz, or maybe they are all desert native?
 
pollinator
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have you had soil tests done? did i miss that?
 
elle sagenev
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So I decided to take some pictures to kind of show some of the things. It took me awhile. I'm far too busy!

I did not take any pictures of my oldest trees that are planted in the swales and kraters up front. Of the several hundred I planted there are 3 that remain. One of them is establishing from the root and the other two are just growing very very slowly. Those 3 are 2 plums and a peach.

These pictures are of the irrigated orchard that is fully fenced. I could cut the vegetation but I have this vague hope that it will help cut down the wind in the area in the winter. I don't know if that actually works.

This isn't all the trees planted here but I figure every dead tree essentially looks the same.
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Irrigated orchard area with grass and sweet clover
Irrigated orchard area with grass and sweet clover
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peach tree planted this spring- shall see if it survives the winter
peach tree planted this spring- shall see if it survives the winter
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This Italian Plum has been here awhile. It flowers a few flowers each year which are promptly consumed by birds.
This Italian Plum has been here awhile. It flowers a few flowers each year which are promptly consumed by birds.
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Alive last year, dead this year.
Alive last year, dead this year.
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Even a tree that was extremely well established died this winter
Even a tree that was extremely well established died this winter
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This apple tree was in the kraters up front. In the spring I noticed it getting eaten by the ground squirrels and moved it to the back orchard. It's a pound sweet apple and I hope it makes it. The top is dead but there are some branches alive lower down.
This apple tree was in the kraters up front. In the spring I noticed it getting eaten by the ground squirrels and moved it to the back orchard. It's a pound sweet apple and I hope it makes it. The top is dead but there are some branches alive lower down.
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This grape did well last year. I thought it was dead this year but appears to be coming back from the root. So it's probably the root stock and unlikely to taste good.
This grape did well last year. I thought it was dead this year but appears to be coming back from the root. So it's probably the root stock and unlikely to taste good.
 
elle sagenev
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Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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Oh I should point out in the picture of this tree all of the plants at the base are a soil builder mix from Green Cover Seed. This area has fairly good soil as it's been planted awhile but I am still working on it.
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[Thumbnail for 117596553_10158487781308633_2257011790429988887_n.jpg]
 
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Please have a look at what the soil microbiologist is achieving on an industrial parking lot... in one year; https://youtu.be/tYIjen7W8_M

Some YouTube videos on the same subject by Nature’s Always Right are really good as well.

I do hope these help
 
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I live in the high desert of Cali.  It took me 15 years to find the right combination for growing here.  Right now I would say I've been successful.  I built a 7' fence. I used regular cedar fencing with OSB on the bottom to be able to do 7'.  I dug up all my fruit and nut trees, cut them down to 18" and now they are bushes, and because they are only 7' tall, no wind damage (and I live on a mesa where 40mph winds are common).  I have them all in 5 gallon home made air pruning pots.  Some trees are espaliered and run the length of the 40' cargo container.  The cargo container blocks the afternoon sun. I have everything under 90% shade sails.  I have 50 fruit and nut trees, the vegetable garden is in a shed, under Hidden Harvest LED lights (cheap to run), and the shed has a home made solar evaporative cooler. My water bill runs $113 every two months, so I rather disagree about living and growing in the desert cannot be successful.  

The really nice things about living in the desert are a) hardly any bugs. Whiteflies are about it and I spray Surround WP (kaolin) clay and the whitefly problem is minimal on the grapes. I do get some spider mites if I don't keep up with the Surround treatment. b) long growing season (March thru Oct)  c) no contaminant wind drift of other people spraying d) We don't get hard freezes - 27 is about it and usually just a month or two and only at night.  e) greenhouses work great here in the winter - mine stay a cozy 60-70 degrees during the day.

My taxes are cheap, even here in Cali. I pay $400 a year.  And I save a ton of money by using solar ovens and I have home made solar water heaters.  I wouldn't trade living here for anywhere else.  I do have 10 fig trees still in the ground and with the ground here being mostly decomposed granite, the soil is really compatible for growing.  I can dig a 2'x2' post hole with a small shovel in about 15 minutes.  

You might want to take a look at some of Jon's videos on YouTube (discountjuicers).  He lives in Nevada and has a veritable food forest.
 
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Elle - have you seen this thread here on permies? The links are still live. They ship free to your state, too. It may be worth writing or calling them and asking if they thought the trees would take in your environment/climate. If you could get a solid windbreak up...

And here is the link to the thread I am talking about above (thank you, staff, for pointing out that I forgot it): https://permies.com/t/33414/Fast-Growing-Trees-Sale
 
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