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Biggest benefit of a no-till garden is...

 
pollinator
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[b]Benefit #1:[/b]

Being able to stack plants into the same place that mature during different seasons!

This leads to much more production in the same amount of space. The trick is learning how to pull it off. Which of course comes in MANY flavors (styles).

This is how I am pulling it off in my new garden. Adaption will be implemented... so all is very much subject to change.

In one of my 3' wide by 16' long rows (oriented North/South) out in the garden this year I planted 1/2 of the bed with red Nordland potatoes (short season) and the other 1/2 with onion sets I had started in January.

Down the middle of the row is a about 62"T worth of trellis that runs the whole 16' distance. This trellis lives there year-round and is not just for growing vertically on. It is also used for keeping plants from one side of the trellis from shading out plants on the other side... or plants in the middle in this case. As the potatoes were going gangbusters... I would simply pull their foliage back through the trellis to their side. Which kept the future trellised plants in the sun and thriving.

Down the entire middle of the 16' row... I planted a few types of Yellow Bell Peppers in this case. Now that the potatoes and onions are done... the Bell Peppers are probably 3' tall and starting to produce. They are being grown Espalier up the trellis and being weaved as they grow. They just got hit with a large bump of organic fertilizer along the entire area the potatoes and onions were growing AND deep mulched with wood chips. Just in time for the heat to start arriving.

[b]I did this same thing for nearly every row in my garden.[/b]

In the other rows I did things like broccoli, cabbage, kale (kale grows all Winter in my area), and lettuce out on the outside of the beds (Usually on the East side of the beds) and then a few rows of onions on the West sides of the beds. In the middle I had things like Emperor runner beans, cucumbers, watermelons (icebox types that can be hammocked vertically), cantaloups, and more just getting started. Onions on the West side allowed for good sunlight during the warmest part of the day in Springtime.

As the old plants got pulled... I simply dug a shallow trench in their spot and added fertilizer again for the plants in the middle. Then placed deep mulch on top.

You should see my insane garden this year!!! It is AWESOME!!!

[b]Benefit #2:[/b]

Drip irrigation. Now that I no longer have to till... I was able to finally add that dream drip irrigation system to the garden. Watering the plants slowly enables the soil to properly soak up the water for maximum absorption. As well as conserving the water.

I have been spending about 2hrs or more watering every time it is needed. Which is very often when it gets into the +95F range. I am now able to flip a lever and go do other things for a few hours while the garden is getting watered. Which is VERY IMPORTANT when falling behind like I have been here at the new place. I am trying to set up an 8AC homestead.

What are some benefits everyone else has been able to implement???
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Hey Marty! lovely garden.
I think the benefits of no-till are very important for year-round gardening. I see people turning over their gardens, and that's all well and good for them, but when you have a chard plant that's been there for a year and is still putting out leaves, or collards that have been there for a while, or whatever, it's hard to just say, okay then, rip it all out. Same applies if you're implanting a model where you have larger plants (or trees) that live longer interspersed with shorter-crop plants.
 
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Your garden looks awesome! I relate to all the points you brought up, and my newest joy of joys is drip irrigation. That has changed my life, the plants grow better, I can direct seed things in the desert more easily - I love it.

Year round gardening in one spot really is a huge benefit of no-till.  Your question got me thinking about others, here's my addition:

No-till and Permaculture gardening allows you to establish a novel ecosystem.  The ecosystem keeps living plants in the ground year round, this builds soil tilth and habitat for organisms both above and below ground. Some of the benefits of building an ecosystem using no-till and permaculture methods are, in my experience:
  • Pollinators and insect predators are attracted to your garden and able to thrive. Pest insects eventually are no longer pests, in my experience with this type of gardening.
  • Building tilth. As each plants each fulfills its roles, soil pH stabilizes and more and more nutrients become available for all of the plants and organisms to use.
  • The garden becomes lower maintenance with time and requires fewer inputs. I will qualify that statement -  as long as you don't let very aggressive plants that you don't want a lot of reseed themselves, the garden becomes lower maintenance with time.  A friend who is an excellent gardener taught me that when I was young and starting out. Seems so simple a concept, yet it's easy to forget.

Here's an ecosystem my husband and I started in 2021. The beds were done "zai pit" style, or desert hugels.  The beds are dug out about a foot and a half deep, filled with any compostable material we had on hand (mostly brush from the property), then the topsoil put back with the intent of making sunken beds.  Desert ground termites, crickets, cockroaches and fungus do the work of composting in the ground. There are no earthworms here, so these are the larger composting organisms.

Some of the beds were overfilled a bit - it's always a guess as to how far the in-ground compost will sink.  We overestimated on some, so they are slightly raised still.  They will likely sink more, and in the meantime we just fortified the fencelines and fenceline beds so water cannot escape he garden as a whole.

The entire garden is made to catch water. The outer fencelines have rock bunds to help keep in water and plant material, and animals out. The garden is placed between two rooflines, catching a little over 1000 sq ft of roof runoff. The garden also catches some of our driveway runoff.

This garden attracts loads of animals - pollinators, predators and of course prey. This year the plant diversity in the garden is about doubled from last and we haven't seen many of the typical plant pests this year - though we had them last year at this time.  I did have a few aphids go after one of the Daikon radishes that were growing for seed this year, but the ladybugs and lacewings appeared quickly and the problem solved itself.  I love that.  

There are the most amazing variety of ants here.  Some of the ants in the garden guard certain plants for plant exudates they collect, some compost fallen leaves, and others collect seed and return that concentrated phosphorus to the soil. Bio-available phosphorus is needed in our desert location, as soils are either deficient or it's unavailable to many plants.

Lizards and birds are all over this little garden gobbling away at bugs each day. We also get to see special birds each year that are migrating through. This isn't our first garden on this property, we've been here improving the landscaping and gardening starting in 2019.  We've seen that migrating birds are now seeing this spot as a "regular" stop over. For example, last year near this time I saw an Audobon-Myrtle warbler intergrade (hybrid). I could only distinguish it because it hopped up so close to me in the garden. That's an unusual bird to see in our location.  This year another (or the same?) showed up in the garden around the same time of year, hunted about and moved on!  It's very fun to see these things and the garden allows for many close encounters with nature.

So to me, the biggest plus of no-till gardening is creating an ecosystem for all to benefit from while growing food year round.  That's not really different than what the original poster is saying, I'm just leaning more towards the value of the ecosystem one can create when you stop tilling.
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Year 2 of this garden, in spring
Year 2 of this garden, in spring
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First summer monsoon, year 2
First summer monsoon, year 2
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This roof runoff soaked in totally in about 20 minutes, and there was no runoff out of the garden
This roof runoff soaked in totally in about 20 minutes, and there was no runoff out of the garden
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The garden, year 1 after the monsoons
The garden, year 1 after the monsoons
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The left trellis bed has 43 different types of plants
The left trellis bed has 43 different types of plants
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first year sunken beds in desert garden, low diversity initially...but...
first year sunken beds in desert garden, low diversity initially...but...
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...we still have 15 types of plants in one bed and 10 in another
...we still have 15 types of plants in one bed and 10 in another
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Flowering plants attract diverse pollinators
Flowering plants attract diverse pollinators
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Lovely geckos and many other lizards eat up the bugs!
Lovely geckos and many other lizards eat up the bugs!
 
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Marty and Kim, thanks for sharing your pictures!

Pictures say what words cannot say.

Beautiful gardens!

I hope other will share their benefits of no-till.
 
Marty Mitchell
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Kim Goodwin wrote:
Your garden looks awesome!

It's very fun to see these things and the garden allows for many close encounters with nature.



First off... thank you! Yours looks incredible as well!

I agree entirely with everything you stated.

This is mostly a first-year garden here at the new place... and with the amount critters showing up it is amazing. I have seen several types of bees that I have never seen before already even. They seem to LOVE the flowers on the scarlet runner beans, cucumbers, melons, pumpkins, purple cone flowers, and comfrey out there going at the moment. The real thing that set the bumble bees off early in the year was the 8 acres of white clover and red clover out in the pastures. I even caught two bee swarms in my single Layens bee trap! How awesome is that!

Even the Black Swallowtail, Zebra Swallowtail, Tiger Swallowtail, and a few Monarchs can be seen floating around out there.

I even found a patch of lizard or skink eggs out in the blueberry beds under the mulch yesterday.

I cannot wait to get large patches of wildflowers going out there... and tweak everything over the years for maximum effect.

I need to get a few water features going.
 
Marty Mitchell
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Anne Miller wrote:Marty and Kim, thanks for sharing your pictures!

Pictures say what words cannot say.

Beautiful gardens!

I hope other will share their benefits of no-till.



Thank you. I do hope others chime in later on as well!
 
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Marty and Kim laid this out so well!

Another benefit that I don't think was specifically mentioned yet,  is that no-till makes it much easier to mix perennial herbs and annual veg in one bed. Great for pollinators, and possibly for pest confusion.

Here I have chives,  garlic chives,  lovage, and sage growing in a bed with corn, squash, beans,  potatoes, peanuts,  peas, and radishes going to seed. There's actually 10 hills of corn there,  but it had not quite outgrown the radish flower stalks yet.
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Marty Mitchell
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Got some pics of my tomato harvest yesterday morning… and of the echinacea/blueberries patch. This flowers have an insane amount of butterflies and bees on them. Even with all of the other flowers around.

By looking at the pics… you can see the spots along the edges of the beds that will be receiving transplants of cabbage, broccoli, kale, and collards in a month or two.



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To me, by far the largest benefit of no till gardening is not having to till.

Rototillers are loud, noisy, hard to push around and turn, vibrate a lot and hurt my hands, need exactly the right soil moisture (in my heavy soil) to work well, which usually means hot and sunny weather. You end up sore, tired, and with dirt stuck to sweat.  And ideally you till twice or three times, a few days to a few weeks apart, to make sure the weeds really do die, so you have to do it all over again! Plus maintaining another gas engine, because the electric ones just don't have the power needed for my soil.  And raking the soil smooth after tilling.

And of you don't do it yourself, paying someone to till for you is expensive - I'd rather buy fun seeds, perennials, compost, etc.

A strong secondary benefit is the lack of weeding needed if you mulch heavily - I'd much rather wheel barrow mulch and compost, or put down cardboard in early spring than weed in the heat of summer. I didn't put much mulch down this spring, and I'm really regretting how much more weeding and watering I have to do.

The improvement of soil quality, which makes planting and harvesting easier is also really nice. And the ability to plant as soon as the ground is thawed, or before it's fully thawed, and grow perennials in my veggie garden....  and...

Yes, lots of benefits, but to me, not having to touch a rototiller dwarfs the rest of them!
 
Marty Mitchell
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We have been getting overrun with tomatoes. The entire row of Celebrity tomatoes and Cherokee purple are just starting to produce now. Making about 8 quarts of spaghetti sauce each weekend. Giving away lots of veggies (still acquiring preservation skills)

Just took out a chunk of the bell peppers today and put them in the freezer after cutting up and vacuum sealing.

Abundance!!!

Started planting transplants for Joi Choi, and a few other cabbages last weekend. Doing loads of Broccoli this weekend. Other things will be coming up.

Should have a rocking Fall/Winter garden.

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I was going to say that most of the benefits you all mentioned are not from being no-till, but from mulch protection, policulture and its biodiversity.
But the pics are so great that I guess it doesn't really matter.

I especially appreciate having a look at a desert garden, since it is closer to what I have, so I have some reference for checking whether what I am doing is on the right path.
 
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Catie George wrote:To me, by far the largest benefit of no till gardening is not having to till.
Yes, lots of benefits, but to me, not having to touch a rototiller dwarfs the rest of them!


YES!, no more roaring, no more stinking, no gas runs, no wasted time changing oil, fixing tires, sharpening tines. Plus, my gardens have to be fenced so I gained roughly 2500 sq ft of growing space just by eliminating the need to maneuver that thing between rows and turn it around at the ends.

Abraham Palma wrote:I was going to say that most of the benefits you all mentioned are not from being no-till, but from mulch protection, policulture and its biodiversity.


Ah, but those things are far more difficult if a tiller is involved.
 
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I too agree that the main benefit is not having to till.  One of the first purchases I made as a young widow was a rear-time tiller as I was tired of the constant tinkering to get the old front-tine beast going and then have it drag me across the garden.  Slowly I got away from tilling and actually gifted my tiller to my parent's a few years ago as I can't seem to get them on the no-till wagon.  

The second and probably most important benefit  is the improvement in soil quality.  About half of my first raised bed garden is atop an old gravel driveway which in most people's mind would be a recipe for disaster.  But actually the addition of mulch in the beds and wood chips in the paths have created some amazing soil that the plants love.  My paths are becoming fertile too as the wood chips break down.  One only has to lift mulch or dig  a few inches to find earthworms. Plus with the raised beds I can usually go out the day after a rain and plant something whereas the conventional garden method would have me sinking in sticky muck if I attempted that.  

Weeding takes an average of a half-hour every month for 10 beds and I'm probably overestimating that.  

I'm still watering mostly by hand though I do attach a hose to one of the rain barrels and methodically move it around every few minutes in an effort to evenly water.  In the future I'm hoping to implement a simple drip irrigation system.
 
Kim Goodwin
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Your tomatoes look awesome Marty!  Your whole garden does. I love seeing the pictures.

Here's the desert garden update. First, tomatoes are slow in the early part of the summer. The heat really stresses them and the pollen isn't viable above a certain temp (some places say 88-90F).  We've had nights in the 80's, so it's not a big shock that I don't have many yet.  I'm getting a few on each plant, but the bumper crop will likely come around late August, based on my past few years experience.

Also, Abraham Palma, thank you for the comment.  I'm in a somewhat similar situation. We average 300-350mm rain, the soil sounds similar to yours (at the garden below it's the consistency of an adobe brick when dry, a pick is needed to make our beds, too), lots of days above 100F (we've had a bunch above 107F this year). Thanks for sharing.  I have a relative near Barcelona who is learning permaculture and I'm going to direct her towards your link!

So the update in pictures from the past month or so:
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trellis and garden filled out after an early July monsoon season
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first year garden has less diversity, but high production
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I leave lots of native wildflowers in place in our gardens - the yellow flower is one such volunteer
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in background, raspberries are shaded by ageratum, intentionally
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butternut will be gone next year, leaving perennial chufa and leek bed
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Massive side sprouts on this heat tolerant broccoli - 5x the initial head
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July harvest of kohlrabi, broc side sprouts, basil, and rattlesnake pole beans
 
Kim Goodwin
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Here are more detailed explanations for my last pics above. Pictures are from July 2022.

1. The trellis garden is a second year garden. Currently in food production in July are pole beans (starting to fade from hot weather, will come back); long beans (just coming in to their own); potato onions, shallots, and elephant garlic drying down; garlic chives flowering and filling out; parsley & fennel going to seed but still producing good foliage; many varieties of peppers ripening; tomatillos starting to fill out fruits; one volunteer tomato fruiting. Lots of culinary herbs doing well, sunchokes filling out along back fenceline, medicinal herbs and flowers in bloom or seed.  Some plants going dormant, like daylilies. Meanwhile longer term perennials like grapes and moringa are growing slowly.

2. Water tank in background photo. That's a first year garden started in January, 2022.  Main annuals growing there at the moment are butternut, broccoli, eggplant, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, amaranth, melons, basil, buckwheat, and hot peppers. While those annuals produce, the perennials are slowly filling in - except cardoon and chufa which are anything but slow!  Next year this garden will transition into a primarily perennial garden. There are currently 18 species of perennials in there, including artichokes, cardoon, leeks, chufa, Portuguese kale, blackberries, raspberries, sand cherry, chufa, leeks, figs, quince, and pineapple guava.

3.  Wildflowers growing in garden photo. There are about 8 main wildflowers growing in this garden right now, flowering, which are drawing lots of bumblebees, solitary bees, butterflies and wasps. We let wild plants do as much of the work as possible.  In the desert, most of the wildflowers come up at the edges of beds or in pathways - areas that are drier than a typical garden bed.  They are a great way of mananing drier edges or ends of beds.

On the left side of the picture, the plastic containers are covering melons. I've found that cukes and melons grow better during their establishment period if under cover of some sort - even on 107F days!  Those are 1 gallon containers like from vinegar or oil, with the bottoms cut off and the lid removed for ventilation. I'll leave them on until the plants fill out inside, then remove them a couple hours at a time at first to harden the plants off.

4. Basil, broccoli, cuke picture. There are also blackberries in there, getting established along the trellis.  Blackberries grow well in the desert, but raspberries find it a lot harder in extreme heat and wind. I got the raspberry plants from a friend here who grew them in heavy shade under a tree.  To mimic this atmosphere somewhat, we put them in this garden which is shaded from western sun, and planted the popular Texas wild-and- garden flower ageratum around them.  My experience in Oregon is that raspberries don't mind crowding and are vigorous when given the right conditions. I'm trying to replicate that here using positioning and fast growing annuals with similar water requirements, like the ageratum. That's the little light blue-purple poof flowers in the background of this picture, and you can see a raspberry there too.

5. The chufa-leek-butternut photo is of a sunken bed that we first planted with leeks, flax and wheat early this spring.  Then added the butternut also early spring. We've found we can get two crops of butternut here in this desert if we plant them before the last frost, from seed, and with a tiny amount of frost protection. (Our first crop is coming near when it can be harvested for fresh eating as a sweet squash.   Butternut is also awesome as an immature summer squash.) For our location, the sunken bed provides enough frost protection for at least a couple of the butternut seedlings to live, but we do have to put little cages over them to keep kangaroo rats form eating them early on.

The wheat was harvested, the butternut filled in and have lots of fruit, the leeks filled out and are getting larger on one side. Then I put the chufa in on the other side of the bed (not competing with the leeks).  Chufa is Cyperus esculentus, a tuber-producing sedge, also called Tigernut, earth almond, an ancient food that is the original thing"horchata" was made from. It is filling out under the butternut.  Once the annual butternut is gone, this bed will be mainly a chufa and perennial leek bed.

6. I'm holding only three of the side sprouts from the biggest summer broccoli plant that was started in early spring. That plant has now produced 5 more side sprouts, which though they were small, made a big batch of stir fry.  The plants are shooting out some more, still!  Those are Gypsy, a heat tolerant hybrid. I'm also growing De Cicco -a heat tolerant heirloom, and still have another heat tolerant hybrid and the open pollinated Waltham 29 to go in for fall.  This is my first year growing any hybrids, and I'm mainly doing it for comparison this year. I like to try multiple types of one plant, trialing them to see how they do in the extreme desert climate.  

This year we are growing the 4 types of broccoli, and 12 types of tomatoes - three of which did well for us in previous years.  Tomatoes and broccoli are some of the challenging crops to grow in the desert, so I find that our own personal variety trials are very valuable.  I choose some of the "contestants" from variety trials published by the state master gardeners and extension services, in our case, from Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. Others I pick from online lists of regular people talking about what grew well for them in the desert.  And I also check Dave'sGarden and Baker Creek for variety reviews from people in Texas, NM, and AZ.  Or Palm Springs, CA or the Joshua Tree regions.

7. A July harvest of Aji Amarillo "Chinchi strain" peppers, Gypsy broccoli side sprouts, Opal and Genovese basil, the last of the spring planted purple kohlrabi, and the most wonderful tasting green pole bean in my opinion thus far - Rattlesnake Pole.  So sweet and tender.  We also have cucumbers, long beans, eggplant, a few other hot peppers and a small amount of tomatoes ready, plus loads of staples like green onions, garlic chives, and loads of culinary herbs. Stored indoors in the fridge are this spring's sweet onions. Unzen flat was a favorite...
 
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Everyone I am loving the comments and experiences with no-till. Thank you for the great inputs!!!

Kim Goodwin wrote:Your tomatoes look awesome Marty!  Your whole garden does. I love seeing the pictures.



Thank you for the compliment, Kim!

Just some FYI... your garden is very beautiful as well!!! I keep zooming into the pics to see if I can learn some high-heat tricks.

Also, what is that secret heat-tolerant broccoli!?!?! I am just getting into the broccoli game and have been just doing it in the Fall thru mid-Winter and Spring crops.

If I were to be able to do a Summer crop as well... we would not have to freeze as much. Which would free up space for more Fall/Spring crops like potatoes, onions, and garlic. Things we eat like crazy and can't grow enough.

Next year during the Summer, I aim to cut the 16' row of cucumbers in 1/2; which will make room for two 8' rows of broccoli (and kale if you know a heat tolerant type?)

My kale and such always bolt just as soon as we get the super early heat waves in mid Spring. I am hoping the deep mulch I now have applied will turn that around since the soil will be 40F cooler. Know of some hear tolerant kale too??? I have just been growing a "dwarf' cultivar so far... that ends up being 3' wide x 5' tall before it bolts.

Thank you for sharing!

EDIT:
I saw your comment that is just prior to this one for the Broccoli type. I am gonna look it up online to see if I can find some seed!!!
 
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Marty Mitchell wrote:Also, what is that secret heat-tolerant broccoli!?!?! I am just getting into the broccoli game and have been just doing it in the Fall thru mid-Winter and Spring crops.

If I were to be able to do a Summer crop as well... we would not have to freeze as much. Which would free up space for more Fall/Spring crops like potatoes, onions, and garlic. Things we eat like crazy and can't grow enough.



Depending on how you want to go about it - open pollinated or not... here are a couple resources.  The standard broccoli sold by Terrior seed from Arizona is De Cicco and Calabrese.  Those are two that are rather heat tolerant, but they have specific growing requirements - read up if you try them.  For example, De Cicco seems to need a period of cooling weather to sprout in some regions. Another old favorite is Waltham 29  -an open pollinated one with some level of heat tolerance.

If you are willing to try hybrids, or if you just want to see how Johnny's recommends farmers go about providing broccoli all year round, read this chart and growing guide. It's so helpful, very illuminating as to planting times and plant tolerances/needs.  It also tells which varieties they sell are the most heat and cold tolerant.  And you can obtain those varieties from other places, oftentimes.

Johnny's STANDARD BROCCOLI Planting Program - keys to succession

My kale and such always bolt just as soon as we get the super early heat waves in mid Spring. I am hoping the deep mulch I now have applied will turn that around since the soil will be 40F cooler. Know of some hear tolerant kale too??? I have just been growing a "dwarf' cultivar so far... that ends up being 3' wide x 5' tall before it bolts.

Thank you for sharing!



I believe that Tuscan (Dinosaur) kale is one of the most heat tolerant, as is Portuguese Kale.  I like both. Portuguese kale is a short lived perennial, but lives longer if you remove the flowers. It was both cold and heat tolerant in the regions that I've grown it (PNW and desert SW).

Maybe others will share some of the varieties and techniques that have worked for them?
 
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Kim Goodwin wrote:

If you are willing to try hybrids, or if you just want to see how Johnny's recommends farmers go about providing broccoli all year round, read this chart and growing guide. It's so helpful, very illuminating as to planting times and plant tolerances/needs.  It also tells which varieties they sell are the most heat and cold tolerant.  And you can obtain those varieties from other places, oftentimes.

Johnny's STANDARD BROCCOLI Planting Program - keys to succession

I believe that Tuscan (Dinosaur) kale is one of the most heat tolerant, as is Portuguese Kale.  I like both. Portuguese kale is a short lived perennial, but lives longer if you remove the flowers. It was both cold and heat tolerant in the regions that I've grown it (PNW and desert SW).

Maybe others will share some of the varieties and techniques that have worked for them?



I do hope others chime in on that subject.

Thank you for the link. I shall disappear and read it now. It is too hot outside at the moment to be working in the sun after eating that big dinner I just had. lol Finished it off with a whole cucumber and some honey rock melon.

I actually got some seed of the Tuscan Kale this Spring but didn't grow it yet. I shall give that a shot!

I will give that hybrid Gypsy broccoli a shot as well.

I will totally try out hybrids so long as they work well. All a hybrid is... is taking two highly inbred plant strains and letting them pollinate... to produce a new strain that is not yet inbred. Which can cause higher vigor, production, and a stronger immune system. lol

I will always shy away from gmo though. That is just not natural... literally.

Thank you again!

~ Marty M.
 
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Yeah, more pics!!!

Kim, as I was reading the explanations... has she said 'chufa'? Maybe in plain English there's a plant with the same name... she can't be possibly making horchata in Oregon, or is it Australia? she mentioned kangaroos... Oh, my, yes it's horchata... It's perfect for a hot summer, but how does she know? ... Also, I thought only people from Valencia were allowed to produce the authentic horchata. I love it flavored with lemon peels and cinnamon, by the way.

Your climate is much harsher than mine and still your garden looks better. In our garden there are three major diificulties: since it's a NGO that distrusts money, we have no money for investments, pretty much everything is a donation or scanvenged; because affiliates treat it as a hobby, there's no constancy or responsibilities (even I have just a couple of hours per week for going to the garden); and finally we have little access to water, the town hall gives us 2000 litres every three months, and it takes weeks until refilling, plus whatever rains we have. We even had a drip irrigation system installed and now we've abandoned it. There are plans for installing a roof water catching system, but no one has the skills, the tools, the time and we can't pay for it.

I prune, mulch, plant new things, and see where it goes.

One thing I see in common with heat is that plants are smaller. This year, we've decided to move our efforts towards planting under the cover of established trees and planting more trees. We're now planting dwarf trees in our sunken beds. But it's not the right season yet.
 
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Abraham Palma wrote:Yeah, more pics!!!

Kim, as I was reading the explanations... has she said 'chufa'? Maybe in plain English there's a plant with the same name... she can't be possibly making horchata in Oregon, or is it Australia? she mentioned kangaroos... Oh, my, yes it's horchata... It's perfect for a hot summer, but how does she know? ... Also, I thought only people from Valencia were allowed to produce the authentic horchata. I love it flavored with lemon peels and cinnamon, by the way.



Hah! You put a big smile on my face this morning. The gardens you see above are in New Mexico, in the USA. I also grew chufa in Oregon in a wet, cool climate. Such a versatile plant.

Years ago, I was very, very ill. I became unable to eat most foods without severe gut reactions. To get out of that very difficult scenario, I switched to a diet of foods that I'd never had before.  Sometimes I'd still have a reaction to a new food, but I found a lot of traditional foods from other countries were fine for me.  I learned to eat many of the things you find in an ethinic grocery stores, for example. Cassava became a staple for me.

Whenever I saw a new food item, I tried it. One day "Tigernuts" popped up on the shelf of a natural foods store I frequented. It was new to the US - chufa being marketed as Tigernuts by an enterprising company.  They still haven't taken off here like one might think they would.  I think that's in part because the Tigernut company recommends you just eat them as a snack, out of hand.  That is waaaay toooooo much chewing for my jaws.

Thankfully, I learned about making horchata with them instead. That is delicious! Thank you for the recipe suggestion, that sounds amazing and I will try it.

I recently posted more about them here, and included pictures of the US brand: https://permies.com/t/187693/perennial-vegetables/Perennial-plants-produce-year#1505651  I suspect that chufa may be the highest fat, most calorie dense fast perennial food crop. As in for first year production, versus tree nuts, other nuts, avocados, etc.  I brought this up as a possibility for the future GAMECOD reality show participants.

Your climate is much harsher than mine and still your garden looks better. In our garden there are three major diificulties: since it's a NGO that distrusts money, we have no money for investments, pretty much everything is a donation or scavenged; because affiliates treat it as a hobby, there's no constancy or responsibilities (even I have just a couple of hours per week for going to the garden); and finally we have little access to water, the town hall gives us 2000 litres every three months, and it takes weeks until refilling, plus whatever rains we have. We even had a drip irrigation system installed and now we've abandoned it. There are plans for installing a roof water catching system, but no one has the skills, the tools, the time and we can't pay for it.



I get that. I think it's a fantastic effort especially considering the volunteer budget, the money/matierials budget and the WATER budget.  Wow. Excellent work.

Here is a weird thing I never would have expected before moving to the desert - arid desert gardening has less weeding than regions with more water, like 500mm and up.  That leap in rainwater means little year round explosions of reseeding plants.  Weeding in the more extreme deserts is ridiculously easy.  Friends from Oregon look at my pictures and think that I'm "really keeping up on that weeding!!"  No.  There is barely any as compared to other places I've been.

One thing I see in common with heat is that plants are smaller. This year, we've decided to move our efforts towards planting under the cover of established trees and planting more trees. We're now planting dwarf trees in our sunken beds. But it's not the right season yet.



Yes! Isn't that interesting how extreme heat affects size so dramatically? And drying winds, too. The plants stay very small a long time, and then finally much later in the season grows near the size I expected. This even happens early in the season.

I have friends here who grow under a makeshift hoophouse using old curtains and sheets as a cover.  This looks sort of funny - a patchwork quilt look.  Under the hoophouse, they water with a sprinkler.  It feels like a different climate under there, cool and humid.  Their plants were 4x the size of mine at the same time two months ago. Some of my outdoor plant have just caught up, like cucumbers.

Thanks for sharing.  This is turning into a very fun and educational thread.
 
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Abraham, in your picture from your thread about the Gardens of the Orchard Dignity - the triangle bed with leeks and artichoke - what is the leafy green?

This picture of a triangular sunken, water catchment bed is from Abraham Palma's thread: https://permies.com/t/175744/permaculture-sites/permaculture-projects/Project-Gardens-Orchard-Dignity


I'm impressed by the low water use, and water catchment beds.  I look forward to seeing more pics as everything matures.

This thread is great for seeing how these things can be done across many climates.  Marty's Virginia garden also revealed to me what an amazing growing region the Central East coast of the  US is, when you know how to apply techniques, of course.  Tomatoes en masse so soon - that is wonderful.
 
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Oh, that's a roman lettuce and a chili pepper. These are plants I started from seed in my terrace. Both plants died in a heat wave in June. Only cannas have survived. Well, regrown.

I didn't expect them to survive July, but I was hoping to harvest them in June. We lost many many plants early June.
We planted a mulberry in the middle of one of those beds, and it died too. As I said, wrong season.
It shouldn't come as a surprise that this year wildfires are raging the whole country harder than ever.

We were very depressed about that, so we organised a children party with water guns and music for raising the morale and pleasing the spirit of the garden. Sadly I cannot post pics of the party, since parental consent is required.

Somehow, it worked but in a different way. This year figs are bigger and better tasting than ever.
I promise to take more recent pictures.

 
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I found a “No-till Growers” channel on YouTube

This is the only video I have watched so far. I aim to come back and dive in! I already feel like I gained an IQ point listening to this guy. Lol

He is doing a large no-till market garden with HEAVY use of cover crops for feeding the soil.

https://youtu.be/0xvp8sWY6Fk

 
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