Desertgardener319
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Permaculture in Mohave desert with 4 inches of rain.

Any tips for what to plant. 4 inches of rain a year isn't a lot to work with lol. I have rainwater coming off the roof watering a olive tree(1/3 of the rainwater off the entire house ends up at the tree).

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applestar
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Re: Permaculture in Mohave desert with 4 inches of rain.

Wow! I can't imagine the difficulties involved. But I have to say it seems like the olive tree is using all the water that you could possibly be using to grow more things if rearranged in some way? This reminds me of Frank Herbert's "Dune" -- in the book, the when they first arrive, the former Harkonnen palace in Arrakeen, capital city of dessert planet Arrakis has a line of I belive Date palms that each require enough water to keep x number of people alive as a show of power.

Have you read it? I always wonder if some of the techniques for growing in the dessert described in the book is actually fact and not just fiction.

I believe I have also read that following the permaculture concepts for conserving water and for selecting plants that are naturally mutually supportive in community groupings have made it possible to convert the soil and micro climate in dessert areas into a garden.

I think your plant choices will necessarily be a progressive and fluid selection according to what is NEEDED as nurse plants and soil building plants initially, more or less utility annuals and interim perennials to support the growth of long term perennial plants that perhaps won't be in production for the first few years.

Are you also utilizing grey water from your house?
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Permaculture in Mohave desert with 4 inches of rain.

Yes, a grey water system, even to capture some of it would make a huge difference to what you could grow.

And yes re nurse plants. I did a service trip with the Sierra Club in Joshua Tree National Park one time. It's high desert, so cooler, but also about 4" of annual rainfall. Joshua trees cope with this by making huge root systems, like 70 feet in diameter, which collect and store water from all that area. One of the things we did (along with eradicating invasive exotics - read weeding) was to "plant" dead shrubs. Just sticking dead dried out brush in the ground. The point of this was that it provides a little bit of shade AND funnels water (rain water or dew, condensation) down to the ground, like a collector.

You could see where people had done that in previous years. A little green oasis was forming around each one, even though we planted nothing but the dead brush.

Someone wrote in here recently from some desert place who was thinking about doing a sunken garden. It's the opposite of the raised beds the rest of us do to promote drainage. By sinking the garden, it helps collect the water as well as create shade on the plants. You can also make dry creekbeds lined with stone, which will channel water when it does come and give the illusion of a creek the rest of the time:

Image
https://www.coloradolandscapedesign.com/ ... ek-Bed.jpg

Of course mulch everything and add lots of compost/ organic materials to your soil, to help it hold moisture better. Plant drought tolerant stuff. If you are irrigating, only use drip irrigation under the mulch.
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Desertgardener319
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Re: Permaculture in Mohave desert with 4 inches of rain.

Thank yall for the tips. About the gray water collection. 1 my parents won't allow it (I'm only 14) 2 even if my parents did allow it the hoa at our house controls our septic system(we pay a fee every month). Thank yall for the tips!!

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applestar
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Re: Permaculture in Mohave desert with 4 inches of rain.

Here are few ideas for very *simple* daily grey water utilization. I'm mentioning this in case you haven't thought about it:

(1) when preparing meals, wash vegetables in several tubs or buckets of water
(2) save other cooking discard water like rinsing rice, pasta cooking and veg steaming water (don't use salt)
(3) take a 5 gal bucket in the shower with you (you need to use environmentally safe soap, shampoo and other products)

Use these saved water to water your garden.
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

Desertgardener319
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Re: Permaculture in Mohave desert with 4 inches of rain.

Thank you for the tips! I appreciate it!

Mr green
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Re: Permaculture in Mohave desert with 4 inches of rain.

Check out Geoff Lawton he has done several permaculture projects in deserts. Should fit you perfectly.

A short clip from the tube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ycLbO02lb7w
Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished - Lao Tzu

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