Greening My Very Own Desert – Planting in Harsh Climates

With the recent fires, the super hot/dry summer, and the unfinished well I don’t exactly have the ideal scenario for planting vegetation on the property.

In the past I did some fairly in depth research on the work of Geoff Lawton and his project “Greening the Dessert.” You can see the details of his project here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K1rKDXuZ8C0Greening our desert landscape using Geoff Lawton's design.
I decided to use these same principles to get plants started on our land. I picked a site that was home to the lone aspen tree on our property. This area appears to be getting some natural water runoff as there are several other small green plants in the vicinity.


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My selection for the area was a black raspberry plant. These are extremely hardy, self-propagate extremely well, have thorns to protect themselves against the local deer population in our absence, and produce a very tasty fruit. I dug a 2ft by 3ft rectangular pit about 1ft deep and covered the inside with pond liner plastic. This barrier would prevent moisture from seeping deeper down into the ground and would keep it accessible to the roots of my plant. I filled in the hole with soil while mixing in coffee grounds we had obtained for free from a local coffee shop for added nutrients and planted the black raspberry.

Greening Our Desert 2
In hot areas like this the sun can evaporate water off of the surface and dry out the soil. In order to prevent this I added a layer of hay as mulch to act as a protective skin for the soil.

The final step was to prop up a shade barrier to keep the sun from baking the plant. The white paint on the metal sheeting should in theory reflect some of the heat and provide shade for the plant until it gets further established.

In addition I dug a swale to guide water from the culvert directly to this area of the land. Hopefully it is able to handle the harsh conditions. I will post the results in a few months.

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