Monday, September 6, 2021

A few pictures from the reader out-West


Water is life
The reader who is growing plants in the Pinyon pine/Juniper zone agreed to let me publish some of his photos.

A lot of back-breaking labor went into contouring the property to ensure the maximum amount of any rain that fell did not LEAVE the property.

Run-off was directed into...

...swales that detained it long enough for the moisture to soak in

Spacing of plants is more generous than "back East" so each plant has a bigger block of soil/crumbly rock to mine moisture from

This is a photo taken after a rain.

He produces hundreds of seedlings a year in his nursery. Many things don't pan-out. Some do. It is like buying lottery tickets. Every site is highly specific in terms of soil, slope, substrate, moisture, shade, wind, heat, humidity, cold, speed plants must acclimate to season changes. What might work for somebody 2 miles away might not work for you.


  1. That's brave.. No irrigation, that is really putting all your hard work up to the fickle mother nature.
    Good luck ,,
    My grandfather was a farmer, he at least could irrigate.
    He couldn't keep hail from pounding his cotton flat the night before they were coming to harvest it..

    1. I may be guilting of presenting speculation as fact, but it is my belief that he has some, limited irrigation capability.

      I believe he uses it to establish his trees and may vary the point at which he irrigates to encourage the trees/bushes to drive their roots outward as far as possible.

      I think he is looking at all the twenty and thirty foot tall trees and thinking "If there is enough moisture for these trees to survive for a hundred years, then I can grow food-bearing trees if I copy their mode-of-growing"

      One thing that typing this reminded me of is that each pine/juniper is self mulching. The needles fall and create a high-organic duff beneath each tree. If memory serves, he tries to mimic that pile of duff with each tree he plants, perhaps even planting into the existing pile after removing a tree.

  2. With those plants, I'm sure he has irrigation. Where I am, no irrigation means a few limited species of undesirable plants...

  3. If I were a betting man, ReaderoutWest may be, and surely ought to be familiar with a dude named Geoff Lawton, and his greening of the deserts project.

    With newly created swales, trees planted on the downstream side of the swales, and a three tiered canopy, oasis can prosper.

    And I greatly admire your work, OutwestReader. Splendid few photos. And you too, Joe.

    1. Thank-you for your kind words.

      I am happy to bask in the reflected glow of other's greatness.

      I am blessed that people like OutwestReader trust me enough to share photos.

  4. Whenever I see something like this, I'm reminded of Frank Herbert's Dune and the Fremen project to "undesert" Arakis.


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