Friday, August 28, 2015

Growing a garden in the midst of a drought...



I strive for all low water plants - some cactus , succulents, and perennials suitable to this climate... 
"If it can't live here with the water I provide - I allow it to die..."  Natural Selection... I also attempt to use natural "desert spacing " that avoids crowding plants together - but allows space between plants...

One of the secrets is using bricks to define where the water goes - I observed this method first in Spain... I put out the word that I was looking for free bricks and found many people eager to get rid of surplus bricks...  Basil is an exception to the low water rule - I 'baby' my basil and it gets extra water...
The other method is to use ½ inch rigid black plastic pipe attached directly to a water source... I can supply drip to these strawberries and they do well

A surprise this morning! - 8" cactus bloom - lasts for one night and morning only - so ephemeral - and so beautiful...We get incredible cactus blossoms in yellow, pink, white... all sizes and clusters

I have two tomato beds like this with a south facing wall behind them and a cement patio surface around them - moisture is available under the cement - and they are wonderfully productive all summer - until November... These are about 8 feet tall and 10 feet wide - they get occasional water...   This is my "Fresno" microclimate

Cactus varieties abound - they aren't petunias and roses but they have their own unique beauty

Next big crop coming up - Chinese Dates - Called Jujubes or Zizyphus,,, Sweet Reddish brown fruit with one seed in the center.  Yum!  ...going to be a big crop!

Potted cactus in the Patio area

One of my 2 wonderful fig trees - one  with light green fruit , the other purple figs... the nice thing about figs is how slowly they ripen - a few each day - never too many to handle

Lemon tree - we pick them as we use them all year long .  We also have apple trees, apricot, big purple plums,  and 2 kinds of Persimmons

A tall cactus - 5 ft. (S. American) - One advantage to low water gardening is that weeds dont grow - My major jobs are winter pruning and spring 'cleanup' - And the answer to getting it done is to work in small time intervals rather than big 'knock out' work sessions

Valencia Orange tree - fruit sweet and good for most of the year ( look closely for orange fruit hidden in foliage )  the sweetest and best oranges are those that are allowed to stay on the tree through a second season!

Peruvian guavas ripening - they are deep red/purple when ripe in October/November - I also have a Pineapple Guava

Wild Pacific ferns can deal with long dry summers

My sheep bell collection - each from a different country - a strong wind will make beautiful music

Avacado ripening

One variety of Aloe

Ripening Fuji persimmons

Home to many birds, reptiles, and insects ( ~95% of garden insects are beneficial ) - One of the first things I did when I laid out the garden was to build a convenient system of casual pathways to explore and enjoy the garden...

I pretty much water on demand - when I see signs of stress I give a general hand watering - and this depends on how many hot days we get...But watering is rare...

This garden has evolved in stages from lawn to perennial  natives (but they often grew too large or 'leggy' and were difficult to control with pruning).  Then I did research for alternatives that were suitable for this environment - and slowly I have collected plants that seem to like living here.  

 Two beautiful succulents - 

My raised bed Is where I grow many kitchen vegetables - kale, chard, beets, carrots, radishes,,, but we were gone all summer so I allowed it to dry up - it also has  a drip watering system

In the back you see my compost system which is a disaster without adequate water to "make' the compost... I am waiting for ( I hope ) winter rain