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Please welcome new members here and if you have not introduced yourself yet, take a minute to let people know a little bit about yourself.

Newbie from the high desert of Arizona

Postby Dbplants » Tue May 14, 2013 9:14 am

Posts: 4
Joined: Tue May 14, 2013 7:36 am
Climate Zone: z8
This is a great forum and resource, I wish Id have found it sooner! Ive been 'trying' to garden here in Arizona at 3200' for 12 years now and its a learning experience everyday. Where I currently reside we regularly see 110'F in the summer and a low of 10-15'F in the winter (this past winter we saw 0'F) We get 14" of rain annually, mostly in July and August. Soil and water are highly alkaline and have large amounts of dissolved minerals and salt. And to top it all off Texas root rot is (was) present throughout the property. I have removed many mesquite and added tons of compost/organic matter to this property for the past 9 years and finally seem to have overcome the Texas root rot enough to begin planting fruiting trees/shrubs. I would love to hear from others in similar climates/situations who have managed to build a "food forest"

Re: Newbie from the high desert of Arizona

Postby Axel » Thu May 16, 2013 9:01 am

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Site Admin
Posts: 3533
Joined: Thu Nov 18, 2010 8:49 pm
Location: Hanalei Bay, HI & Fallbrook, CA
Climate Zone: 12b/H2 & 10b/S23
Welcome. You've got quite a challenging climate but you get tons of heat, which means you can grow all sorts of things we have trouble with. I've never heard of Texas root rot. What is it? Is it something endemic to Southwest style hot climates?
Tropical gardening in both Kaua'i windward Sunset H2/USDA 12b and Fallbrook Sunset 23/USDA 10b.

Re: Newbie from the high desert of Arizona

Postby Dbplants » Thu May 16, 2013 3:22 pm

Posts: 4
Joined: Tue May 14, 2013 7:36 am
Climate Zone: z8
Thanks Axel. Cant deny that we get plenty of heat and a pretty long growing season, great for growing annuals, but the temperature swings especially in Spring are especially challenging, as is finding enough shade :). Texas root rot (cotton root rot) 'Phymatotrichopsis omnivora' is common to Mexico and the Southwest, it is a soil-borne fungus that attacks a plants roots in midsummer generally having consumed 90% of the roots before symptoms show on above ground growth, and recovery is unlikely. It affects thousands of species, in fact the only commercially available fruit tree with immunity is the pomegranate and the mulberry tree has good resistance. It is harbored by mesquite trees which are unaffected but quite good at spreading it (through compost, leaf fall) in fact during our summer monsoons Ive seen it express itself as large areas under the mesquites looking like gallons of pancake batter that have been haphazardly spilled about. When we first aquired the property I excitedly planted out a small orchard of all the commonly available fruit trees only to have everything except a pomegranate (and a peach which survived a few years) die the summer following summer.

I have been avidly composting since the day we moved in 9 years ago and also keep a number of small livestock to increase the organic matter in the soil. I have also planted about 20 different species of bamboo to help create a sheltered microclimate around my intended "food forest" (monocots ie. bamboo are immune to texas root rot). I have removed all mesquite trees from the immediate area and have had luck so far with a peach, apricot, cherry, fig, strawberry tree, grapes, elderberry, goumi, jujube, che, rosehips, walnut, and of course the pomegranates and mulberry trees. Well at least a few of those have survived a few years. So anyhow Im just excited to be finally able to begin what I set out to do many years ago.

Re: Newbie from the high desert of Arizona

Postby Phacelia » Sun Jun 02, 2013 9:16 am

Posts: 22
Joined: Fri May 03, 2013 7:54 pm
Location: coastal mediterranean california. Urban. SF Bay Area.
Climate Zone: Sunset 17, USDA 10
Hi, Dbplants ! Looking forward to following your progress. I have family living in Tucson (low desert), and I have gardened in different climates. I also joined this forum recently. I Currently I live in coastal Mediterranean gardening conditions, but I feel very keyed into desert gardening. Some day when I have more time I would like to discuss with you about soil life, and keeping it balanced. One thing I really wanted to make sure that you know about is a resource called NativeSeedsearch. All the seeds they sell are super desert adapted, having been saved from open pollinated varieties usually on Indian reservations. Check out Nativeseeds search in Tucson for food sources that are happy nearby Mesquite Trees, OK? Take care.

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