At 12:05 AM +0800 11/2/09, Anne Marie Wan wrote:
I practically live in the desert. The soil in my yard is sand and for me it
is a challenge to attempt to change the desert into a fertile field. It
rains only during the end of autumn, winter months and if we are lucky a
little in the early spring which means that in summer where rain is most
needed it is very dry.
I'm a gardener, not a farmer, and one of the seed catalogs I read
annually comes from a farm in Iowa that has sandy soil: Sand Hill
Preservation. Were I in your situation, I'd seek out farmers who have
similar conditions and find out what natural strategies were
I have a similar rainfall pattern here, but clay soil. I don't till,
I make and use lots of compost, and have occasionally used comfrey,
borage, and other plant teas. I've also come across some interesting
ideas about culturing indigenous microorganisms using rice-rinsing
water and cooked rice
(though as a vegan I'd avoid the milk preparations), which sound like
fun science experiments that could probably help any kind of soil.
Variety selection is one important factor. For instance, some
cucurbits in my garden attract cucumber beetles; others don't get
them at all. Timing of planting matters, too.
I think deep-rooted plants are another crucial element. In my garden,
comfrey is an easy deep-rooted plant.
I use lots of mulch (delivered free, from tree trimmers, plus the
occasional straw bale) to hold moisture in the dry season. If I had
more than a small garden and wanted to harvest or divert rainwater,
I'd look into swales.
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