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High Desert Gardening • The Misconceptions • The Reasonable Landscape • The Zones Bill McDorman • Seeds Trust • High Altitude Gardens • bm@seedsave.org • seedstrust.com PATTERN RECOGNITION Current model is not sustainable. The West is running out water. Complex biological problem.

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High Desert Gardening

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High desert gardening l.jpg

High Desert Gardening

• The Misconceptions

• The Reasonable Landscape

• The Zones

Bill McDorman • Seeds Trust • High Altitude Gardens • bm@seedsave.org • seedstrust.com


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PATTERN RECOGNITION

  • Current model is not sustainable.

  • The West is running out water.

  • Complex biological problem.

  • Young human culture.


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MISCONCEPTIONS

  • We can put it back.

  • The Church of the Native will save us.

  • Pandoras Box.


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You Can’t Put it Back

Cost is not the issue.

Manage succession.

False horizons.


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Church of the Native

Native is where we start the discussion, not end it.

Imprecise definition.

The lilac factor.

Don’t use non-native pioneer species.


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Don’t Open Pandora’s Box

“Fence undisturbed areas in any construction zone.”

“Mow sagebrush areas that need clearing. A brush cutter at 6-8” works fine. You will unleash an incredible diversity of wildflowers and native grasses with much less danger of invasive pioneer weeds.”


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Sustainable and Beautiful

Minimizes water, maintenance and biocides.

THE REASONABLE LANDSCAPE

Successful Strategies

  • Water is the key.

  • Sheet mulch when possible.

  • Zone properly.


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“Turn Down Your Water and Turn Down Your Problems.”

Florence Muldar Mackey


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I think I made a mistake in this garden. I think it was a mistake to use any water at all.


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Penstemon quickly became Florence’s favorite.


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Sheet Mulch When Possible

Unmowed grass

2 - 10 layers of paper or cardboard

Layers of carbon, nitrogen and soil.


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1) Ornamentals/ Vegetables

Zones 1, 2, 3

Wildflower mixes

“Scale the time, energy and cost of your project according to you zones.”

3) Native Grasses


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Location Location Location

Choose or create well-protected, south-facing sites. Even a small angle of slope to the south can dramatically increase soil warmth. Surround warm season crops with large rocks or concrete walls that collect the sun's heat during the day and protect from frost at night. Tall-growing crops or permanent hedges will protect larger gardens and fields. It is worthy to note an old Chinese saying: Select proper site for garden and half the work is done.


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I added a month to my growing season by adding south facing rocks.


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How to Grow More Vegetables by John Jeavons


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My Solar Pod won me the “gardener of the month” award in April.


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Solar Gardening by Poisson


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Wildflower Mixes

“Take full advantage of knowing why we still call some flowers wild.”


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Heart of Idaho

“Change is always greatest at the beginning of any new plant succesion.”


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Mix flowers must work quickly, but not work too well.

Ultimately, everyone must design their own mix for each of their own locations.


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Native Grass Alternative

Sheep Fescue • Festuca ovina


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Festuca ovina, 1 lb. per 1,000 sq./ft.


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Canadian BluegrassPoa compressa var. Rubens1 1/2 lbs. per M


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Permaculture Design CourseApril 16 -29, 2006Bliss, IdahoA fully accredited course will be taught in three 4-day segments by certified permaculture facilitator/activist Larry Santoyo.www.Idaho Permaculture.com

Bill McDorman • Seeds Trust • High Altitude Gardens • bm@seedsave.org • seedstrust.com


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Help us. Grow something. Save the seeds. Have fun. Thank you.

Bill McDorman • Seeds Trust • High Altitude Gardens • bm@seedsave.org • seedstrust.com


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