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Sunday, January 5, 2014

Suggested Reading for Desert Gardeners

Q. I happened upon your blog the other day.  I am curious if you'd have any info on education programs on site for learning to build gardens and grow food on desert land.  I study permaculture and green design in the Northwest and would like to eventually acquire some desert land to transform.
A. Horticulture in the desert is very different from other types of horticulture. I started in Wisconsin, through Colorado, Minnesota, Utah, Nevada and now in the tropics. It is taking me time to figure out the tropical side. Those that practice horticulture in wetter, temperate, more hospitable climates and never experienced it in the desert may think that it is all the same but it is not. I don’t know of any education programs online for studying it but knowing the basic principles helps. Those never change but how to apply them does.
            I would start with some books you can get from practitioners in Arizona and Nevada on gardening. You can subscribe to the Yahoo discussion group, desert horticulture and pose some questions or just eavesdrop. There is a lot to learn and I wish there was an easy way to do it but it will take just getting started and do it.

Here are some books you might look at. A word of caution. I have not looked at any of these so I would see what others have said about them. Perhaps other readers have their favorites. If you do, please comment!

Good sources of how to grow things in the desert from Cooperative Extension in Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas (make sure it is WEST Texas). California has not yet recognized that desert horticulture is different :-)

1 comment:

  1. Two of the books that I use the most in teaching gardening classes are Gardening in the deserts of Nevada by Mary Irish and Desert Gardening Fruits and vegetables by George Brrkbank. H Brown, Master Gardener