I just purchased a house in ABQ. I am eager to turn my backyard into a food and herb haven. I have been doing a lot of reading about urban homesteading. I am particularly discouraged about the lack of reference to dry climates. Does anyone have a good desert refence book or desert permaculture resource? I really want to find a way to produce a good amount of fruit and veggies in my yard while being drought aware. How do people plant fruit trees here? Most books reference espaliered trees for backyards to produce more fruit and variety. What sorts of drought tolerant fruiting bushes are good for the desert? What is your favorite nursery in ABQ? Where would you purchase fruit trees and grapes? Are there any events where backyard gardeners meet?
Congratulations on your purchase!
There are many, many high desert fruit trees available in ABQ. I have peach, plum, cherry (3 varieties) apple, apricot (depends where you are in town on this one), fig, - just to name a few - all on 1/3 acre.
Plus veggies and beneficial flowers.
You have to be willing to harvest the little water we get - rain from rooftops, water sponge holes for the trees - all traditional permaculture techniques work well here. LOTS of folks in town can guide you.
look at the following:
Fair warning: I am a graduate of the latter link. It works - even in ABQ
Come visit ecOasys high desert, a 14-year radical sustainability household/ subsistence horticulture demonstration, in North Campus neighbourhood. We've implemented most every ecological design & permaculture drylands technique, and started a small high- & dry-land seedbank & nursery collection with over 700 adapted varieties. We are working not just to conserve resources & produce food, survive drought & overcome irrigation salinisation, but especially to collect across the SW and high deserts of the world, select and breed, ever more adaptable edible plantscape candidates. 300 apple, 100 apricot, 100 grape, 60 each fig & pomegranate varieties, edible native, poultry forage matrix, etc, etc, etc
A visit to EcOasys high desert sounds like the perfect resource for me right now.
Where are you located and when is a good time for a visit?
We're in North Campus neighbourhood three blocks from Med & Law Schools. It'll have to be next week...we have a backlog of fruit tree grafting, vegetable starts, deck completion & preparations for a community gathering, and vineyard layout work...please email me at ecOasys@hot mail and I can send you some overview materials and contact info. Thanks, Patrik
On a different topic. For now I have inherited a lawn. Before we decide what we are doing with it we are letting it grow. I got a manual mower and the blade needs to be sharpened. We have called around a little bit and have been told the only available optionin ABQ is to get a kit and sharpen it ourselves. Has anyone done this? Is it difficult? Does anyone know of a place that would sharpen it for us?
We also got a house last year, total bare dirt yard, and are in the process of turning it into a permaculture urban garden - sounds like your goal too!
One person you might want to get in touch with is Michael Reed, of La Orilla Farm. He's a permaculture teacher and is currently teaching a class we signed up for called "The Mother of All Backyard Gardening Courses" : ) It's 12 classes over 6 months at his farm in the south valley. It just started so if you wanted to join up you could, I think you can do all the classes or just pick the ones you want. Its everything you'd want to know for backyard desert permaculture.
For books, we've liked Judith Phillips book, New Mexico Gardner's Guide. Its a great resource for all types of plants that work well here with low water. The focus is not on food production, but there are many food producing and wildlife plants in the book.
Bernalillo County Open Space has local experts give free gardening classes throughout the season, about 1-2 a month. We went to one on food forests and urban gardening that was great, and also where we met Michael Reed who was a speaker.
I would also recommend you check out permaculture websites and videos online. There are some great YouTube videos from all over the world illustrating techniques and tips. The permies.com website has a good forum.
Hope that helps!
Thanks for all of the tips and resources. I am in the process of collecting names and varieties of drought tolerant edible plants in order to make a better garden plan.