Our apple tree (more pics on Tumblr)
Before we bid on the farm we did some research into what it might take to get a production orchard up and running in the desert (i.e. are we crazy to even try this!!??).
We stuck a dwarf apple tree in the ground last year to see what would happen. And after not too much effort (i.e. no soil amendment, weekly watering in winter/daily watering in summer) he’s successfully produced about 10 apples.
We also found tons of interesting resources that gave us confidence (some of the best below, as well as a few other resources from the link database we’ve started).
We also renewed our commitment to planting natives and low-water use plants that are known to do well in the desert; and to using permaculture and other place-based techniques.
“Deciduous fruit trees do surprisingly well here in the desert…” An invaluable resource for tree types, chill hours, pruning and trouble-shooting.
A list for the Phoenix area which applies to here. See also The Xeric Zone for general info on Xeriscaping.
A database of trees you’ll find in the desert.
TED Talk on reversing “desertification” and combating climate change.
Nursery sources for edible and useful plants.
The gold standard for native reparation. Use their tool to find plants for your exact condition (CA residents only).
Native plant list and resources, including answers to questions like: “What does drought tolerant mean?”
A deep-dive into elements of the Joshua Tree National Park ecosystem.
Info on a growing technique using high density planting and successive ripening.
Database from a program funded by the National Institute of Health.
How to grow it with less irrigation: A – Z.
Created to provide young farmers, apprentices, and others with the resources necessary to begin farming or to expand their practice.