This mysterious map is our first pass at a site plan for the 20-acre property.
The map is oriented with nearby Mt. Nebo at the top, and the flood plain at the bottom, to illustrate the topography and downward slope of the site.
It is broken into areas 1 – 5
1 = Reparation: This area (and the blank area to the left of it) is mostly intact and needs only light repair to bring it back to native Creosote Scrub. A desert tortoise has a burrow at the top right corner of the site (orange circle) so our work in this area will be minimal.
2 = Xeriscape/Rainwater Catchment: Here we will take advantage of the large trenches dug by the previous owner, and the 20 living fruit trees (8 Persimmon, 12 Quince), to create a low-/no-water use area that ‘fingers’ down onto the rest of the site, following the slope of the land. Specifically this means we’ll dig more trenches to capture rainwater run-off, and also create large holes filled with mulch that act like sponges, bringing water from the surface underground. The new trees we plant will be native or near native fruit and pod trees, great in drought (Desert Willow, Palo Verde, Mesquite), with some fruit trees mixed in to see if they ‘take’ (Mulberry, Pomegranate, more Persimmon).
3 = Food Forest: This area is the public, communal, active area of the site. Here we’ll create native plant demonstration and production gardens and permaculture tree guilds, as well as build structures for working, events and farm stays.
4 = Irrigated Production Orchard: We’ll take advantage of the irrigation already laid into the site here, although we won’t likely plant in grids. We’ll choose fruiting trees that do well in the desert, and use lots of mulch, and other water retention techniques. Over time we hope to develop techniques for managing irrigated orchards in the desert using much less water than is typical today. We plan to open this area up to our neighbors as a community orchard co-op.
5 = Natives: This area of the site sits directly on the flood plain. Desert washes such as this host an amazing number of native plants that thrive in the mineral rich soil (see: Catclaw Acacia for one). We plan to introduce natives back into this area in abundance, to draw bees and birds, and for their medicinal properties. The idea is to ‘jump the fence’ and extend off the property here — the more natives we can plant in our area the better!
While the above seems quite daunting(!), we see this as a 10-year plan, with lots of adjustments along the way…