Posts Tagged ‘arizona desert botanical garden’

The Arizona Desert Botanical Garden is going to have their spring sale on March 18 and 19th.   I am getting ready by figuring out what plants they will most likely have that would be good to have growing in the backyard for when civilization conks out. 

Thanks to itsadisaster over at the American Preppers Network Forum, I found the great Desert Harvesters website.   Along the left side of the Desert Harvesters site is the list of trees that provide food and also tons of great information.  

I will be looking for..

  • Ironweed
  • Mesquite (already two in the backyard).  The Velvet Mesquite is the best type of mesquite tree to plant.
  • Palo Verde.  The Foothills Palo Verde has better tasking (sweeter) seeds than the Blue Palo Verde.
  • Prickly Pear (good for fruits, but this plant is so easy to find, do I really want to use precious space in the backyard on it?)

 

shots from 4 years ago, trees purchased at last sale I went to.

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This weekend was mostly a research weekend.

First, I re-visited the Arizona Desert Botanical Garden and snapped off some more pictures of plants that I can use for food.

garden with dave Jan 2011 005

I also spent a couple of hours staring at the place I plan to have my garden, and trying to figure out how I would approach it and realized I had no idea of how to start.  So I decided to swing by The Grow House in beautiful Downtown Phoenix and study what they had going on.  The Grow House is an urban farm, which means they took a regular house and are wringing as much food out of it as possible.  I ended up meeting a gentleman (whose name I think was Brandian) who gave me a quick down and dirty tour.

The most important lesson was to make sure you make good berms to catch the water.  He said when he first moved out here from New Jersey, he had a hard time with all the “good soil and space” they were wasting on making berms, but he eventually “just had to let that go.”  A good berm is the key to growing in AZ. He was not as considered about the East-West vs North-South issue.

Next step on Garden is to research a site suggested by Melinda, PBS- Victory Garden.

I also did a bunch of reading about how to snare animals and read somewhere along the way that guitar strings make for good snares.  Apparently I know a lot of people who have old guitar strings.  I thought about making a donation box at the Trunk Space but Steph, the owner, is a vegetarian  so maybe I should not do that.  She got really mad at me when I told her my story about eating monkey meat.

I am going to do my first attempt at snaring the gophers in my yard next weekend.  My plan is to then skin and eat the gopher.

On a side note, internet searching led to Urban Dictionary and according got them a berm is “One who lacks the basic hygienic and social skills to lead a productive life.”

On another side note, my first attempt at gathering manure failed.  Anybody know where I can get my hands on some poop?

The main goal of this weekend is to start learning how to gather useful plants in the desert. I still have trouble identifying a Mesquite tree from a Palo Verde from a Juniper tree; despite having lived in Phoenix for 8 years.

Here is my plan of how to start learning this stuff. First, last weekend I went to the Arizona Desert Botanical Garden for preliminary research. The one part I really liked was their “Plants and People of the Sonora Desert” path. They had the plants labeled along with a word of two of what the practical uses was of each. I snapped off some shots , but I think I need to return to better photograph and study the plants.

arizona desert botanical garden
Katie at the Desert Botanical Garden.

Step two will be to revisit my edible foods manual I made a couple of years ago when taking a class at the Reevis Mountain School of self-reliance in the Superstition Mountains of AZ. Peter Bigfoot, our awesome instructor, led us as we wandered around his property while we gathered plants , taped them into our book and then took notes.

Peter Bigfoot eating poison ivy

Step three, wander into the desert with my photos from the Botanical Gardern and my old manual and see what I find.