For those of you interested in an indoor farmers market, you should be aware of three markets that have either opened or will open in the next month. Indoor markets are a necessity for producers growing leafy greens and herbs that can be destroyed very quickly in our desert heat .
The first of these to open was the Tivoli market, which opened July 2 and will continue weekly on Saturdays. This is an extension of the Fresh 52 market but with an indoor option for producers.
The second market is scheduled to open on Thursdays, beginning at 10 a.m. July 14. It will be located downtown near the corner of Seventh Street and Ogden Avenue , which doubles as the Azul nightclub at night. Free parking is at the El Cortez parking garage .
The third market opening date and day of the week have not yet been announced but is planned for the Springs Preserve . Stay tuned and I will announce it here and on my blog as soon as I learn the day and date.
Q: I have a half acre with a chicken run. I was researching the idea of putting an orchard in that area and your name keeps popping up. I can’t find your list of trees or your high-density planting techniques. I know the soil needs improving so I am green manuring with buckwheat and soybeans. I figure that one way or the other my chickens will like it.
A: If you will go to my blog Xtremehorticulture of the Desert and search for "recommended fruit trees," you will see my list posted twice, once as a downloadable pdf document and the other posted in its entirety.
This past year the only nursery to carry my recommended fruit trees was Plant World on Charleston Boulevard. Any of their fruit trees with a tag from Dave Wilson Nursery, a large commercial grower , is from my list.
The idea of high-density planting is not mine but adapted from Dave Wilson Nursery out of the Modesto, Calif., area. You can find more information on the concept of multiple trees planted in a single hole at davewilsonnursery.com .
I produced some YouTube videos on growing fruit trees that can be found by typing "UNCE orchard" at the YouTube video website.
Green manure crops are plants that can be started from seed that will capture low amounts of nitrogen that exists in the soil or capture nitrogen from the air and return it to the soil. They also decompose and add organic matter.
I have mixed feelings about using green manure crops in the desert. Although they are tremendously beneficial to our soils and highly advantageous in most areas of the country, they may or may not make sense when using them in the desert, depending on your situation. The principle reason is water use.
A secondary reason is the time that green manure crops take out of production. And thirdly is their cost .
However, using them in a mixed planting where you are combining an orchard with chickens or other fowl, makes a lot of sense provided these animals do not ruin your production. I could see how you might be able to have a small orchard and, using the existing water required to irrigate your fruit trees, grow some green manure crops for soil improvement that would also double as food for your fowl.
Keep your costs low by growing winter and summer green manure crops from seed that are inexpensive and that will do well in our climate.
Recommended green manure crops from other climates may or may not work well here and it may be difficult to find inexpensive seed. I will make some further recommendations on green manure crops on my blog.
Q: I am sending some pictures of a Joshua tree that I transplanted. It survived in its old location off of Eastern Avenue for five years after the water was shut off. It also survived with its trunk buried with about a foot of soil. I am adding it to my drip system but I need to optimize my watering so the tree has its best chance at survival. I amended the planting hole with sulfur and bone meal. I watered it deeply every three to four weeks by hand. Now I have drippers that are watering for one hour every four days. In addition I frequently wet the top portion of the plant up to five times a week in hot weather to keep it from drying out.
A: These are tough to transplant and this tree was abused and still survived. It shows you how well-adapted these plants are to our desert environment if they are not watered too often and carefully relocated.
The key will be watering with lots of water, but not very often or you may rot the trunk and any roots that might grow. I would suggest watering about every two weeks with about 10-20 gallons in a depression around the trunk.
After the plant shows signs of new growth, then the frequency of your watering will dictate how it looks and grows. If you want a Joshua tree with limbs that are long, kind of spindly and solid green, then continue watering every two weeks during the summer. I have a hard time aesthetically liking this in appearance because they do not look this way in nature.
If you want a Joshua tree with a tuft of green growth at the ends of the branches and the rest of the limb brown (more like you see in nature), then don’t put it on drip irrigation. After signs of new growth, begin watering seasonally by hand with a large volume of water around its base. What I mean by seasonally is water deeply perhaps once or twice in the spring, once during the summer and once during the winter. At some future date you may elect to eliminate the summer watering if you want more brown on the limbs.
Make sure it is staked securely in the soil so the trunk does not move for one growing season. This plant will respond to a new location if you use soil that has been amended with compost or other soil improvements.
Wetting any part of the aboveground tree with water, like spraying it with a hose or mister is a waste of time, not needed and may prove to be detrimental to the plant.
Bob Morris is a horticulture expert living in Las Vegas. Visit his blog at xtremehorticulture.blogspot.com.