PDC Day 9: Dry Lands

Dusty African road

It has been a very long time since I tried gardening (unsuccessfully, except for monster zucchini around the outdoor shower) in a hot, dry climate, so the material in this section didn’t “sink in” as well as that of the Humid Cool and Cold Climates┬áthe day before.

Which is the problem in those climates: you have to work hard to let every possible bit of rain sink in and be productive. Instead of raised garden beds you make sunken beds. You plant shade trees and create cooler microclimates around them where other things will grow.

You harvest rainwater and graywater as much as you can (at least I did that right!). Water is the key limiting factor, not sun.

Permaculturalists in hot, dry climates use swales, but they plant in the ditch and walk on the berm, the opposite of what you would do in a wet climate.

And miracles are possible. Here is a remarkable example from Borneo:

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