Drought Tolerant Gardens

Drought tolerant gardens are a hallmark of  resilient landscapes; in fact he need to farm and live in drought-stricken regions was a major inspiration for the development of permaculture. Drawing on indigenous and industrial practices, permaculture’s earliest practitioners deciphered ways to work with nature when water was scarce. The results have been encouraging, to say the least. Did you know that there is a 2,000-year-old food forest in Morocco? For two millennia, this ecosystem has not only survived but thrived in a desert climate. So how do we do it?

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As with every project, we think about the whole system and devise ways to ensure that the flows of nutrients, air, light and wind are protecting the water resource. The details of many of these approaches are covered on other pages (soil, water, access, keyline). We need all of them to nourish land with scarce water. Plant choice is also fundamental because there are limits to what can be done. It is not feasible to think that a lawn on a suburban lot can be maintained in a drought-friendly manner; too much water in needed in the summer months. But giving preference to species native to the Mediterranean climate, for instance, leads us to “summer dry” plants that either go dormant in the summer or have evolved mechanisms to subsist with very little water in summer months. The Oak Savanna is a lush, local example of this chaparral biome that is one of the most biodiverse ecosystems on the planet. To drought-proof your land, Permaculture Artisans draws on this model to design and build landscapes that can flourish with minimal water needs over the long term.

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