WANTED: desert legumes

Last night I did some research, but MOST info is for Southern Arizona where it rarely freezes.  We'd like to get plants that will LIVE through the winter.
I don't have several HOURS to read right now, but hope to get to reading the DELEP newsletters soon:
Desert Legume Program
Getting the link to post here, I got sidetracked and read the fascinating story of the Arizona Mesquite Company:

… We approached the National Parks Service who manages numerous parks located on the Colorado River which encompasses several bosques. The pods were considered a nuisance and they were happy to let me have them. In the summer of 2008 we raked and loaded 5000 lbs of pods and saved them from certain compost.
The pods were then cleaned hand sorted, washed and set in the sun to dry. …

They're growing mesquite for sale, food and lumber.  It's too bad they don't have a website, but you can order their organic mesquite flower online.
There's so much to read.
We have some mesquites, but I really don't like them because they BITE.
They're just about as bad as chollas, maybe even worse because you don't see the branches when they don't have leaves and I lost count of how many times I was bleeding when we built the lower garden and cow fence.  Our mesquites just got leaves a few weeks ago and most are actually NOT ours, but on the neighbor property along our fence line, where I'm happy to have them — outside.
Hopefully 0ur Chilean mesquite cuttings (no thorns) will grow roots, they have some nice leaves now.
In the meantime, we've been planting lots of beans, but we'd like to find some high desert legumes too.

6 thoughts on “WANTED: desert legumes”

  1. We have talked about this but I thought I’d say it here publicly. I’m in love with the palo verde a desert legume. No thornes on many varieties, beautiful flowers, wonderful flower and leaf litter on the ground and abundant food. Green beans may be eaten raw or fresh cooked like peas and dried pods make a great flour that I love in pancakes.
    On Omick.net he has some resource material on both mesquites and palo verdes. He has a link to Saquaro -Junniper which has a native foods diary that gives lots of native foods that can be picked and eaten in the desert. Book references too.

  2. Your palo verde is BEAUTIFUL, I was going to post that pic I took recently. Do you have a pic of it on your blog?
    But they’re HUGE. We still have our two Palo Verde seedlings in pots because we don’t know where to plant them until we finished the cow fence on the south side and then put them close to the property line, use some of the neighbor’s property.
    Between the driveways, house, future house, gardens and OTHER trees, this acre is surprisingly full.
    And we don’t just want to grow edible food, but plant legumes to enhance the soil and for shade. That’s a nice page at http://www.omick.net/native_foods/native_foods.htm and I also looked at their gardens, but they’re clearly LACKING all aspects of permaculture, they’re just food gardens.
    I was hoping to find some SMALL native legumes that won’t get very large, not like trees. And we’d like to be able to transplant them or not have to cry if we find they’re in the way and die. We’ve had a hard time with transplanting desert plants (other than cacti and willows).
    The pear tree branch a dust devil broke recently is now growing new leaves in the greenhouse. It actually looks better than the tree, but don’t know yet whether it has roots.
    Anyway, I was hoping to find some SMALL native legumes, maybe up to the size of a small bush.

  3. I’ll see what I can find. I ate a few of my palo verde peas this morning for breakfast along with two fat white figs. I’m just now snackiing on some of my little peaches.
    I’m a bit disapointed with the palo verde as many of the seed pods are blank/empty. This is a young tree and the first to seed out this year so I”m hoping the other two trees will have better quality seed pods.
    Yes, post the pic you took. I didn’t get a pic of it flowering. I have some pics on my blog of the seed pods on the tree and the seeds but not the flowering tree.
    I think a good project for this group would be to work on putting together some plant guilds. Varying height perinials that live well together I think Geoff Layton in his film listed 5 layers starting with tubers or roots, vines, small shrubs, small trees and over story trees. That’s what I can remember , if you have better or more inclusive remembrances we should share them. With guilds you can plant a lot more densely and they will sustain themselves once established.
    On David Omicks page that you listed if you go to the home page and click on history , down the page is a click for Sajauro-juniper association. Click on that and then you will find a Community garden page to click on . Go to Reveres garden and click on that . He has some waffle gardens he’s growing grain in. Also, his beautiful rock green house is something to see. Anna

  4. Thanks, Anna, that’s very interesting about the Walnuts and Hackberries, but of course I have none of these trees and I haven’t even seen walnuts recommended for our area. Still NO growth on the pecan.
    It’s really frustrating that all the permaculture research I see is about the LOW desert, like Kingman is the ass of the country.
    I’ve mentioned Prescott U and the Wolfberry Farm at the Yahoo group before (wish the search there worked) and I think that’s a MUCH better fit. I think they’re about the same elevation.
    Even Flagstaff would be better, at least the plants that grow there won’t freeze down here. But I haven’t gotten anything from the Flag Yahoo group in ages.
    And I have to find the pic of your palo verde again and have to post Greening the Desert, after all, that’s what got me started with the swales and trees.
    Was looking at kelp last night and want to order bulk, have to post the links with the best deals in a new post.

  5. I noticed that people are finding this old post through web searches and we’ve sure learned a LOT in the last couple years.
    For one, Palo Verdes may not make it here. We planted several last fall and had a very MILD winter, so we’re still hopeful that they made it. But generally we’re a bit too cold.
    Today we planted a robina (from Mike’s nursery in Golden Valley) and that’s a nitrogen fixer and it supposed to have great flowers.
    We also just got 22 plants from the NV state nursery in Vegas, see my post at http://highdesertpermaculture.org/blog/2012/02/11/trees-and-shrubs-from-the-nevada-state-nursery-in-las-vegas/
    And we started the High Desert Gardening Club, see http://highdesertdirt.com/high-desert-gardening/
    We’re working on getting all the summaries of the meetings online, along with the videos we watched.
    Check it out!

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