Author Topic: Land hypotheticals  (Read 5104 times)

Offline jd350az

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Land hypotheticals
« on: July 07, 2016, 02:18:17 PM »
I'm still searching for land to look into for a homestead and I came across an interesting plot with cheap land fairly close to town. I know why it's cheap, its on a flood plain. Most of the land around here(southern AZ) is because it's relatively flat and during monsoons it will sheet flood. I am watching permaculture videos to get as much education as I can so I want to run through a scenario with this land. I may buy it, but the main thing tthat sticks out is the seller put up a lot of great info on the site so it works well for a hypothetical scenario.

Pictures are in http://s1204.photobucket.com/user/jd350az/library/Avra%20Valley

Pictures show 2 fairly significant washes running through the property. This is on AO2 and AO3 level floodplain which means 2-3' of flooding is possible in a 1% catastrophic event(or 100 year flood). So the house will have to be built up 2-3 feet on foundation(manufactured home) but I am more curious about how to work the land to negate the affects and take advantage of the water when it is here. This is also the "worse of the 2 plots of land for sale in the area. One(blue outline on the google map image) is mostly AO2 and higher up out of the floodplain/wash area and the other(red box outline on map) is 90% AO3 with a 1acre spot that is AO2. The image with the road and a ditch along side was because a neighbor dug the ditch to keep people from driving onto the property(older images show lots of circles/doughnuts from trucks or something on the property).

Damn I keep rambling on, anyway... Will swales help soak up water in sheet floods? So it is roughly 660 feet square for both lots(roughly). Another thing is can I connect a swale to a wash? The wash runs along the side of one plot so would a swale touching the wash help divert water or take water from the swale system? Seems like it would take away. Would it be better to stop short of the wash and not mess with it? Is there anything to do in washes to slow the flow of water and help soak more of it into the ground or is it best to let nature do its thing? House placement and roads, if its possible and what I assume is correct, which is a gradual downslope as the land goes north would it be best to make the road come in from the side of the land in between swales and the house closer to the middle of the land? I still need to research house placement for optimum exposure/protection as well. Again this is all hypothetical and even if I do buy the land I am 6-12 months away from buying a house and moving there. I am thinking central to the land(if possible, mostly on the bottom lot, probably have to be SE corner if I took the North lot because of flood plan, etc) to help protect with a swale or two in front of the house to slow water and divert more. I would plan to collect roof water from the house in a cistern to use later.

What else would be good to look into for this type of land?

IF I do buy the land and am 6-12 months away from moving onto it what are some things I could do to kickstart the land while not needed a lot of everyday input? Probably a stupid idea because unless I planted something now before monsoons we would not get enough rain to support anything without water lol. If I found a source of free or cheap mulch and/or horse manure or something like that would it be a good idea to go spread it on that barren area? Would it do much if anything without planting and working the land?





Offline Cedar

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Re: Land hypotheticals
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2016, 02:46:19 PM »
I might sound like a grump in this reply, but bear with me.. I am looking out for you, even if i don't know you.

A. WHY!?! Why do you want THIS piece of land? Is it as you love this piece of land, or that you want a piece of land and you can afford this one?
B. What do you intend longterm with this piece of land?
C. Other than flooding what water source does it have? What is Plan B or C when that Main Source is hooped?
D. Swales will help soak up water. However, will they retain water in that soil? Are you working with a sieve/colander type of soil?
E. Is there any topsoil and if you build topsoil will it get washed away by the next great flood?
F. 100 Year Floodplains DO NOT mean they flood every 100 years, they flood AT LEAST ONCE every 100 years.
G. 2-3 feet of water is alot of water. Will it be slow water or 35knots-per-minute water?
H. Have you looked around the neighborhood to see what the neighbors are growing besides sand?

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Offline jd350az

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Re: Land hypotheticals
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2016, 03:15:28 PM »
A. Almost all land within the areas I am looking are in the flood plain, for only getting 11" of water per year there is a section of flood plain that is 30-50  miles wide and basically runs 100's of miles north. It's a flood plain and all throughout it are farms, orchards, etc. That's west of Tucson. Everything out east(within commuting distance to town for work and family) is expensive, rocky and steep hills/valleys so not very friendly for working the land. Further out gets cheaper but the land stays rough until you hit the next floodplain/dustbowl corridor.

B. Long term(maybe not this land, but probably something like it) build/buy a house, live in it, start a homestead, work until retirement or I am able to do enough on the land to retire early. Hence why I am staying close enough to commute to town for work.

C. Depending on where the land is in this section some have city water, some have wells. This particular land area is well water.

D. According to what I have seen they will once you do the work, probably need LOTS of mulch, especially in some of the areas.

E. Good question, I think the top soil needs help for sure, and building swales would be one hope to keep it from washing away.

F. I know, thats why I called it a 1% chance at catastrophic event. FWIW I have lived here all my life and we got a few 100 year floods, or so I thought but I have never seen those flat flood plains with anything more than a few inches of water. I have seen our normally dry rivers overflow the banks though, but they are a ways off.

G. Never seen it in the flood plains, usually its an inch or two and moves fairly fast because the top inch of soil or so gets wet and starts sheeting water away instead of soaking in. I've been riding quads while it's raining and after hours of rain you could still see dry dirt under the tire tracks as the mud picked up in the tires. I know the dirt would need a lot of help out there. But that's true for almost all of Southern AZ.

H. I haven't seen many gardens, but there is a small farm within a mile or two and 5 miles north or so is farms for miles. About 5 miles south in the same floodplain is the big pumpkin farm everyone goes to here hehe.

I also haven't looked TOO hard, I am still saving up money and mostly looking ahead. I am not married to this land either, just happened to find it last night and it had a lot of detailed pictures and plot information, etc.

I just thought it would be a cool brain storm idea to think about how I would work with this land.


Offline jd350az

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Re: Land hypotheticals
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2016, 11:16:15 PM »
I do appreciate the constructive criticism cedar:)

I knew about this video before but the links were always broken that linked to the map to site where it was, https://youtu.be/UOj4cnHHCzU

http://i1204.photobucket.com/albums/bb407/jd350az/Mobile%20Uploads/Screenshot_20160707-220746_zpsp9x7c4yl.png shows the area, the upper star by "picture rocks" is the land and the southern star is the swales in the video. 10 miles away. I zoomed out to show all the farms in the area. Most land I'm looking at is in this corridor and maybe a little further south.

Offline I.L.W.

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Re: Land hypotheticals
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2016, 08:33:17 AM »
I've been all over that area, and worked the land there, so I can respond to some of these.

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A. WHY!?! Why do you want THIS piece of land? Is it as you love this piece of land, or that you want a piece of land and you can afford this one?
This is a typical piece of land in the area. The landscape is mind-boggling in how homogenous it is. The soil types are all the same, vegetation is all the same, etc. There's no substantial difference between this and any other piece of land within a 200 mile radius. Once you do get into other landscapes (parts of Payson, Sedona etc) the price of land goes up by a factor of 50. If price was not an issue, I'd say look at Sedona (a 200 mile daily work commute is actually not uncommon there).

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C. Other than flooding what water source does it have? What is Plan B or C when that Main Source is hooped?

Excellent question. You need more than a well. The ground water is so hard, you can burn through well pumps quickly. The depth of the water (in most areas at least) demands a big pump to get the required head pressure. So if your well pump dies, you might need to come up with $2k on the spot and be without water until then. Reserve tanks are a necessity. You can use cheaper constant, low-flow pumps to feed to a water tower as well.

The ground there is almost impermeable (hence the flooding), but that makes it very easy to install ponds very cheaply. They need to be deep, but with a gradual down-grade, as the water will recede significantly throughout the year. That means a half-acre pond (in volume) needs a full acre of area.

• Well (inspected, get a backup pump)
• Tanks (20,000 gallons minimum in a roof-catchment system)
• Pond (I'd do an acre pond)
• Bottled reserve drinking water (20-30x 5 gallon jugs from the local bottle stop)

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D. Swales will help soak up water. However, will they retain water in that soil? Are you working with a sieve/colander type of soil?

For all intents and purposes, the washes are swales. They are typically level, built to retain water. They don't follow contour, but they're built in areas where there functionally is no contour.  Think of it as an inverse levy. As for the soil type, the top inch will be sandy, or powdered clay particles, desiccated organic matter etc. Beneath that, 5' - 20' of impermeable clay. Beneath that, the whole damn state is solid granite, lol. There's a chance the land rests on a rock fissure or void which will give you deep ground water and good drainage, but nobody surveys soils that deep so there's no way to know.

A small rain event will soak in instantly and disappear. A large event that can saturate that top 1" of soil will begin to flood. Less than an inch, you'd never know it rained at all, but exceed that inch and everything is in standing water.

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E. Is there any topsoil and if you build topsoil will it get washed away by the next great flood?
Should be safe from flooding. Most areas don't flow (that's how flat the land is). It's more like the desert becomes a seasonal rice-paddy. The only place you get heavy flows are in areas people have screwed up the earthworks (like the Gila river). If there is a mountain nearby, you get some watershed, but the mountains are all granite as well, not good for homesteading. If a road divides you from any land slopes, the side ditches and storm drains isolate you from those periodic water flows.

Building the topsoils however is a painstaking task. There are two challenges:
• Finding enough organic matter
• keeping it from completely drying out

Remember, once you've made good soil, it can never go completely dry or it was all for nothing. You need to grow a lot of your own mulch, and use lots of manure.

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H. Have you looked around the neighborhood to see what the neighbors are growing besides sand?
Anything can be grown there. The cost of growing it however is very high due to the required soil amendment and high cost of water. Not to mention you have California's fertile valleys about 6 hours away, so you can't compete with high-value food crops in a market (which is why most people out there grow cotton). There is a niche market for things like watermelon. They're too cheap per cubic foot of volume to effectively ship into the state. The cost of shipping cuts into profit margins. There's also a viable herbs market.

For the small homestead, it's subsistence farming, not market farming. Fruit, Vegetable, Grain, Meat and dairy are all cheaper to buy than they are to produce there, unless you operate on a large scale. There is however a booming population (insane growth over the last 30 years). Given the high population, you can find markets for high-end niche products. Medicinal herbs for example are very big out there. Grocery store fare won't be profitable, but things grown for dyes, perfumery, ornamentals, or unconventional food markets will do well. The area has some advantages, as it can grow things which you simply can't grow economically anywhere else in the US. If you're looking to start a business on the land, I would look into growing low water-usage landscaping plants and wholesale them to nurseries and landscape contractors. With the population growth, there are lots of new homes going up all the time, more demands on water, more pressure to conserve water... seems like you could meet those needs with relatively little overhead cost, as your product inherently doesn't need that much irrigation.


My Advice:
The area is in a housing boom right now, and homes are highly over-valued. For example, the house I lived in, built new in 1989 was $80k. Now it's listed at $480k. Homes don't gain 600% of their value in under 30 years while new construction is going up on such a large scale (from a population of 20,000 in my county to 500,000 in 27 years - 2500% growth). Only a fool would bet on that trend continuing over the span of a 30 year mortgage. That bubble will pop very soon (there already aren't resources to support the population, food and water are being brought in from thousands of miles away...) AZ has it's share of ghost towns just for that reason. The only difference this time is the recent boom didn't build a town, but a metropolis. Optimistic predictions are about 80% of people in the area losing everything when the bubble pops, a mass-exodus of industry... But that can be a good for you as long as you're not holding a lot of debt. Buy the land for cash (no mortgages) and just drop a trailer on it. Build a home when home sales start dropping and the contractors go begging for work (or buy a foreclosure for pennies on the dollar when everyone bails).

At this point, if you buy land, consider yourself stuck with it forever, paying taxes on it forever. You won't sell it and get what you paid for it. If industry pulls out of town, you may find yourself starting over in a new field, at lower wages than you're accustomed to. In this region more so than most, zero debt is the biggest advantage you can have. The region is an economic time-bomb, and mortgages are the shrapnel that will cut down most of your neighbors. You can use this to your advantage, but don't make any hasty decisions or take on debt to buy the land. That's not to discourage you, I like the area, and the land looks very nice, and I believe you can prosper there. But to make it work, you need to be very conservative.

Offline jd350az

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Re: Land hypotheticals
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2016, 06:20:56 PM »
Looking at this land a little harder now. http://s1204.photobucket.com/user/jd350az/library/Avra%20Valley/Details has some contour line overlay, looks like the land drops 2' over about 650' headed north. About the length of the property. How do you plan swales on such a small slope? The problem is we get rain in large dumps usually.

Offline jd350az

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Re: Land hypotheticals
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2016, 12:57:19 PM »
Now my brain won't stop lol.

I finished Lancaster's book Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond Volume 1 last night, starting Volume 2 today.

Did the math and on 10 acres, averaging 10 inches of rainfall a year then 2.7 million gallons of rain falls on the land. I also figured out IF(big if) 1" of rain falls that would be 271,540 gallons(or 36,302 cubic feet) and if I had 5, 600' long swales(most of the property width) 6'x3'  that would hold 42,390 cubic feet of rain. Or 10 swales at 4'x2'. So either 132' apart or 66'. Roughly, closer to the house would be changed up, and I would want to collect the roof runoff in a cistern for later use. I also researched and the historic averages are all less than .08" of rain per day even during monsoons. In 1878 they had what they consider the 100 year flood and Tucson recorded 5" in 24 hrs so for most days it would be overkill and for a huge storm event they would overflow but unless I get a huge influx of run on from outside the land I would hope the swales would slow down and soak in and disperse water over a larger area so erosion wouldn't be an issue. I will still have to build for the floodplain rules the county has in affect(2' high foundation) but hopefully I will never need it. The more plants I can get in the ground and stuff growing the better the land will be at allowing water to infiltrate. Right now it sheets off because there is a lot of exposed dirt that compacts and sheets water.

It's nice not being in a rush for this though, Even if I do get the land I am probably a year out from actually living there, unless something happens and if I need to rush I can buy a cheap trailer to put out there while we finish the preparation. But it is making me think about everything lol. I'm already planning on running grey water to tree wells and that means only the toilet would need the septic, so do I pay to put in a septic for a toilet or two or go with composting toilets. I will have to check out the composting toilets more in depth. I will have to pay to bring power to the lot, if I am having a big outlay to get power there maybe I just want to invest in solar. I would like the option of being tied to the power grid for 240v because I eventually want a nice welder and maybe a big air compressor. And I was thinking of electric ranges but I really prefer gas, which would mean bringing in a propane tank. Propane can be a hassle but it would also be handy, especially for off grid stuff along with the better(imho) cooking with gas, cheaper heating air and water with gas, etc. I then get into wondering if I want to try solar water heating, I've heard mixed reviews and would need to investigate further.

Then I get to thinking about houses, Originally I wanted a decent sized manufactured home, but I'm getting my wife to come around on a smaller house(smaller double wide or even single wide) and the benefits of that. Then I start thinking of all the customization and wonder if I should just get a "tiny house" maybe even just a shell and frame it in. I have done all the work in construction to put a house together, would just need pro help as needed for inspections and stuff that needs to be certified or could burn the place down with a mistake, etc.

Offline I.L.W.

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Re: Land hypotheticals
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2016, 07:08:44 PM »
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How do you plan swales on such a small slope?

There's a few schools of thought on this. The main idea is to have the water soak into the landscape as quickly as possible to reduce losses from evaporation. That means having a lot of surface-area in the swales for water to soak in. In sandy soils, the convention is 6-8' wide, but a shallow depth of 1' or less (the higher the water level in heavy rains, the greater the problems with erosion). With so little slope, this is what I would do.

In heavier soils, deeper, narrower swales give you the same soil area, but with less water surface area. Since the soil will be slower to take up the water, this reduces evaporation. However, you end up with standing water for long periods, which is counter to the function of rehydrating the land. It does however give you water you can pump or use for livestock. Check out some of Geoff Lawton's DVDs, he's shown both types of systems in different regions. Some which are built to get water into the ground as fast as possible, and others for saturating the soils in a smaller area and creating surface water.

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do I pay to put in a septic for a toilet or two or go with composting toilets

Septic systems can be expensive to install, and need to be pumped out (usually annually). In my area, calling the pump truck costs about $500. This is still vastly cheaper than your local sewer processing rates, but it is an expense to consider. The other issue people always tip-toe around, feminine hygiene products... When you get stuck with a $2,000 bill and your yard gets dug up because a wad of tampons clogged the leach field, bitches gotta die, lol. (I'm the only one I know who's had a relationship literally "go down the drain"). You need to be careful about what gets flushed, which is fine when it's just immediate family who all know how to use the toilet. But house guests are another matter. In your area, it also needs to be elevated, as rain water will cause it to overflow, which is every bit as bad as that sounds.  To spite the problems, if you are attentive to proper installation and usage, it's a care-free system which requires little to no work on your part.

Composting toilets are an acquired taste.  If you do go with a composting toilet, buy one, don't go the DIY route. Only use a well-engineered, manufactured  toilet, ventilation needs to be done correctly, and air-locks and unidirectional current are important. It's awkward bringing a date home, and when she asks to use the restroom, pointing her to a closet with a home depot bucket and a bale of pine shavings, that date won't go well. Make sure the toilet is an actual toilet in a finished bathroom. Properly installed, you really can't tell the difference between a composting toilet and a conventional toilet (except for the lack of water). They should have no odor. If there is any odor at all, it was installed incorrectly, or is a poor design. Professional installation on these is a must, unless you really want to spend months tinkering and adjusting designs (which trust me, you don't). Sounds like you're married... if you want to stay married, this is definately a joint decision which needs to be discussed at length. There are two votes between you, and by default, she will be the tie-breaker, lol. Since whatever you decide will mean conceding defeat anyway, bring the subject up at the same time as another feature of the house you want and let her compromise to your favor.

The next system is a hybrid which separates liquid and solid waste. The liquid is diverted to a leach field or gray-water system, much like the septic system. The solid waste is sent to a glass covered dehydration pit which desiccates the waste and cooks out any pathogens. This reduces the volume significantly, so a 4'x8'x8' pit (looks like a cold-frame) could go for years without being cleaned out. At that point, it's pretty much used as compost (not on food crops).

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I want to try solar water heating, I've heard mixed reviews and would need to investigate further.

When I was in Casa Grande, I had a solar water heater for my pool. Just coiled copper tubing on a sheet of plywood, painted black, and framed in glass. That would take 60°F water in, and the output was steam when pumped at 2,000GPH. So, it definitely works in your area. Almost no cloud cover, intense heat, and it's warm 10 months out of the year at least. You're looking at about $100 to build something like that, but you also need to store the heated water for nighttime usage, so an insulated water heater tank is still a must-have item. However, you can pick those up for nothing at a scrap yard. The problem is you can't easily regulate the temperature. When you run that water to a house, if someone turns on the tap to "hot", they could get some serious burns. You can get faucets made for old boiler systems which can be adjusted so it's always a mix of hot and cold water lines, to a maximum ratio you set. That prevents accidental scalding, but then you have variability in the temperature. Where now you probably have your shower and faucets "sweet spot" memorized, and know exactly where to turn the knob for water which is never too hot or cold, under this system, that setting changes constantly, so you'll always need to take a moment to adjust it.

If you go with a professionally designed solar water heater, they cost $$$ up front. They have an insulated tank which monitors the temperature inside the tank, and if it drops too low, it discharges some of the water back into the solar heater (if the thermal sensor in the heater shows it to be hot), and keeps topping the tank off with a little hot water every few minutes, but never lets it fill completely with overheated water. So you're running a small pump off and on constantly. That's counter-productive for an off-grid system, as the energy usage, while lower than a conventional heater is still very demanding on solar and wind systems. The more efficient the design, the higher the price tag. The pro systems are a lot more complex than any of the DIY systems I've seen, and I have yet to see any product or design which bridges this gap in efficiency.

Personally, if you're connected to the power grid, go with a Point-of-Use heater. They're much cheaper to run, and never run out of hot water. You can share one between a shower and bathroom sink, then just need one for your kitchen sink. Most appliances these days that require hot water will heat it themselves anyway (part of meeting the energy efficiency certifications), so a small house could be served with 2 point of use systems.
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Then I get to thinking about houses, Originally I wanted a decent sized manufactured home, but I'm getting my wife to come around on a smaller house(smaller double wide or even single wide) and the benefits of that. Then I start thinking of all the customization and wonder if I should just get a "tiny house" maybe even just a shell and frame it in. I have done all the work in construction to put a house together, would just need pro help as needed for inspections and stuff that needs to be certified or could burn the place down with a mistake, etc.

Drop in a double-wide and live in that while you build the house you want. This gives you a trial run living in a fairly small house, so you can better determine your needs. It also means you don't need to compromise on your design to meet your immediate budget or fulfill the urgency of getting a place to live ASAP. When you're done, you can sell the trailer, or rent it out on a section of your land to make a few bucks. You can probably get $300-$400/month from the right renter just by parking it on 1/10th of an acre (1% of your property). That's enough to finance your equipment costs for installing swales, planting the area, etc. Just keep the lease short-term and leave yourself an out.

Offline jd350az

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Re: Land hypotheticals
« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2016, 08:01:38 PM »
That is a great wealth of information. I was definitely looking at compost toilet systems. My wife is pretty cool and likes a lot of the same things I do but I don't picture her pooping on a bucket lol. Still not sure where that will go, also kinda depends on what house we go with, if I'm buying a manufactured home with toilets it might be harder to convince myself to tear them out. Must research more.

It looks like I need about 1100 feet to get power from their service to where I would put the house(roughly) and I asked for a rough estimate to install that. Solar panels and water heater would definitely work here, good point about regulating heat because there was just a news article a month or so ago about a toddler getting third degree burns from a garden hose in the sun, I imagine a focused solar heater would be even hotter. Need to research solar power setups more too. I keep watching Jack's videos on his swales full of water, it sounds like he had twice as much slope as this land but I'm sure they would still work. This land needs lots of mulch and planting, I'll cover it in weeds if I have too lol. It gets wet and water just flows across the top, doesn't infiltrate well at all.

Offline I.L.W.

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Re: Land hypotheticals
« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2016, 09:34:32 PM »
I like Jack's videos on the swales, but he does them right after a rain event to show how much water they capture. In a real-world scenario, they should ideally drain into the soil in minutes. Exposed water will evaporate, the soil is what holds it in a usable form. In practice, you don't want to see standing water like that. That's not to imply that his swales are wrong, just that the time at which the video was taken may give people the wrong impression of their intended function. On a greater slope, the water may actually hydrate the land enough that you get a spring downhill which will flow constantly at the surface. That however is the only time you want to see surface water, when the ground can't hold any more.

For mulch... Banana leaves. You technically can't get most of the productive bananas in AZ, but I also know Amazon.com's distribution policy puts the burden of upholding state to state sales restrictions on the actual seller, but doesn't facilitate the enforcement of those restrictions in any practical way. So if you ordered a few Cavendish banana pups from them, they'll still make it to you. Don't worry about the ecological restriction, it's not an invasive in the area, they are simply discouraging commercial production due to the high water requirements. However, that's not accounting for proper swales and greywater system designs, so you'll be ok on that front.

Once you have a few thousand aloe plants, you can run over half the aloe plot at a time with a bagger-mower. Once it starts to re-grow, you can harvest the other half, and just keep alternating. The big bag of slime from mowing it is useful. The mucilage in the aleo can be tilled into the soil to improve hydration and keep it from drying out as fast. Also feeds the worms. You can thank the pot-heads for that one, lol. Some stoner figured it out, and it's so effective and become so prevalent among pot growers,  it's become an indicator plant for authorities to identify future marijuana fields in Mexico. But now it's being used to grow food in the deserts of Africa. Gotta appreciate the irony, To spite all the money pissed away through aid organizations, the most significant recent advancement in solving world hunger was made by a highschool drop-out with bloodshot eyes and a case of the munchies.

Offline jd350az

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Re: Land hypotheticals
« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2016, 09:45:01 PM »
Yeah I understand the videos being during or right after rain, I just like the fact if they overflow they do it slow and steady and don't cause erosion. Definitely want the water soaking in and not holding water.

Offline jd350az

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Re: Land hypotheticals
« Reply #11 on: July 16, 2016, 06:08:03 PM »
Checked out the land in person today, https://imgur.com/a/umUc5

There's a definite underground water along the ditch, can see the track of mesquite and trees growing right along it heh. Lots of tumbleweed or it looks like it. Some looks like possibly ragweed? Can tell it's a flood plain, but I'm not scared. Even had a local stop and talk and warn us when it rains the road is under 3" of water and he calls in to work sometimes because he drives a mini van lol. Dirt needs lots of help and work.

Offline jd350az

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Re: Land hypotheticals
« Reply #12 on: July 16, 2016, 06:15:33 PM »
Forgot to mention, 100 degrees in the afternoon and I spooked 2 mule deer out of the thick stuff lol. Really didn't think I would need to worry about deer on this land. Guess it's close enough to the mountains.

Offline jd350az

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Re: Land hypotheticals
« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2016, 01:35:14 AM »

For mulch... Banana leaves. You technically can't get most of the productive bananas in AZ, but I also know Amazon.com's distribution policy puts the burden of upholding state to state sales restrictions on the actual seller, but doesn't facilitate the enforcement of those restrictions in any practical way. So if you ordered a few Cavendish banana pups from them, they'll still make it to you. Don't worry about the ecological restriction, it's not an invasive in the area, they are simply discouraging commercial production due to the high water requirements. However, that's not accounting for proper swales and greywater system designs, so you'll be ok on that front.

Once you have a few thousand aloe plants, you can run over half the aloe plot at a time with a bagger-mower. Once it starts to re-grow, you can harvest the other half, and just keep alternating. The big bag of slime from mowing it is useful. The mucilage in the aleo can be tilled into the soil to improve hydration and keep it from drying out as fast. Also feeds the worms. You can thank the pot-heads for that one, lol. Some stoner figured it out, and it's so effective and become so prevalent among pot growers,  it's become an indicator plant for authorities to identify future marijuana fields in Mexico. But now it's being used to grow food in the deserts of Africa. Gotta appreciate the irony, To spite all the money pissed away through aid organizations, the most significant recent advancement in solving world hunger was made by a highschool drop-out with bloodshot eyes and a case of the munchies.

So confused about these bananas, can't really find anything stating they are restricted here but a few order forms do say they can't ship them here. Also finding people that bought them at local nurseries in AZ and plenty of places will ship them and 1 even said they can't ship to OR but nothing about AZ lol. Seems a lot of places consider the dwarf Cavendish as the only Cavendish and I haven't really found anything for sale that wasn't dwarf even though the wiki page says it's a sub species. Also finding a lot of info that they have to be grafted or split from a tree and don't grow from seeds but then there is seeds for sale and people saying they grew although bad reviews say they don't grow well lol.

Never knew that about the aloe, sounds like a cool idea, aloe was one of the succulents I was hoping to propagate through to help build biomass

Offline I.L.W.

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Re: Land hypotheticals
« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2016, 09:01:48 AM »
The dwarfing characteristic is a random mutation of a standard Cavendish. It may or may not retain the dwarfing characteristics from seed, but a pup (the runners of banana plants) is basically a clone of the mother plant.

There are ornamental bananas in AZ which are commonly sold, but they don't produce very good fruit. The Cavendish is the same you get form any grocery store here in the US. The restrictions are similar to those of coconut palms... it's to prevent large-scale cultivation with high water demands. Nobody will give you any problems for having a few on a small homestead, but they don't like large quantities being shipped in and out of the state. So you might find one at a local nursery, but it's a slim chance at best and the major mail-order places won't ship them. Smaller sellers however will ship into the state.