garden without water!

nuevomex(5)February 16, 2005

We have recently purchased a strawbale home and I cannot plant anything around the base of it that requires watering. We're on a river,high altitude (6500ft) in a dry climate. I am thinking of a rock garden but wondering if it is possible to have plants in it that require NO watering. The soil is fairly moist because of the river. Any suggestions? Thanks, Susie

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twopoots(z5CO)

I'ts pretty hard to garden without water, even the very drought tolorate plants need some water to get them going.If you can spare a little water from your bath, or laundry water if you use the right soaps, you can start some plants. Some of your best bets are sedums, penstemons,ice plants, salvias, veronicas,brooms,native wild flowers, cacti, sea lavender, russain sage. Check out Plants of the Southwest website also High Country Gardens you can get a lot of good ideas there. Hope this helps

    Bookmark   February 16, 2005 at 9:27AM
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leftwood(z4a MN)

I assume you don't want to water around the house because of the material the house is built of. If the soil is already fairly moist, I think you'll have good luck. But still, keep your plants away from the building so they at least will never touch the walls. I imagine you also have a wide roof eave and you can't plant under there anyway or they won't even get rained on.

Twopoots gives good ideas. Remember, just because a plant is an alpine, doesn't necessarily mean its drought hardy. Much of the natural alpine areas get frequent rainfall. The soil is just extremely free draining. Not knowing what your soil texture is like, I wonder if more prairie type plants or your native materials would work better.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2005 at 2:37PM
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GardenChicken(AB3b)

TROUGHS! Lots of 'em!

    Bookmark   February 16, 2005 at 8:01PM
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nuevomex(5)

Thanks everyone. Yes, I've been told not to plant anything that needs watering around the foundation of the house. The soil there is already fairly moist due to the proximity of the river (about 100 ft away). And the list of plants from twopoots is a good start. Actually, High Country Gardens is in Santa Fe which is about 45 min south of us. The problem is not 'having water', I have plenty of it. Just can't use it. Also, Garden chicken, what do you mean, "troughs" and lots of them? Why and where??? Thanks, Susie (I am confused on zones. Seems like there are two classifications, Sunset and US..which one do I use?)

    Bookmark   February 17, 2005 at 7:16AM
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leftwood(z4a MN)

For some nice pics of troughs, look at a recent thread - Who grows troughs in this forum.

Here is a link that might be useful: Who Grows Troughs?

    Bookmark   February 17, 2005 at 2:44PM
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GardenChicken(AB3b)

Susie, I was thinking with troughs you might have better control over watering (and with some forethought, drainage). All kinds of wonderful things can be planted in troughs, including taller plantings like shrubs. (Thanks for posting the link leftwood!)

Zones are only a general guideline, so you could use either the USDA or Sunset (I take it you mean Sunset the magazine or book?). You may have microclimates in your yard where you can 'push the zone', and toss their guidelines out the window anyway!

Here is a link that might be useful: USDA Plant Hardiness map

    Bookmark   February 17, 2005 at 10:58PM
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nuevomex(5)

Okay, I am 5a and I LOVE it! (I am also slightly overweight and I don't love that, but that's another forum) I had never heard of troughs, except the kind for watering horses but I immediately started my online research. Fish boxes??? Maybe Whole Foods in Santa Fe would have them??? What else could you use? I think I should call High Country Desert and talk to them. They have a woman there who will come out to your house, tell you everything you have, everything you need and where it should go and then you get a 10% discount on everything you buy for a year. I'm sure she can help me get started with troughs. But a few questions up front: How are they different than planters? And do you have to bring them in in the winter? One reason I had so much difficulty in figuring out which climate I was in was that zone map of New Mexico. Check it out! Looks like a jigsaw puzzle. Even though we are only 45 min. north of Santa Fe, we are actually 1000 feet lower. And I think this 'alpine' terminology sorta confused me. I just don't think of NM as being alpine, but I guess it is. High desert, yes. alpine?? Thank you, everyone. This is a great forum. Susie

    Bookmark   February 18, 2005 at 7:52AM
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GardenChicken(AB3b)

Lucky you being is zone 5a!

Good question about troughs being different from planters... hmmm... not a whole bunch different in function, but in appearance. Planting troughs all began years ago when real stone troughs (yes, the kind for feeding and watering animals) fell into disuse. Thrify people would scoop them from farmers fields and turn them into mini gardens. Of course, now they are very scarce, so the likes of **us** have been replicating them with a lightweight concrete mixture. I gotta warn you, it gets to be a bit of an addiction... LOL

As far as the troughs themselves, no, they do not need to be moved or brought indoors in winter, as I can attest to living in zone 3. Can't speak for the plants you put in them though.
Much like planters, I would think that almost anything could be grown in troughs, alpines are just the norm.

Have fun!

Your house sounds interesting! Do you have pictures???

Here is a link that might be useful: Hypertufa troughs

    Bookmark   February 18, 2005 at 9:39AM
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