Keeping tomatoes growing in decomposed granite
I live in Yucca Valley area. Its in what is called the high desert of SCal.
I live back in a canyon of sorts ,with aluvial fan sediment with thick growths of yucca,joshua Trees,cholla all growing naturally. Elev 3400 ft. Around the house where my garden will be i grow oleanders,queen palms,fruit trees ,grapes...so that shoud give some basics.
Problem I have is that water is absorbed at about the rate of no more than 2.5 gal per minute. As you can imagine I use alot of water,but everything grows,slow.Sometimes parts of the plants die off,but if I catch it early they pick back up.
Ok so now to the tomatoes....I'd like to slow down the rate in which the water drains out of reach of any new plants like the tomatoes Im about to plant.
My guess is that i could dig a big hole for each tomatoe plant,maybe one or 2 ft deep and 2 feet -3 feet wide. i could fill it with some sort of bulky soil enhancer mixed with the existing soil and it MAY work ok.
Instead,Id like to try putting some kind of rubber tray with raised sides around it (like a shallow bowl)to slow the water loss to the roots . I'd put a small hole in the pan so the water does drain,but is slowed down considerably allowing moisture to remain around the roots longer. Currently if everything isnt watered every day several times young plants just die . I even have citrus trees that after 5 years are only 3 to 4 ft tall and dont bear fruit and portions die off due to accidental irregular watering.The plants might miss a day or two accidently due to glitches in my automated watering system.
So what do you think of placing the barrier under the plant as I mentioned. Any ideas?