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Desert gardens

Know the trees and plants that grow easily in a desert garden

Friday, June 10, 2011 by: Fleur Hupston
Tags: desert gardens, plants, health news

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(NewsTarget) Many vegetables and herbs can successfully be cultivated in a hostile, semi-desert environment. One of the easiest and hardiest trees to plant in an arid climate is the Moringa tree, which is particularly well-adapted to the heat and/or poor, sandy soil. The prickly pear is a nutritious desert fruit that needs practically no water or maintenance once planted.

Planting and maintaining a vegetable garden in a desert biome comes with challenges such as a high-sodium table, sandy soil that drains quickly, lack of water and a burning hot climate. Although planting vegetables such as spinach, tomatoes, cabbage and so on is possible in a hot, dry climate, planting water-wise vegetation is obviously a more practical choice.

Moringa Trees

Often referred to as a "supermarket on a tree", the pods, leaves, seeds and roots are all edible and highly nutritious. The leaves can be cooked like spinach or used in salads. Leaves can also be dried and ground into powder or used to make a green tea. With enough dried leaves, the tea can even be filtered. Its concentrated nutrition makes it useful in many different dishes.

Moringa can be grown outdoors in a hot, sunny climate or indoors in colder climates. A greenhouse is ideal in most areas.
Moringa seeds can be germinated by soaking them for 24 hours and then keeping them in a small plastic bag in a warm, dark drawer until they germinate (3 - 14 days). They can also be planted directly into the soil or in a pot, watered and left to germinate. Don't over-water as the roots may rot. Moringa trees love sun, but don't keep young plants in the sun all day.

If growing Moringa trees from cuttings, plant cuttings of around 50cm long in light, sandy soil, placing one-third of the length in the ground; once again don't over-water.

Prickly Pears

Prickly pear cacti grow well in many regions of the world, thriving in dry, arid regions. They grow best in sunny, well-drained sandy areas and produce sweet, succulent fruits.

Each cactus pad can support numerous flowers and subsequent fruit. These will germinate readily simply by scattering seeds in a seed tray and by leaving in a shady area and watering initially until germination. Seeds need a shade; whereas, plants need full sun. Growth from seed is slow, and up to four years may pass before the flowers and fruits appear.

Prickly pear cacti can be propagated by simply planting the pads into the sand.



About the author

Fleur Hupston is a professional freelance writer. She is passionate about natural, healthy living and is currently studying to be a naturopath. She divides her time between writing for Natural News and various other sites, home schooling her children and studying part time.

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