Friday, August 31, 2012

Growing Date Palms From Seed Made Easy

Casa Blanca, Mesquite, Nevada
Do you want to grow a date palm? As I have searched the web this evening there are many sites from blogs to grower sites telling you how to grow your date palm.

Unless you are OCD about your palms you want maximum output with little effort.  I have grown date palms from seed before and with great success.

No special soils, treatments, or fertilizers required. Now I am no professional. I just got results.

Here is how I did it.

1. Find a date palm seed around a tree that is moderately manicured. Chances are if they are too well manicured the seeds will be gone.  Check around the base. There you should find the dried up fruit containing seeds or seeds themselves. Push on the seed to make sure it is not rotted out. If it breaks, toss it because it won't grow.  Seeds need not look perfect, just not too brown. The skin of the fruit dried protects seeds. So these may be your best bet. Gather all you can because some will probably not germinate.

2. After gathering your palm seeds you need a soil. I recommend Miracle Gro palm and cactus soil. Any potting soil with good nutrients will probably do.

3. Put your seeds in the soil about one-half inch down in small cups. Seeds grow and when they need to be transplanted you want a root ball.  First make sure that your seeds are in a good sun lit area in or outdoors weather permitting. Be patient. It may take 3 weeks to germinate.

4. Once you have a sapling growing, continue to water it. Keep the soil moist, not drenched. Root rot will take hold quick.

5. Use a fungicide for indoor or outdoor plants and also liquid plant food.  Make sure you turn the soil. Nutrients in the air from storms, dust, etc. get in the soil and help that plant to grow. Keep saplings out of windy conditions unless firmly anchored. Some areas with lots of wind protect them more. Wind wreaks havoc on these little palms.

6. Once established water regularly, not overdoing it. Turn the soil every now and again.

7. Fertilizer? You can get fancy palm fertilizers, but for younger trees this may be a bit intense.  I use smashed dog food. It keeps my Buddy alive so it must have something. Mash up the dog food as fine as  you can and mix in.  It you see mold on the food don't worry. The mold is eating on the dog food, not the palm.
The mold decomposes the dog food and breaks it down. However, if in doubt, throw excess mold out.

That is it. Most people like myself have lives and are not professional growers. We forget to water now and again. We leave the saplings in the cold before bringing them indoors, etc.  A little common sense goes a long way. Too much love can kill a tree just as neglect can.

If you live in a cooler climate put the seedlings or trees out no earlier than late March and maybe April is better. Make sure your temperatures are in the 40s at night at least consistently before putting the palms out for the season.

Make sure they are in an area that gets at least six hours direct sunlight. If that won't work, then four at bare minimum.  Make sure during winter months they are near windows or you have full daylight spectrum lighting so the plants will grow.  One seed per cup or container is plenty. I have had bad luck with shock from tangled roots.

Like all seed grown plants some survive, most won't. Keep trying and you'll get it right somehow.

Dave out.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Mighty Colorado

Colorado River near Westwater, Utah.
The Colorado River has some of the most diverse scenery of any river system in the United States or the world for that matter.

It truly is one of the worlds great desert rivers like the Nile, Tigris, Euphrates and others.

The Colorado begins in the Rocky Mountains in the Central part of Colorado. The river crosses into southeastern, Utah and flows through the southeast corner of the state.

It exits Utah and flows into Arizona at present day Lake Powell, through the Grand Canyon, and finally joins Nevada on the Arizona and Nevada state line. From there the Colorado forms Lake Mead behind Hoover Dam. It then continues along the Arizona and Nevada state line until Nevada terminates at the southern point of the state and the river forms the Arizona and California state line and then forms a small international boundary between Arizona, United States and Baja California, Mexico. Finally the river empties into the Gulf of California in Mexico.

The Colorado truly is the life blood of the Southwest. Providing irrigation water, culinary water, and other water uses to the Colorado Plateau, Mojave, and Sonoran Desert Regions of the United States and Mexico.

The first great dam on the Colorado was the Hoover Dam constructed between 1931 and 1935 along the Nevada and Arizona State line. This created Lake Mead and provided a means of control for water storage, irrigation, and electricity generation.

Other dams to follow include the Glen Canyon Dam in Arizona, creating Lake Powell, Parker Dam and Davis Dam along the lower river providing controls along the way for the same purpose.

These dams with their reservoirs are not just providing for water use. As with Hoover Dam, Glen Canyon Dam generates electricity for the American West and its large power grid. Lake Mead,in Nevada and Arizona, Lake Powell in Utah and Arizona, Lake Havasu on the Arizona and California state lines also provide valuable recreation for the local economies.

Cities that were created for dam construction have now diversified and become thriving communities in their own right such as Page, Arizona; Boulder City, Nevada, and Lake Havasu, Arizona.

The Colorado has major tributaries such as the Green River that flows through Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado before joining the Colorado River in Canyonlands National Park. Other major tributaries are the San Juan River flowing through New Mexico and Utah before joining the Colorado. Other notable tributaries are the Little Colorado and Virgin Rivers that flow out of the Colorado Plateau region.

Seven US States make up the Colorado River Compact. They are Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Utah, and Nevada as these states are on the Colorado river or have major tributaries that feed the Colorado. Mexico receives water rights through a treaty with the United States.

Competition for the rivers resources is strong, especially in California. Other states with large cities like Phoenix, Arizona; Las Vegas, Nevada and smaller cities such as Grand Junction, Colorado; St. George, Utah; Moab, Utah; Bullhead City, Arizona; Laughlin, Nevada, and Needles, California compete with Los Angeles and the California agricultural industry for their share of the water rights. Farmington, New Mexico and Green River, Wyoming also compete for their water rights as they are on tributaries to the Colorado.

The Colorado has enabled cities like Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Las Vegas to grow beyond what the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts could support.  Power from the dams on the river is used not just in the big three cities above mentioned, but by urban centers around Albuquerque, New Mexico; Salt Lake City, Utah and the Wasatch Front in Utah; Denver, Colorado; and Colorado Springs, Colorado.

The river still has long stretches where river running is a popular past time and hiking in the Grand Canyon to the river is also a tourist magnet. Laughlin, Nevada casinos also use the river as a highway with boats that ferry customers back and forth from day to day and as beach front property.

The Colorado River truly is a miracle river. Once untamed and unpredictable, the river now is a multi use river for the various stakeholders.

Some want to tear down the Glen Canyon Dam to restore the river to it's previous 1963 state. Others want more water for their growing cities and now want to exercise their water rights at the expense of other stakeholders.

The American Southwest and Wyoming are in an all out water war for their own interests. Some of these competing factions only see the Colorado use for their own purposes and ignore the impact that their wishes might have on others.

We can't turn back the clock to smaller cities, less agriculture, less recreation demands, or the need for cheap power. The Colorado River and its tributaries are at capacity for use. Some years the river dries up long before it reaches Mexico. San Luis Rio Colorado is a big city on the river that has water needs as well.

So all stake holders have got to be willing to work together so that the Colorado River Basin can meet all of the industries it serves and the customers who patronize those industries. Parts of the river should be left alone and in their natural state. Other areas need to be maintained and even developed further to get water to farther away cities on the system. Tourism should be promoted on the resevoirs and electricity should continue to feed the power grid along with coal, natural gas, wind and solar sources.

There are scare mongers on the one side saying that the water will run out. Others overestimate the resources the Colorado can give. The river ultimately depends on snow in the Rockies and high elevation places on the Colorado Plateau. No snow, no water.  Engaging mainstream interests have got to be willing to compromise. Nobody gets all of what they want. Some should get none of what they want like tearing down the vital Glen Canyon Dam or overregulation of the river resources.

As one of two great river systems that drain the American West, the other being the Columbia River, the Colorado should be respected. If we are good stewards to the river, then it will continue to serve our multiple use needs for generations to come. If we go to extremes, the river we now benefit from in so many ways will not serve the many needs millions of people depend on. Long may the Colorado flow from the Rockies to the Gulf of California giving a share to all along the way.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The "Walking Stick" Cholla

When I was last in Colorado staying with the other Desert Rat on this blog, he decided to work instead of take his buddy on a sight seeing tour. So I took myself.

About an 1.5 hours south on 1-25 from Denver is a forest of tree like chollas, but different in some ways from their Mojave counterparts.  They are called "walking sticks."

Now please don't ask me why they are called walking sticks. I would not know. I suppose it could mean it looks like they move or something.

I would prefer a good old cane to these walking sticks. I love cacti, not that much though. Anyway, the Walking Stick Cholla occurs just south of Colorado Springs and Just north of Pueblo.

The hills and plains around the area are covered with these lovely specimens. They extend down into New Mexico from what I hear.

These are the first plains based cholla, cold hard type that I have seen outside the Mojave. Now one grows in a pot on my patio.

Kirk the other desert rat has them all over his yard. It could be said that this picture is a fake and actually Kirk's front yard.  Hardly a lie now "wink wink."

So if you like chollas and lots of them give the walking stick a look. Just don't actually walk with one.


Tags: Walking Stick, Cholla, cacti

Monday, August 27, 2012

Yes, We're Back

Kirk and I had tried to give up blogging and form a rock band "The Prickly Pears." Originally we were a hit. We played Idaho Falls, Idaho, Baker City, Oregon, Paragonah, Utah, Bennett, Colorado, and a bar for Kansas State groupies in Manhattan, Kansas.

Alas the pressure got too great and so we broke up. Kirk became catatonic and went into a major depression, had a knee scope, and had a battle with "Walking Sticks" a kind of mean ass cholla.

I took up dressing in drag, but when they learned I was straight they kicked me out of the Glee Chorus Line. After that my family deserted me for pretending to be a drag queen.  I got a job at a KFC, but that didn't work. I don't like to bake chicken, I eat chicken. So I was fired.

Kirk and I are back.  We reunited, like Tears for Fears, hashed this blog out to last decade's House music and here we be back on Cactus and Yucca Rebel.  Now there are two of us who blog here. Why the single name?  Because I goofed up setting it up. But you can reach us both under the obvious alias "Desert Rats."

So enjoy some new articles about cactus, yucca, and everything tropical and odd. Yes we are global warming enthusiasts. God controls the Earth's climate, we just enjoy longer summers and can't wait for Obama to leave the Oval Office.

Now being visual learners we believe in pictures. So if you are intellectual, this is not the blog for you. Please email us with your thoughts and ideas or critiques. If you piss us off we will gladly delete your comment. Assholes are not welcome. Constructive critics are.

Thank you,

Cactus Ring

Powered by WebRing.